Empty house in Morecambe given new lease of life

The Hampton Road property.
The Hampton Road property.

A derelict house in Morecambe’s West End that was left empty for more than six years is to be given a new lease of life thanks to the tenacious efforts of Lancaster City Council.

The property, in Hampton Road, was last occupied in April 2013 and had become an increasing stain on the neighbourhood.

A fire in the roof caused neighbours to experience severe issues with damp and it was also a target for squatters and fly-tippers.

But it now looks set to be turned back into a family home after the city council enforced the sale of the property and it was bought by a local property developer.

The complicated story begins earlier this decade when the terraced house was the subject of a complicated fraud scheme that saw its then owners sell shares in its renovation, with the promise of unrealistic returns.

Shares were sold for between £10,000 to £20,000 to five separate people, despite the fact it was only worth around £50,000.

After the fraud was discovered the company liquidated itself and the property was disclaimed, a legal term meaning it became the property of the Crown.

However, due to charges against the house being more than it was worth, the Crown was content to allow it sit empty and a legal quagmire ensued, with the property remaining boarded up and unloved.

Until, that is, the city council’s empty homes office, Claire Taylor, intervened and managed to find a solution.

“It’s safe to say that without the council’s involvement the property would still be empty today,” explained Claire.

“Because our environmental health team had undertaken work at the property to clear the rear yard of fly-tipping we had a legal charge against it, meaning we could enforce the sale to recoup our costs.

“It’s very satisfying to know that everything has been resolved and I hope that it will now have a future again as a family home.

“It also serves as a warning to other property owners that leave their properties in disrepair that the city council will take action.”

If you are aware of a problem empty property in your area or own a property that you would like to discuss, Claire can be contacted on 01524 582321 or cdtaylor@lancaster.gov.uk.