Warwick District Council can do something about this. It has the power to take these houses over and make them homes again through EDMOs (empty dwelling management orders).
But there are still 600 empty houses which could be utilized for much-needed social housing, to help the rising tide of the homeless.
Instead, the council is proposing to build new offices, selling off its current site in order to create new private housing.
No affordable homes. No social housing. No council housing.
This is in a district which is one of the most affluent towns in the sixth richest county in the country, a district which is represented by an MP who has made homelessness a priority, raising the issue of the Riverside development in parliament and campaigning hard to make the council see sense.
To defeat this proposal is crucial, because in our district, it is symbolic. It is only one development, but it represents everything that is wrong with the process and the people who drive it.
The petition signed by thousands goes unheeded. The campaigns by Matt Western are ignored. The huge opposition from residents is dismissed. The highly visible and increasing homelessness is left to under-funded charities and over-worked volunteers.
But the Riverside development is voted through, with only Labour councillors opposing it.
The ultimate decision on this profligacy with public finances for the benefit of private developers will now rest with Sajid Javid, the minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government. But, even though his own directive insists that new developments must include at least 40% affordable housing, I have no great hopes that he will come to the right decision.
Not least because we discover that, over the last two years, he has ‘surrendered’ £292 million which had been allocated for the affordable homes we so desperately need. Plus a further £379 million which had been ear-marked for Starter Homes projects, a so-called ‘flagship’ government policy.
He did, however, make one point which local councillors of his own party in Warwick, Leamington and Whitnash, would do well to take on board.
The councils have the power to make a difference. But they are not using it. We, the residents and voters of Warwick District, can also make a difference. We can replace them with people who will.
Today from the everysmith vaults: The heritage of the Grateful Dead continues. LiveDead 69 the other week, Dead & Co rumoured to be heading to Europe this autumn. And through my speakers this morning, a great show from Broken Arrow, with David Gans and Phil Lesh.