A Slough man has been fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £1,500 in costs to the council along with a £120 victim surcharge after he was found guilty (in his absence) of failing to comply a Community Protection Notice (CPN) under the anti-social behaviour crime and policing act 2014.
Leighton Dowding, 44, of Mercian Way in Slough was prosecuted by South Gloucestershire Council for failing to comply with the notice which is connected to an empty property he owns on Grace Road in Downend.
A Remedial Order was also issued by the court, stating that Dowding must complete the work, as scheduled in the CPN, within two months of the court date (by 10 June 2018). The case was heard at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 11 April.
The prosecution related to a property on Grace Road in Downend, a mid-terraced residential house owned by Dowding that has remained empty for over five years. Since at least 2012 it has been left wholly unmaintained, with its large front and rear gardens having become extensively and continuously overgrown and untidy. Fly tipped waste has accumulated next to a dilapidated shed, much of it having remained there for two years.
A CPN was served on Dowding, requiring him to clear all the overgrown vegetation, tidy the land, and remove the fly tipped waste by 30 September 2017. None of the work, aimed to improve the external appearance, was ever started and the condition continues to deteriorate. The CPN also provided for ongoing maintenance of the property and the land, to prevent further recurrences.
Cllr Erica Williams, Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery, said: “We are working to bring long term empty properties in our area back in to use and help meet the local housing need.
“Before following this course of action, we had previously written to and contacted the owner several times about their property and repeatedly offered advice and assistance, without any continuing response.
Where necessary, we will use enforcement powers to bring empty properties back into use, and to require an owner to maintain the property in reasonable condition if it is adversely affecting the locality. Allowing empty properties to continue to have a detrimental effect on the local neighbourhood will not be tolerated.”
Residents who are effected by an empty property that is causing problems are encouraged to report it by contacting our Empty Homes Officer on 01454 865565, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.southglos.gov.uk/emptyhomes.
Empty home owners who are undecided what to do with their property can contact South Gloucestershire Council’s Empty Homes Officer for help and advice (details above). Alternatively, the West of England empty homes service ‘No Use EmptyWest’ offers help and assistance to empty property owners including financial loan assistance, providing advice, help with buying or selling via an interested purchasers list, a lettings service, and a dedicated website with lots of information www.no-use-emptywest.co.uk.