MORE than 300 homes are sitting empty in Sedgemoor, as thousands struggle to get on the housing ladder.

Sedgemoor District Council has said it is working hard to bring the properties back into use, as national Empty Homes Week gets underway (September 23 - 29).

"No one wants to see an empty property that could be used to give someone a home," said a council spokesperson.

"While Sedgemoor has a very low percentage of empty homes – just 309 from the 55,496 properties - council staff are working hard to get properties back into use and are highlighting their work during Empty Homes Week.

"Empty properties are often neglected or derelict and in need of extensive repairs. Overgrown gardens can be a nuisance to the neighbours and attract mice and vermin.

"The properties often become empty because of a death in the family and once a family member has acquired the property they are not sure what to do with it, or have not carried out refurbishment work due to the cost or scale of the refurbishment."

Sedgemoor District Council is keen to help raise awareness of the issue of empty homes, the spokesperson said, as well as to celebrate progress and consider what more needs to be done to bring empty properties back into use to help meet housing needs.

Working with various partners, including Home First Plus and Wessex Resolutions CIC, the Council encourages empty property owners to bring their properties back into use by bringing them up to a decent standard so they can be put up for rent.

Home First Plus can arrange contractors to bring the properties up to a suitable standard and offer a management and tenant service, while Sedgemoor District Council can offer funding through a not-for-profit lender, Wessex Resolutions CIC, to provide finance at competitive rates for home repairs.

The council will also offer grants to support the loan.

"Alternatively, if an owner chooses not to take up the offer of working with Home First Plus, they can take up the offer of the loan and grant enabling them to either rent their newly-renovated property, put it on the market or move into it themselves," the spokesperson added.

"By bringing an empty property, back into use, the local community benefits through the addition of new housing and a pleasant place to live.

"Through providing loans, the council is ensuring that funds for homeowners are sustainable, which means that every repayment goes back into the council pot to lend to homeowners in the future."

Anyone owning an empty property who is unsure what to do with it should contact Sedgemoor District Council via, Home First Plus via, or Wessex Resolutions CIC via