Dozens of properties around Hyndburn have been brought up to scratch following enforcement action.
Neighbourhoods in Accrington, Great Harwood, Rishton, Oswaldtwistle and Huncoat have been improved after intervention by Hyndburn Council, forcing owners to carry out work at homes and buildings.
Work carried out has included replacing smashed and boarded up windows, cleaning dumped rubbish, repairing hazardous walls and removing overgrown vegetation.
Ian Halliday, environmental protection manager at the council, told residents at a recent area council meeting that ‘a lick of paint can make a world of difference’ in transforming our streets.
He said: “Some of these properties were occupied to begin with, believe it or not, but the majority of them were empty. It’s part of our strategy to bring them back into use.
“They are more likely to come back into use when we take enforcement action against the owners.
“In some cases where the council pays for the work by default in order to recover the costs they can then enforce the sale and when it sold on get the money back.
“We are hopefully seeing improvements in the neighbourhoods and helping regeneration.”
Enforcement action was carried out using government legislation under section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act or section 79 of the Building Act.
Deputy Council leader Clare Pritchard, who is cabinet member for housing, said they are ‘really proud’ of the work carried out and hopes residents will benefit. She said: “When we took over the council we took a very strong line on people that blight our neighbourhoods and keeping them in a massive state of disrepair.
“We have had some major success stories but it is not over with yet. We are still battling and it’s going to be an ongoing problem. I hope residents can see the difference we are making.”
Coun Pritchard said ‘very few cases’ have been taken to court. She added: “By negotiating and using a carrot and stick approach we have tended to get it settled. For us it’s more of a win to settle it without going to court. That is the very last resort and we always try to resolve matters with the owners before it gets to that stage.”
Spring Street, Rishton – A notice was served under section 79 of the Building Act 1984. Owner was prosecuted and convicted in magistrates court for non-compliance with the notice and the council carried out works in default.
Exchange Street, Accrington – A notice was served under section 215 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990. The owner was prosecuted and convicted by magistrates for non-compliance with the notice and the council carried out works in default.
Southcliffe, Great Harwood - The owner complied with a notice served by the council.
Taxi Office, Town Hall Square, Great Harwood - The owner complied with a notice served by the council.
Park Street, Accrington - A notice was served under Section 79 of the Building Act 1984. The council carried out works in default.