Town is among worst for empty properties

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Belper town centre has the fourth highest proportion of empty properties in Amber Valley, according to a new council study.

The area has around 3.6 per cent of its buildings standing vacant, according to an analysis which surveyed 23 villages and towns.

By stark contrast the Belper East area has around 0.8 per cent of properties standing empty – the lowest amount in the borough.

Crich, Alport and Wingfield are the worst affected, with more than five per cent of homes completely empty or empty for most of the year.

The figures were revealed as the Amber Valley Borough Council agreed new targets for bringing empty properties back into use across the borough.

Councillors said they wanted to have about 70 homes back in use each year at a meeting of its cabinet on Wednesday, July 4.

That would help the authority meet Government targets which state Amber Valley must find 1,800 affordable homes by 2016.

The council admitted there was little extra government cash for empty homes but said the target could be achieved by working with landlords.

It will be working against current market conditions which mean house prices in Belper are now nearly double those of some nearby towns.

The average property is now worth £230,000, compared to around £120,000 in Heanor, £130,00o in Alfreton.

The monthly mortgage payments for an average priced property in Amber Valley is now £595.52, which is based on an average repayment mortgage of four per cent with a 10 per cent deposit, on a property costing £125,358.