Over 400 homes in Poole have been sitting empty for ten years or more, research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.
The figures, uncovered through Freedom of Information requests, show that there are over 214,000 homes across the country that have been empty for six months or more.
Of these, 61,251 had been empty for two years or more, 23,596 for five years or more, and over 10,923 have stood empty for at least ten years.
Poole Council has failed to make use of Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMO), powers used by local authorities to take over properties that have been empty for at least two years. This is despite the fact that some local families have spent Christmas without a home.
Nationally only 19 of the 247 councils in England and Wales that responded (the powers do not apply in Scotland) had used an EDMO in the past five years. Of these only six had used one in the past year.
Canford Heath Councillor, Sandra Moore said:
“At a time when the homelessness crisis is worsening and more and more people are sleeping out in the cold on our streets, it is a scandal that so many homes locally are sitting empty.
“These homes could be turned into affordable places to live for those that need it across Poole.
“The Government needs to urgently review the current system which is clearly not working and Poole Council needs to be given the powers and resources to bring empty homes back into use."