THE first phase of a major new empty homes regeneration scheme is to get under-way in Burnley, with 20 properties set to be bought by the council.

Officials at Burnley Council have a list of 20 properties they are looking to make Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) on.

They will be the first of 68 homes to be renovated, and reoccupied, under a £4.8million East Lancashire-wide scheme.

John Killion, of Burnley Council, said: “The owners of these prop-erties have been contacted, some on numerous occasions and have either not responded at all, or have given no reasonable proposals for renovating the properties, or bringing them back into housing use.

“All of the properties are long- term vacant properties, being empty for periods ranging from two to 12 years.

“Without intervention by the council and its partners, through acquisition by agreement or CPO, the properties may remain vacant, continue to deteriorate, attract anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping, and arson, all of which cause fear in local residents, resulting in a declining neighbourhood.”

The 20 properties are all in the Trinity area of the town.

Twelve of them are in Cog Lane, three in Nairne Street, two in Elmwood Street and Burdett Street, and one in Swallow Park.

Once the council has purchased the homes they will be sold to social housing provider Calico Homes.