Thursday, 20 August 2009


North East Lincolnshire Council has launched a new war on empty properties, but this time the issue was highlighted by the local residents. It is the not the usual top down council approach; the residents identified the issue at the Neighbourhood Forum and now NELC are acting on the residents wishes.

North East Lincolnshire Council have pledged to crack down on the owners of derelict and neglected properties in the East Marsh area, but officers have also promised to continue cleaning up the eyesores YOU are sick of seeing.

NELC will be working in partnership with Grimsby Telegraph; the Telegraph launched their Grot Spot campaign earlier this year – informing NELC of numerous dumping grounds – many have been turned into Hot Spots.

However, this week our news team has received a flurry of calls from residents claiming the litter louts are back.

To help fight back, we are relaunching our campaign at the same time the council launches Operation Butterfly – a new drive aimed at forcing property owners to ensure their land does not become a magnet for rubbish and anti-social behaviour.

Among the first houses on its hit list are properties on Rutland Street, Stanley Street and Tunnard Street, which residents have complained are not only “eyesores” but “accidents waiting to happen”.

Jean Nicholson, 72 who attend East Marsh Involve, of Tunnard Street – who lives opposite one of the abandoned homes – said: “Week by week I’ve seen it deteriorate. “You try to keep your own property nice, and then you look out at that eyesore.

“When you open the curtains on a morning you just wish to God it isn’t going to be there. Every night you get people going in there urinating, and children going and playing in it. Bricks get thrown in there. The biggest fear is fire. It’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Under Operation Butterfly, landlords who do not clean up their act, face heavy fines, enforcement notices and ultimately compulsory purchase of their properties.

Jacqui Wells, NELC’s housing renewal manager, said: “We are already in contact with landlords but what we want to do is take a more committed approach.

“We want to work with landlords and we will offer them assistance to help them bring the properties back into use, but if that fails we will have to take a more formal approach. However, compulsory purchase would be a very last resort.”

Councillor Peter Burgess, portfolio holder for environment, said: “There is no excuse for landlords to let their properties fall into such blatant disrepair.

“By working in partnership, we are taking a new broom to parts of the borough that need it most and these three streets will benefit from the resources and legislation we can bring to bear.”

Ward Councillor Steve Beasant (Lib Dem, East Marsh) added: “Local residents identified the issue of empty homes as one of their three main priorities at a meeting of East Marsh Involve.

“Some of these properties are shabby and neglected – some have been empty for years.
“By taking action we will improve the residents’ quality of life and make the area look a whole lot better.

“These properties blight local neighbourhoods; and its crying shame that there are people who are on housing waiting who want to live in this area.

“There are many, many, many empty homes in the East Marsh it would be great to see them being renovated by young people who actually want to live in the area; it would also give them the opportunity to gain training opportunities and employment skills”

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