Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Prodded into Action

At Monday’s Downing Street press briefing the Prime Minister’s spokesman fielded the inevitable question linking Empty Dwelling Management Orders to John Prescott’s presumably now vacant grace and favour home Dorneywood. Slightly mischievous of course, but the question built on points raised elsewhere this week that publicly owned empty homes are exempt from the new legislation. The reason they are exempt is because you can’t have the public sector taking action against itself. But that’s not to say that nothing should be done about publicly owned empty homes. There are about 140,000 of them up and down that country, and that’s too many. This story in today’s Telegraph shows what can be achieved. The ironically named Prescot Villas in the Newsham Park district of Liverpool are owned by Liverpool City Council and local Housing Associations but had been left empty for years. The council wanted to demolish them but local residents objected and used the PROD power forcing government to review the case. In a letter to the council, the Government Office for the North West's Director of Planning Jo Lappin says: "It appears that the land is not being used by the city council for the performance of their functions.” It says Ms Kelly "is not so far satisfied that the city council has any firm plans to sell, develop or bring the land into use within a reasonable timescale." The notice means that Liverpool council will be forced to sell the properties unless they bring them back into use.


  1. I amazed. You actually seem to be happy at the thought that your bright little idea has removed one of the most basic freedoms, that of the right to property.

    Please, forthe sake of those few freedoms we have left, don’t have any more ideas, OK?

  2. You, sir, are an idiot and wonderfully fit for this illiberal regime.

    Tell me, how much did Tony give you for your soul?


  3. I'd be happy to sieze a public sector house if public sector workers such as you are incapable of restoring 140,000 publicly owned homes to a habitable condition!

    When will you start siezing privately owned cars that are parked for more than two weeks as I understand that many people on benefit should have access to good quality cars too!?!

    When did Labour first consider that Communist appropriation of private property was the best way to solve a self-inflicted housing crisis?

  4. Such a "Zimbabwean" initiative.

  5. I agree with johnjo (above).

    Just one question: since you are so enthusiastic--all for the very bestest and nicest of reasons, of course--to set conditions on how people use, or not, their own property: do you plan a 'clear out the trash' campaign a la Robert Mugabe's regime?

    Your 'empty housing' scheme is a property grab, pure and simple, an act by an increasingly dictatorial, arbitrary State which sees its citizens and their possessions as fungible assets to be redistributed at the State's whim.

    And the Yanks thought their Supreme Court's Kelo decision was bad...we've trumped them, haven't we?

    So much for an 'Englishman's home is his castle', and so much for centuries of Common Law precedent.

  6. Some Englishmen don't have homes of their own so it's obvious that the phrase you use is of little value other than to those already have a castle to live in.

    To call EDMOs 'zimbabwean' is on a parr with calling the tabloid press Goebellsesque as in the case of what was written at the weekend regarding the legislation (i.e. factually incorrect and with the view of protecting someone's vested and political interests through misinformation.

    however to do this would be i feel an insult to the people who actually suffered under the Nazi regime. maybe you don't feel the same way about what is happening in Zimbabwe.

  7. The most basic freedom is that of the individual, those of you that crow on about the right of property ownership seem to have forgotten that many UK citizens don't own property. Your views hark back to a time when property owners had greater freedoms than everybody else - the feudal middle ages.

    And Johnjo what planet are you on? To compare property owners in this country who are in the luxurious position of being able to let their spare properties sit empty with the impoverished victims of the Mugabe regime who have been made homeless is an absurd and offensive comparison. It shows you either know nothing about housing in the UK, Zimbabwe or probably both.