You and Yours: little known 'PROD' law may help homeless

Ecovillage Network UK office at
Mon Nov 20 15:31:27 GMT 2006

Radio 4's You and Yours: housing people in empty public property

All this week Radio 4's You and Yours (which can be heard between 12noon 
and 1pm on 198 Long Wave and 93-94Mhz FM) is running a series of pieces 
on homelessness and how campaigners have used a little known law from 
1980 to force public bodies to sell empty buildings so people can be 
housed in them. As part of the broadcast they are asking members of the 
public to 'nominate' empty publicly owned property in their local area 
to be developed.  -see below-

Listen again here

To start our homelessness season, the scandal of empty homes across the 

Over 100,000 families are currently living in temporary accommodation 
and awaiting placement in a permanent home by their local authority, yet 
a similar number of properties lie empty across the UK – what can be 
done to bring some of these back into occupancy?

 From Monday 20 November You and Yours has heard on-air nominations for 
empty properties to be put back into use. David Ireland of the Empty 
Homes Agency nominated 79 houses that have stood empty near London's 
North Circular since they were ear-marked for demolition in the early 
1970s as part of a road-widening scheme.......

Nominate an empty house near you and find out what to do about it.


What is a PROD?
There is a little known piece of legislation from the 1980 Local 
Government Planning and Land Act called a PROD - a Public Request to 
Order Disposal. A PROD allows an individual to force a public landowner 
to take action over derelict publicly-owned land or even be forced to 
put it up for sale.
It covers land in England and Wales owned by county, borough and 
district councils, police authorities, the Housing Corporation, the 
Civil Aviation Authority, British Shipbuilders, the Coal Authority, the 
BBC and the National Rivers Authority.

How does it work?
First of all you need to find out the owner of the land: ask neighbours, 
check the Land Registry or contact your local authorities’ empty 
property office.
If it is publicly-owned, then you can complain in writing to the 
Director of Planning at your nearest Regional Government Office. You 
don’t need to notify the owner.

How long does it take?
The Government will contact the owner and find out as much as possible 
about the property and the owner's reasons for keeping it empty. The 
Secretary of State will decide whether the site should just be entered 
onto the Land Registers or whether an Order of Disposal should be made. 
If disposal is decided on, the owner will be given 42 days in which to 
make representation before a decision is made. The sale would usually be 
on the open market - by auction, tender, or private treaty.


With help from the Empty Homes Agency, You and Yours presents a sample 
PROD letter that can be adapted and sent to your relevant Government 
Office or Regional Assembly, the address of which can be found below.
To: Director of Planning, Government Office for [insert address from 
list below]

Dear Sir/Madam

RE: [insert property details]

I am writing regarding the above named property, in respect of which, I 
wish to make a Request to order a disposal under the Local Government 
Planning and Land Act, 1980.

I attach the details, including a map of the property [if available]. I 
request that an order should be made to enforce disposal of this 
building to an organisation prepared to make better use of it.

The building is owned by... [insert as much detail and history as 
possible. How long has it been empty? How big is it? How many rooms are 
in it?]

I do hope something can be done to get this building back into use as 
quickly as possible because... [you should write a paragraph on why you 
  are making the request. Some reasons might be "the property has been a 
cause of frustration for many people in the area", "why should a 
property such as this, in reasonable condition and in an area of acute 
housing need, be left empty?", or "it is a disgraceful waste, and an 
affront to homeless people."]

Yours sincerely,

  [your name]

Government Offices for England and National Assembly for Wales

These details were correct as of November 2006 - they can be verified by 
the Government Office Network and the National Assembly for Wales (PRODs 
are not applicable in Scotland).

National Assembly for Wales
Minister for Finance, Local Government and Public Services
Cardiff Bay, Cardiff CF99 1NA
Tel: 029 20 825111

Government Office for the East Of England
Eastbrook, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 2DF
Tel: 01223 372500
Fax: 01223 372501

Government Office for the East Midlands
The Belgrave Centre, Stanley Place, Talbot Street, Nottingham NG1 5GG
Tel: 0115-971 9971
Fax: 0115-971 2404

Government Office for London
Riverwalk House, 157–161 Millbank, London SW1P 4RR
Tel: 020 7217 3111
Fax: 020 7217 3450

Government Office for the North East
Citygate, Gallowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4WH
Tel: 0191 201 3300
Fax: 0191 202 3998

Government Office for the North West
City Tower, Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester M1 4BE
Tel: 0161 952 4000
Fax: 0161 952 4099

Cunard Building, Pier Head, Liverpool L3 1QB
Tel: 0151 224 6300
Fax: 0151 224 6470

Government Office for the South East
Bridge House, 1 Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4GA
Tel: 01483 882255
Fax: 01483 882259

Government Office for the South West
Bristol: 2 Rivergate, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6ED
Tel: 0117 900 1700
Fax: 0117 900 1900

Plymouth: Mast House, Shepherds Wharf, 24 Sutton Road, Plymouth PL4 0HJ
Tel: 01752 635000
Fax: 01752 227647

Truro: Castle House, Pydar Street, Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 264500
Fax: 01872 264503

Government Office for the West Midlands
5 St Philip’s Place, Birmingham B3
Tel: 0121 352 5050
Fax: 0121 352 1010

Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber
PO Box 213, City House, New Station Street, Leeds LS1 4US
Tel: 0113 280 0600
Fax: 0113 283 6394

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