AN abandoned house has been taken over by council chiefs after becoming an eyesore and magnet for vandals.
The council used new legal powers to tackle problems caused by the three-bedroom home in Hartside Crescent, Backworth, sitting empty.
The unoccupied property had become a focus for anti-social behaviour since being abandoned a few years ago.
Its overgrown garden had become a dumping ground, and the house was repeatedly targeted by vandals.
Its owner refused repeated offers of assistance to bring the property back into use, prompting the council to take it over after being granted an empty dwelling management order at a residential property tribunal.
It is the first time the power has been used in North Tyneside, and only 40 such orders have been granted nationwide.
The authority’s cabinet member for housing, Paul Mason, of Monkseaton North, said: “We take seriously the problems caused by some empty homes and their effect on neighbourhoods.
“By pursuing this action, we have demonstrated we will do whatever it takes to ensure owners of these problem properties take their responsibilities seriously too.
“Now the council has taken possession of the property and officers have begun the process of clearing it, refurbishment works will begin as soon as possible.”
The granting of the order removes many of the rights of the owner and allows the council to refurbish and let the property as part of its council housing portfolio over the next seven years to recoup the cost of repairs.
The council has already cleared away rubbish, cut back overgrown trees and bushes and erected a metal fence to stop the garden being used as a short cut.
Pc Julie Twigg, the police’s neighbourhood beat manager for Backworth, said: “We are pleased by the action of North Tyneside Council in taking over this property, which had become an unwelcome focus for anti-social behaviour.
“We hope this will benefit local people and prevent anti-social behaviour in this area in the future.”