Councils in £2.5m boost for building

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Millions of pounds will be spent in Lancashire bringing empty homes back into use.

Councils in Preston, Chorley and South Ribble have been rewarded for efforts to build more affordable homes with a £2.5m windfall from central government.

The New Homes Bonus sees Preston Council being handed a total of £397,000, which will be spent transforming empty homes, particularly in the St Matthew’s and Fishwick wards.

Coun John Swindells, cabinet member for planning and regeneration at Preston Council, said he hoped the cash could work hand-in-hand with an announcement of £1m of Lottery funding for the areas.

He said: “We want to 
revamp the empty homes and bring them back into use. That would definitely be one of our priorities with the funding.

“This year we have built more and we are hoping more will start to be built now.

“Things are moving in the right direction.”

Chorley Council has been given £1.7m in funding, and South Ribble Council has been given £488,000 since the scheme was launched in April 2011.

About 12,000 new homes have been built in the North West in the last year, 6,000 affordable houses have been built, and 1,689 empty homes have been brought back into use.

Housing Minister Mark Prisk said: “For years, developers found themselves at loggerheads with communities, unconvinced their plans for growth would benefit them. The New Homes Bonus is turning this around.

“The £1.3bn paid out to councils has meant local 
people are able to see the 
rewards of developments.”