A recent Freedom of Information request has unearthed new figures which show that the number of empty properties in Manchester has topped 9,000.
In my previous blog post, the question of how many properties lie empty across the city arose when a member of the audience at the Future Everything city debate claimed there were 4,000 in the city centre.
After a bit of rummaging around, it seems that was well off the mark – in fact the most recent figures show there are more than 9,000 properties (9,406 to be exact) across all the wards which have been empty for six months or more.
See here for the interactive breakdown by ward which shows the number of vacant domestic properties, notified to the Council’s Revenues and Benefits Unit in each of the 32 wards, of Manchester City Council as at 16 April 2010, which at that time had been vacant for 6 months or more.
And that’s a 50% increase since the MEN reported just three months before in February that there were 6,000 empty properties.
It should be noted that the way the ward boundaries are drawn makes it difficult to extract a figure of “city centre” as most people living there would consider it – for example, Ancoats and Clayton covers Rochdale and Oldham Road and Hulme covers the apartments on the Chester Road side of Mancunian Way.The ward defined as ‘city centre’ for these figures is a tight area which takes in Piccadilly.
The data I used for the visualisation above came from a Manchester City Council response to a Freedom of Information request from Andrew Boyd for specific address information about vacant homes which was rejected by the council’s Revenues Contracts and Compliance Manager Dave Holden , on the basis that the level of detail would;
- The risk that publication would prejudice the prevention of crime by releasing information as to vacant domestic properties to the world at large, leading to the likely targeting of these vacant properties by those engaged in illegal drug use, gang activity, arson, vandalism, theft and anti-social behaviour;
- The risk that publication of this information to the world at large would lead to increased anxiety and fear of crime amongst residents of adjacent properties as a result of the likely targeting of vacant properties by those engaged in criminal and anti-social behaviour;
- The risk that publication of this information could undermine efforts by the Council, other housing providers and owners to bring empty domestic properties back into re-use in order to improve local communities and reduce crime and vandalism in areas where properties have been left empty and in a poor state of repair.
But even without the additional information regarding specific streets or apartment blocks, the release of the data provides an up-to-date insight into the ongoing issue and should provide a useful way of tracking the changes to the number vacant properties in the city going forward.