RESEARCH has revealed that Barrow is one of the top areas with empty properties despite more than 1,500 people on the waiting list for social housing.

Statistics from Coulters, using Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data, has revealed that Barrow is ranked joint fourth in the top 10 areas with the highest percentage of vacant dwellings, with 4.70 per cent of properties empty

Barrow currently has 1,575 vacant houses out of a total 33,516 properties in the town.

Blackpool came top of the list with 3,842 vacant homes, followed by Burnley which currently has 2,089 empty properties and the city of London which has 311 empty houses.

The research comes just days after The Mail revealed around 1,600 people in Barrow are on the waiting list for council housing due to the lack of space currently available.

Barrow Borough Councillor, Bill McEwan, said 1,500 empty homes in the town is a ‘bad result’ for residents.

He said: “The issue is the high number of vacant homes belong to private landlords.

“Social housing is in real dire straits at the moment.

“Ideally, we would get some of the people on the waiting list into the vacant homes but a lot of the time the rent is too high.

“If the landlords are willing to lower their rents, something could work.

“We would need to sit down and have a discussion with them about renting out to people on the waiting list.

“It would be great to get the people on the waiting list housed as quick as possible.

“1,500 empty homes is a bad result for Barrow.”

Barrow mayor and spokesman for housing, Kevin Hamilton, believes the high backlog of social housing has been caused by a number of factors including the financial implications of austerity, Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic.

Barrow Borough Council was contacted for a comment but was unable to reply before The Mail went to print.