PROPOSALS to cut the number of unoccupied properties in one of England’s largest districts will boost the public purse significantly, council leaders will be told.

A report to a meeting of Hambleton District Council’s cabinet states figures for October showed that 1,046 properties were classed as empty of which 498 had been for more than six months.

Officers have recommended to councillors that a premium charge is introduced where a property has been uninhabited for more than two years.

The report states a reduction of the ‘unoccupied and substantially unfurnished’ discount on council tax to no discount would result in an increase of council tax of £146,805, based on the average band D charge.

It added the introduction of an empty home premium would generate additional income at 100 per cent of the council tax charged from April 1.

Currently there are 190 properties in the district which have been empty for more than two years, so based on Band D charges of £1,747.68 this would would mean an additional income of £166,0292 for the authority.

The report states: “Providing a special place to live is a priority for the council. Empty homes can be waste of a precious resource in the district, particularly in areas of low availability. Some of the most problematic properties can cause distress to neighbours e.g. attract anti-social behaviour and may require enforcement action to be taken by the council. Targeting empty homes could add benefits to regeneration areas sooner.”