RENEWED efforts should be made to sell off homes which were renovated with millions of pounds of regeneration cash, a former mayor claims.

Empty properties in the Whitefield area of Nelson have become a magnet for burglars and vandals, says ward councillor Nadeem Ahmed.

And he is urging Pendle Council and its property agents Liberata to redouble their efforts to filling the vacant houses as quickly as possible.

He told an area committee meeting: “The number of empty properties is still way too high and a lot more work needs to be done.”

The likes of Albert Street, Moseley Street and Stanley Street were the subject of substantial overhauls as part of the former housing market renewal programme, on which the government pulled the plug in 2010.Coun Ahmed, a Liberal Democrat, added: “Southfield may have the largest numbers of empty properties but Whitefield has the highest in terms of proportion.

“More work needs to be done with the refurbished properties in Whitefield and this issue has been raised on a number of occasions.

“We need to speak to officers and get more properties sold. We have spent millions of pounds renovating these houses. We are now getting vandals breaking in and damaging these properties.”

The break-ins are not the first problems to beset the revamped homes in Whitefield. Residents in Albert Street reported problems with flooding in early 2013.

Developers created a number of larger family homes in Whitefield, by ‘knocking through’ existing terrace properties.

Coun Joe Cooney, Pendle Council leader and housing regeneration member, said: “I have regular meetings with housing staff to keep sales under review.

“We are bringing more and more properties to the market and are considering a range of options to improve sales.”

He was hopeful that the opening of the new Whitefield Infants and Nursery School nearby would also provide a trigger for additional interest.