MORE than 100 homes in Pembrokeshire have been sitting empty for 10 years or more according to new research.

A Freedom of Information request by the Liberal Democrats has revealed that 120 homes in Pembrokeshire have been vacant for 10 years or more.

There are also 357 homes which have been out of use for five years or more, and 799 homes which have been out of use for two years or more.
A total of 1,741 are homes currently out of use across the county.

Local authorities are able to use powers known as Empty Dwelling Management Orders to take control of empty properties so they can be renovated and sold on the market again.

Pembrokeshire County Council has not used an EDMO in the last five years, but has brought 95 properties back into use in the same time through other means.

A spokesperson for Pembrokeshire County Council said: “There is a variety of different legislation available to local authorities relating to empty properties, and the use of EDMOs is one of them.

“Pembrokeshire County Council’s private sector housing team, which incidentally, is the smallest in Wales, uses other means to achieve its goal of bringing empty properties back into use; one of these is through encouraging owners to apply for Housing into Homes loans. 

“A total of 32 properties were brought back into use in the last year through this scheme.”

In October, Pembrokeshire County Councillors voted to introduce a new tax premium on empty properties for the 2018-19 financial year.

This charge means houses left empty for more than three years after April 2016 will pay 125% council tax, those for more than four years will pay 150% council tax, and those for more than five years will pay 200% council tax.

Andrew Lye, Chair of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire Liberal Democrats said: “These numbers are quite a surprise when you see how many properties have been empty for more than 2 years. Homelessness is an issue that has had much coverage this Christmas. 

"These figures show 799 properties being empty for over 2 years, l would imagine that equates to a village larger than Johnston.

"I hope these figures are an eye opener to Pembrokeshire County Council and encourage them to redouble their efforts to bring these properties back into productive use."

Pembrokeshire had the 22nd highest number of vacant houses out of the 268 local authorities in England and Wales who responded to the FOI requests made by the Lib Dems.

Of the 17 Welsh authorities who replied, Pembrokeshire had the fourth highest number of vacant houses.

The areas with the largest number of homes empty for six months or more were Durham (6,502), Leeds (5,724), Bradford (4,144), Cornwall (3,273) and Liverpool (3,093).