The Welsh government is looking to give councils increased compulsory purchase powers under proposed planning rules.

If the draft regulations become law any landlords with long-term empty property would risk having it seized. This, ministers suggest, would not only help to bring abandoned buildings and derelict land back into use, but would also do so at a time when the economy is looking to rebuild in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Julie James, Welsh minister for housing and local government, said: “Improving the delivery of homes in the right locations through the planning system is critical and we are determined to do everything we can to help build the homes people want, and help create jobs closer to people’s homes.

“Used properly, compulsory purchase powers can contribute towards effective and efficient regeneration, the revitalisation of communities, placemaking, and the promotion of business, leading to improvements in quality of life.”

Finding ways to bring some of Wales’ 30,000 empty properties back into use has been a key part of the Welsh government’s £90m Transforming Towns programme.

Under this scheme £15.2m was allocated in March to deal with 66 of the most problematic empty properties in the principality. The Welsh government has also been working with local authorities to ensure officials are using their powers to their full potential.

A consultation on further reforms to compulsory purchase procedures has been launched.

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