'More than an eyesore' - anger over state of empty council houses

Traver <cor> and Jean Scarff, right, of Harleston, with some of their neighbours who are all unhappy

Traver and Jean Scarff, right, of Harleston, with some of their neighbours who are all unhappy over empty council houses - Credit: Denise Bradley

Residents in a Suffolk village have become increasingly frustrated over the state of six council houses that have been left empty for three years. 

Villagers are now asking the council to do more to tidy up the dilapidated council buildings in Harleston, near Stowmarket.

Traver Scarff said the buildings are ruining the beauty of Harleston, which was once named Suffolk's best kept village. 

Traver Scarff, past chairman of the Harleston Parish Meeting, unhappy at the state of five council b

Traver Scarff, past chairman of the Harleston Parish Meeting, is unhappy at the state of empty council bungalows. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Mid Suffolk Council said it was working to do all it could to sort the problems - but has been hampered by the pandemic. 

"The council had the option to either sell the six bungalows or do them up," Mr Scarff said.


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"They have decided to do them up but, in the meantime, they have been empty for three years. 

"They have only cut the grass once. It looks an absolute disgrace. There are weeds and grass at least 6ft high at the front and it has just spoilt the look of the village. 

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"They were two-bedroom council houses built in the early 30s, they are now just passed their sell by date."

Barry Copping of Harleston, one of the residents who are unhappy at the state of five empty council

Barry Copping of Harleston who is also frustrated over the state of the empty council bungalows which are opposite his home. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Mr Scarff spoke about what he would like to see being done to the council properties, in the village which only has around 80 houses.  

"I would like to them to be sold, pulled down and rebuilt by a private company," Mr Scarff said. 

"If they pulled them down, there is a lot of room at the back where they could make a decent little private estate."

The empty council bungalows at Harleston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The empty council bungalows at Harleston. - Credit: Denise Bradley

A Mid Suffolk District Council spokesperson said: “We updated residents last November with our plans to include these homes in the council’s pilot energy efficiency and low carbon homes refurbishment scheme.

“We had hoped to progress the work further by now, but have – of course – had to deal with the ongoing demands of the pandemic. 

"In the meantime, we can reassure residents that the gardens will be cut back later in the year, when this poses less of a risk to local wildlife."

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