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News: Cash help to get empty homes back to habitable condition

Wed, 30 Jun 21

A grant scheme helping buyers to get empty properties back into use has been relaunched in part of Wales.

The Valleys Taskforce Empty Homes Grant, which was launched in 2019, allowed homeowners or prospective owners in Bridgend county borough to apply for grants of up to £20,000 for renovations and up to £5,000 towards energy measures.

During two phases of the scheme, over £460,000 of funding has been committed with works benefitting properties in valleys communities like Maesteg, Pontycymer, Brynmenyn and Tondu.

To be eligible, applicants must be owners or prospective owners who intend to occupy the empty home as their main residence for a minimum five-year period from the date of the certification of the grant-aided work.

Under the scheme, Bridgend County Borough Council provided match funding of £100,000 with Welsh Government providing the remaining amount.

The properties are all in the Valleys Task Force area of Bridgend County Borough and had been unoccupied for a period of six months prior to purchase and at the time of the grant application. 

Under the scheme, the home owner was required to make a mandatory contribution of 15 per cent of the total cost of eligible works – capped at £3,000 if the maximum grant of £20,000 is approved - with the local authority then providing 35 per cent of the remaining amount and Welsh Government, 50 per cent.

The organisers cite Sam Mathias-Chapman who received a grant for work at her home in Maesteg.

She says: “When we bought the house, it had been empty for over two years, possibly three, and was in quite a bad state, looking derelict, with the windows hanging out, a soil pipe right through the middle of the kitchen and asbestos in the roof.

“Having applied for the Empty Homes Grant, it went through really quickly, we were very impressed with the whole process and have been extremely grateful for the funding.

“We received around £12,000 via the grant which was a massive help, paying for things like the electrics throughout the house, a new boiler and re-plastering the ceilings.”

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