Pressure is mounting on the council to take control of empty homes amid a “housing crisis”.

The Hertsmere Labour Party has called on Hertsmere Borough Council to “step in and take

control” and deal with the growing number of empty homes in Borehamwood.

Group leader Cllr Jeremy Newmark and Cllr Richard Butler were out and about in the Cowley Hill area meeting neighbours and addressing concerns about empty homes, particularly those in Leeming Road and Gateshead Road, which belong to housing association Clarion Housing.

The councillors believe utilising empty homes is a “sensible” approach at a time when building more homes and the Crown Road modular home development are being promoted as solutions to the housing crisis.

Borehamwood Times:

Cllr Butler outside Belhaven Court

Cllr Butler said: “It just isn’t right to leave homes empty when we know that many people are desperate for a place to live in this area. Other boroughs are actively cutting the numbers of empty homes.

“We are asking why Hertsmere seems to be moving in the in the wrong direction? Borehamwood needs real commitment to provision of quality affordable housing, accessible to local people at the right price.”

Cllr Newmark added: “We call upon Hertsmere Borough Council to step in, take control and ensure that this will not be the case in Borehamwood. Labour wants to see these properties used to alleviate the housing needs of others - not for developers to cash in."

“We note that under some pressure due to public interest, Clarion have sought to clarify their position in relation to some, but not all of these properties. The fact remains that some of flats have been empty since 2016.”

Borehamwood Times:

The council approved a project earlier this year to build 28 modular homes in Crown Road for people

living outside the borough or those in temporary accommodation despite fierce protest from campaigners who said the site was “unsuitable”.

In July, the council’s planning committee rejected a proposal to knock down empty homes in Windsor Close, Borehamwood, and replace them with new homes.

The houses remain empty.

Cllr Jean Heywood, responsible for housing, said: “We are aware of the situation at Belhaven Court and are doing our best to ensure the homes there meet the housing needs of the borough.

“The head of housing at Hertsmere and myself have recently met with representatives of Clarion Housing Group, the owner of the properties, to try and find a resolution that satisfies all parties.

“The housing association, as the home owner, would make the final decision over the tenancy of the properties.”

Clarion does seem to have a plan for the empty building however.

A Clarion Housing spokesperson said: “We are keen to move forward with this 100 per cent affordable housing scheme as soon as possible, subject to obtaining the relevant planning permission.”