The Great British Property Scandal: Series 2
We are in the middle of a housing crisis – a chronic shortage of homes means millions of people are languishing on housing waiting lists for sometimes years. Yet in the UK there are one million empty homes and 350,000 of them have not been lived in for six months or more. Architect George Clarke is outraged by this scandalous waste of good quality housing – and reminds us that last December he launched a hugely successful campaign to bring empty homes back into use. Millions sat up and took notice. And now, in The Great British Property Scandal follow-up show Every Empty Counts, George continues his journey across the country to see just how much has changed since the first series aired.
One of the biggest achievements of George’s campaign is the introduction of low-cost empty home loan funds in England, Scotland and Wales. This was one of George’s big asks last year, and shows just how much has changed since he launched his empty homes crusade. In Mansfield George gets his hands dirty following an innovative pilot scheme designed to help war veterans to become builders by teaching them to refurbish empty homes. He also investigates the problem of vacant homes in rural areas, visiting a small commuter village in Essex with an abundance of privately-owned empties.
There’s a real empty homes problem in Merseyside too. Ringo Starr’s childhood home has been saved from the bulldozers, but what about the other 300+ properties lying empty just a stone’s throw away? Meanwhile, just up the road in Sefton, George meets residents who are saying goodbye to the homes they’ve lived in all their lives as the bulldozers roll in. Closer to home in Earl’s Court, George fears that history will repeat itself if the local council continues on its path to demolish 750 homes and displace residents. Why aren’t councils learning from the mistakes of the past – and refurbishing decent homes instead?
Last year George asked audiences to use his online reporting tool to report empty properties in their area to the local council’s empty homes officer. This year he reveals an army of no less than 6,500 online heroes, who reported empties and helped get them back into use for families in need.
Every empty counts, so George urges people to keep on reporting them – and hopefully breathe much-needed life back into an abandoned property.