Empty-house tax proposals criticised

Mansfield Civic Centre.
Mansfield Civic Centre.

A homeowner has hit out at a proposed levy for empty properties which could see him fork out 50 per cent more on council tax.

David Buckinger is waiting to move into a new empty property on Nettleworth Manor in Mansfield Woodhouse, but because of serious health issues, say it could be another year at least before he makes the move.

However, Mansfield District Council has launched a consultation to potentially charge more council tax on empty properties, with the hope it would discourage owners to leave homes unoccupied.

The council has written to 3,000 people, including duel home owners, to explain the proposals and ask for feedback.

But Mr Buckinger (69), who has undergone surgery for colon cancer, has had two hip replacements and is awaiting for a second operation for a knee replacement, which he won’t be able to undergo until next year.

His current property, a bungalow on Meden Avenue, Warsop, is up for sale, but he and his wife will not be able to move until he has his operation, and the house has been made more disabled friendly.

He said: “It could be another year before we can move in, it needs better access.

“I think it’s a cheek, I’m already paying 100 per cent on both properties I own.

“It’s like a big stick they are using to beat us with. Being a developer, I know there are at least three council houses in Mansfield that are boarded up, but people I know have been told they are not for sale.

If the proposals go ahead with a 50 per cent premium levy, it could mean Mr Buckinger is forced to shell out an estimated £1,200 extra a year on his new property.

Under the plans, a current 75 per cent discount period would also be reduced by three months so that full council tax was payable after three months instead of the current six months.

A decision is expected to be made in January and any changes made would come into effect in 1st April.

To have a say fill out the survey online www.mansfield.gov.uk/counciltaxchanges or phone 01623 463167.