Building set be used as affordable housing empty for years

A building which was set to be used as affordable housing in a Northamptonshire town has been empty for more than five years, councillors have revealed.

Liberal Democrat councillors have criticised South Northamptonshire Council for failing to open the £450,000 facility in Towcester.

Councillor Martin Johns is due to question the Conservative-led council on the issue this week.

He said the situation was a disgrace.

'Reflects poorly'

Mr Johns said: "Despite spending £454,895 of public money on a building intended for those in housing need, the property is still empty five years on.

"There appears to have been difficulties with housing organisations that should be running the building but leaving it empty for five years is a disgrace."

The historic building on Watling Street is in need of renovations as well as a company to run it, according to Liberal Democrat Councillor Chris Lofts.

"Given the level of housing need, failing to use this property to help those in need reflects poorly on the Conservatives, " he said.

"Homelessness is one of the silent problems - there are a lot of people desperate for a place to stay.

He added: "We are hoping that it can be resolved - we would like to see the building in use as soon as possible."

Landlord difficulties

A spokesman for South Northamptonshire Council blamed difficulties finding a social landlord for the building being empty for so long.

The statement from the council read: "There have been difficulties experienced in delivering the original scheme via the registered social landlord that leases the building.

"The housing team at the council has been working closely with the organisation involved, over a period of time, to make a satisfactory scheme possible and once the outstanding issues have been resolved, we look forward to this property being fully utilised for affordable housing purposes."

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