HOUSING should be integrated better to meet the public's needs.

Campaigners say abandoned dwellings should be repurposed to tackle England's housing crisis, after councils across the country recorded hundreds of thousands of empty homes.

Figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show there were at least 1,309 empty properties in Barrow at the most recent count in October – down two per cent from 1,342 last year.

Of those, 1,057 had been gathering dust for six months or more, and at least 319 had been abandoned for more than two years.

Dalton said: "If any property is virtually abandoned and left unoccupied the council should ask why. If no steps are taken by the owner to have occupation for any good reason the property should be acquired, renovated and offered by the council or a housing group. The same applies to empty shops. The landlords and owners have a social responsibility."

Localshoplocalpeople said: "Wont be empty for long!"

Tony Moon said: "So why are they building more?"

Brian Sinclair replied: "The mind boggles."

Helen Johnston said: "If the properties are empty, people might not want the mess, damage or drama that comes with renting them any more.

"Is it anybody else’s business?"

Brian Sinclair said: "Why can't the council get a housing team together along with contractors and get the ball rolling to get these properties back on track and create a first in the country scheme to do this.

"Also, use the people that have to do unpaid work to get stuck in and get the jobs done instead of all this pussy footing around and leaving properties empty!"

The Local Government Association has called on the Government to give local authorities greater powers to acquire empty homes.

A spokesman for the LGA, which represents councils, said: “At a time when we face a chronic housing shortage across the country and high levels of homelessness, it is wrong for so many homes to be left empty."