11/07/17: Councillors agree plans to tackle unsightly sites

At the 10 July Cabinet meeting Breckland councillors agreed priorities and a plan of action to help tackle the blight of unsightly and derelict buildings in the district. 

Following the launch of the 'Unsightly Sites' initiative earlier this year, councillors have worked to identify sites within their wards that have a significant detrimental impact on their immediate and wider environment, where intervention would be appropriate. Residents were also encouraged to identify problem sites and put these forward to ward members for consideration. The proposed list was discussed by Breckland's Overview and Scrutiny Commission on 6 July, and their recommendations and a plan of action were agreed by Cabinet yesterday.

Cllr Paul Claussen, Breckland Council Executive Member for Place is keen that the Council makes full use of legislation. He said: "These neglected sites can be a real blight, spoiling the appearance of their neighbourhood and attracting anti-social behaviour. We want to help provide a clean, safe and well kept district for our residents, and our plan is to contact the owners and work with them to improve these sites. However, if there are cases where owners do not cooperate, I am determined that we make the most of the powers we have to ensure that action is taken."

Members agreed that resources should be focused on buildings suffering from serious long-term neglect, and those that are unsafe or whose state of disrepair is attracting anti-social behaviour.

Cllr Claussen explained: "To achieve the greatest impact, it is important that we prioritise resources and focus on those sites which are a major problem for local people, where using our powers can help make a real improvement."

Following approval today, officers will begin contacting the owners of prioritised sites. Ongoing progress will be recorded on the Action Plan so that members can monitor the subsequent actions and outcomes for each site.