North of England 'needs major derelict home refurbishment drive to kick-start stalled economic recovery'

Influential think tank says work should begin in struggling towns and cities including Burnley, Bradford, Hull and Blackpool with large concentrations of crumbling properties

A major drive to refurbish thousands of derelict homes across the North of England to help kick-start the stalled economic recovery is urged today by an influential think-tank.

Work should begin in struggling towns and cities including Burnley, Bradford, Hull and Blackpool with large concentrations of crumbling properties, many dating from the 19th century, it says.

The Centre for Cities also calls for a massive house-building programme in the ten areas worst hit by housing shortages, which are all in the South.

In its annual Cities Outlook it warns that decades of failed housing policy means Britain is building 100,000 fewer homes every year than is required to keep pace with demand.

But it says ministers should not simply focus attention on the overcrowded South-East, where people can need to earn more than double the average salary to get on the property ladder.

The Centre identifies ten population centres – nine in the North and one in Scotland – blighted by high numbers of empty homes in need of renovation or replacement.

The list is headed by the Lancashire town of Burnley, where more than seven per cent of properties are vacant.

It is followed by Bradford, Hull, Blackpool, Dundee, Leeds, Liverpool, Bolton, Blackburn and Birkenhead.

Councils in those areas should be given incentives to renovate houses or convert them into flats as “one of the most pressing needs is to consider whether the existing stock can be improved and vacancy rates reduced”, the Centre says.

Refurbishment programmes would also improve residents’ quality of life, help make the areas more attractive to businesses and generate jobs.

The Centre also lists ten cities in most need of house-building. Oxford – where the average house costs around £380,000 – is identified as the city with the nation’s least affordable properties, as defined by the cost of homes compared with local incomes.

It is followed by London, Cambridge, Brighton, Bournemouth, Aldershot, Crawley, Reading, Bristol and Worthing. All are areas where growing populations and sluggish housing development have combined to send prices soaring.

The centre says building an extra 100,000 homes a year could create 150,000 jobs – 90,000 in low-skill positions – and provide a one per cent boost to the economy. It says: “This is urgently needed at a time when the UK is still struggling to return to growth.”

Its chief executive, Alexandra Jones, said: “For some cities lack of housing prevents people accessing jobs or means they are stuck in cramped accommodation. In other cities, incentives to retrofit empty houses could improve local quality of life. Both approaches, adapted to local needs, would generate the jobs and growth the UK needs.”

The Centre also discloses that some cities entered recession early – and are recovering from it ahead of other areas. They include Sunderland, Hastings and Brighton who were hit hard by the downturn in 2008-09, but have seen economic growth since.

By contrast Nottingham, Preston and Liverpool fared better in 2008-09, but have since felt the impact of recession.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event
filmBut why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride