Published: 18th Jan 2012

John P Houghton revisits the problem of empty homes and calls for imaginative local solutions as regeneration winds down and resources dry up John Houghton’s childhood home in Kirkby, 12 months ago (left) and now (right). I first wrote about my old house in January 2011. I’d been back to Kirkby, my home town in Merseyside, for Christmas and was shocked to find that the place I’d called home for most of childhood was an empty, vandalised wreck. Having worked in deprived neighbourhoods across the country, derelict houses have been a familiar sight in my career. But that doesn’t soften the impact when the problem is brought home in a stingingly personal way. Purchased but left unoccupied by a private landlord, the house was smashed up so badly that the owner couldn’t afford the refurbishments needed to put it back on the market. The council was … (To read the full article, subscribe below)