EMPTY properties in Pendle could be brought back into use by the council.

Pendle Council’s executive board will meet on Thursday to discuss plans to buy and renovate 31 empty properties across the borough.

Pendle has the sixth highest number of empty homes per 100 people in the UK, according to research conducted by BBC’s Shared Data Unit.

The council said it recognises the problems associated with empty properties to homeowners, including anti-social behaviour and the risk of properties deteriorating and causing environmental and health problems to neighbouring homes and buildings.

In the past 10 years Pendle Council has significantly reduced the number of empty homes in its possession from 2,131 to the current level of 976.

After carrying out a review of the long-term empty properties across the borough, the council’s Empty Homes Officer has identified 31 of the ‘most derelict’ properties in Pendle — 15 sites in Nelson, seven in Colne, two in Barnoldswick and three in Brierfield.

The council now proposes to acquire the properties, on a rolling programme and through the use of compulsory purchase powers, to ensure work is carried out to bring them back into use.

The executive, at its meeting on December 14, agreed a fund of £150,000 to allow compulsory purchase of a list of long-term empty properties across the borough and wants to start work on four properties in Cambridge Street, Brierfield.

Cllr Asjad Mahmood, who is the portfolio holder for housing, said: “We want to get together on how to prioritise some of these properties but it’s quite a lengthy and expensive process.

“A compulsory purchase order on one property could take up to 18 months to get it back into use.”

Cllr Mahmood, who is also a member of the Nelson area committee, said Nelson is a ‘priority’ area as 15 of the properties on the officer’s empty properties list were located in the town.

He added: “There is an increase in demand to acquire properties in the area and hopefully it will help bring more choice in the market.

“We are trying to encourage people to bring them back into use as soon as possible.”