Mad scramble to buy 35 empty houses in Stoke-on-Trent after they are put on sale for just ONE POUND

  • Derelict buildings are being sold for a nominal fee to reinvigorate the area
  • Living standards in the area are down and crime rates up
  • A £30,000 low interest loan is part of the deal

By Anthony Bond

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With its reputation for burglaries and arson attacks, Cobridge in Stoke-on-Trent is not usually thought of as a particularly desirable place to live.

But that was until the council dropped the cost of houses in the rundown area – to £1.

Six hundred people have now applied for the chance to own one of 35 empty two and three bedroom homes.

Popular: Hundreds of people have expressed an interest in buying rundown houses in Stoke for just £1 each, it emerged today

Popular: Hundreds of people have expressed an interest in buying rundown houses in Stoke for just £1 each, it emerged today

Interested: The city council announced that 600 people have already applied to purchase the properties

Interested: The city council announced that 600 people have already applied to purchase the properties

Each will be randomly allocated after applications close, on May 12, and the new owners will receive a low interest loan of £30,000 for renovation.

Applicants must already live in the area, work but have a joint income of less than £30,000, have the right to live in the UK, have no other homes and agree to live there for five years. 

The £3million scheme, funded by Stoke-on-Trent city council and the Government, is a desperate attempt to transform the area as its derelict buildings have made it a target for crime and arson.

 

Speaking to the BBC, councillor Janine Bridges, responsible for housing, said the scheme would transform a rundown area of the city.

She said: 'The project will not only benefit the residents who are currently living next door to properties that have been vacant for some time, it will also give families moving into the homes the chance to take their first step on the property ladder.'

Unattractive: The council is desperate to fill and fix up the derelict buildings and turn the fortunes around for the crime-ridden area

Unattractive: The council is desperate to fill and fix up the derelict buildings and turn the fortunes around for the crime-ridden area

Forward thinking: Thirty-five derelict homes are being initially sold by Stoke City Council for the nominal sum of £1. Up to 89 homes may also be sold in the future

Forward thinking: Thirty-five derelict homes are being initially sold by Stoke City Council for the nominal sum of £1. Up to 89 homes may also be sold in the future

The only catch of the scheme is that the owner must renovate the house and live there five years before it can be sold.

The properties for sale, which have two to three bedrooms and a backyard, are in a variety of conditions from liveable to desperately needing refurbishment.

Council bosses believe the abandoned buildings are bringing down living standards and raising crime rates by attracting arson attacks, squatters, burglary as well as devaluing and damaging nearby properties.

Abandoned houses are a huge problem in the area with some 4,000 buildings left empty in Stoke as of January 2011, according to council tax data.

The council’s empty house team aims to ‘bring long term empty homes back into use to improve the standard of housing in the city and to bring life back into our communities’ according to the council website.

Stoke-On-Trent
 Stoke-On-Trent

Deal: The only catch is that the owner must renovate the house and live there five years before it can be sold

Concerns: Council bosses believe the abandoned buildings are bringing down living standards and raising crime rates

Concerns: Council bosses believe the abandoned buildings are bringing down living standards and raising crime rates

The scheme is focusing on Stoke properties in the Portland Street area, Cobridge and the Bond Street area, Tunstall.

Local resident John Bannister, 72, previously said: ‘At the moment there is vandalism, people using the back yards of empty houses for fly-tipping and all kinds of problems.

‘There are 18 empty houses just on Bond Street. We want families to come in and stay. Something needs to be done.’

One council tenant, Slovakian immigrant Gabriel Litavec, says the move would help him to get on the property ladder. 

The 50-year-old factory worker, who arrived in the country in 2005, has been living in a council-owned property in Denbigh Street, for the last four years.

The father-of-two and former teacher hopes to buy one of the vacant properties along the street. 

He said: ‘It is a good chance to get on the property ladder and own my own house. 

‘If I am able to buy a house and refurbish it I can make it how I want it to be. I think there are far too many boarded-up houses in the area.’

People have until 12 May to apply for one.

 

The comments below have not been moderated.

Every time there is an article like this, there are numerous comments about it being "grim up north". Don't these commenters feel embarrassed by their complete lack of originality and wit? Have they ever ventured out of the south of England? Educated and informed people know that all parts of the UK are extremely diverse and there is no region that can be labelled "typical" of that area. You are welcome to your stereotypical views but please stop boring others with them.Oh and before anyone responds with a "Ooh touched a raw nerve have we?" type comment, well yes, actually you have. The relentless north bashing of some on here is bound to rankle with those of us who know how wonderful most of it is.

Click to rate     Rating   12

Having seen these houses for myself, they need a lot more than £30k to bring them up to a habitable standard. Wiring, glazing, heating, and damp problems need sorting, most have problems with the roof and joists. Many have been squatted and vandalised from the inside. The maximum income threshold of £30k makes it a very tight squeeze to find a quality of life and manage the £30k loan for refurbishment. If the council were to match £1 for £1 what the new tenants could raise themselves, then maybe it would be viable, but otherwise these properties need a lot of money throwing at them, or a demolition ball.

Click to rate     Rating   1

I have tried to get Newmarket Council to do similar with some disused houses in the town, but their greed seems too great and they would rather demolish sound building and sell the ground to developer. They seem to forget where their funds come from in the first place!!!!

Click to rate     Rating   8

Grim up North, Andy? Yawn. I am from the North and have moved to London to study and let me tell you there are plenty more places GRIMMER down here. Most places out of Zone 1 London for instance, have you been to Dungerness beach? PLENTY of GRIM in the 'glorious south'

Click to rate     Rating   20

The houses should never have been allowed to get in this state in the first place, how come it's taken so long to address the problem with a simply solution?

Click to rate     Rating   20

I agree with Pete Croydon.£30,000 seems a lot of money but how far will it go.Most of these properties have been left derelict for a while.Most will probably need a new roof...how much will that cost.New damp proof course.re wiring maybe some don't have central heating.Why not put the council workforce in to do the refurbishment thus keeping people in work and not letting someone fritter away their £30,000 by using cheap labour.

Click to rate     Rating   12

Well they are not worth much but should have gone to auction as it would have raised money and secondly it is only fair.

Click to rate     Rating   7

i'm off to stoke in may seeing a uni mate, maybe i should reconsider where to stay now, his flat or these houses

Click to rate     Rating   4

GRIM UP NORTH!

Click to rate     Rating   19

I hope it works. Basically the government are getting those at work to pay for the renovation of these. I hope all of them get the right to buy and complete the regulations, time period. Today's jobs do not offer that much security.

Click to rate     Rating   11

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