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A large, 1940s detached house in a suburb of Bristol

A large, 1940s detached house in a suburb of Bristol had been vacant for approximately ten years, and had been the subject of complaints from local residents. The Empty Property Unit (EPU) had written to the owner on a number of occasions intimating that a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) would be made on the premises if the house remained in a poor state of repair and unused.

The owner then sold the premises, but the new owner experienced a number of difficulties, including finance and planning development issues, and the premises continued to remain void. The gardens became overgrown and the EPU had to serve notices under Town and County Planning legislation to get the owner to cut these back. The Council offered to purchase the house by agreement but the owner turned down the offer. As there was no progress in prospect to get the house refurbished and reoccupied the Council eventually made a CPO, to which the owner made a formal objection.

As it was clear that the owner was keen to keep the premises and redevelop it the council agreed to hold back implementing the CPO as long as the owner completed and re-occupied the property within a reasonable period (14months).  Work is now in progress on Building Regulation applications.

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In South Gloucestershire 181 empty properties were returned to use in 2012/13!
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