RESIDENTS living next door to a decaying house for 30 years have told how it's costing them £50,000.
Locals in West Cliff Gardens in Herne Bay say things are getting so bad that they can no longer let their kids play outside.
It's thought the derelict bungalow, known as White Wings, is costing fuming neighbours big – as its dragging down the price of their homes.
Pictures show the home, empty for three decades, covered in weeds, nettles and brambles.
A local estate agent believes it could take a whopping five per cent off the price – translating to roughly £50,000.
He explained: “It’s always a shame when particularly desirable plots are sitting fallow, but I have to say this particular plot is not acceptable.”
Gran-of-three Michelle Houghman has been living next door for nine years.
She said: “We can sit out in the garden and the rats that live in the house come through the fence – so I don’t let the grandchildren play in the garden or the pool anymore.
“Our cat won’t even go outside anymore because he’s scared of whatever is in the house. It’s in a state of decay and it’s bringing down the value of the properties around here.”
Canterbury City Council said they could not reveal why it has been allowed to fall into such disrepair.
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Maureen and Arthur Doran have lived down the road from the abandoned house for 23 years.
Ms Doran, 85, said: “Around 2001 some kids came around and smashed all the windows – it looks rotten.
“The house is just being wasted – there’s got to be some family with kids that would absolutely love that house. It’s so sad. I don’t think we’ll ever see it turned nice.”
Another local, Bernard Watkins, 80, added: “I have never ever seen anything as horrible as that house.
“We have got rats in the garden because of it. I wrote to the council and asked if they could do something about it with a compulsory purchase order but they said that would be too slow and time-consuming.”
Canterbury City Council spokesman Rob Davies confirmed the local authority was aware of problems with the property and is in contact with the owner.
He said: "The owner has given us a reason as to why they have not looked into options for bringing the property back into use, but it would not be appropriate for us to reveal this.
"However, we have taken steps to get the owner to carry out work that minimises the impact of the property on the neighbourhood.
"This includes removing the hazard posed by a dangerous garden wall, renewing the guttering and fascia boards which were in a very poor condition and replacing all of the flat roofs.
"We can confirm the Long Term Empty Premium charge is payable for this property and that we are also working with the Kent County Council empty homes specialist who has been successful in bringing more 'difficult' empty homes back into use.
"We would be very keen to see the property restored and back in use but issues like this are often difficult and time-consuming to resolve."
The Long Term Empty Premium charge is part of the city council's efforts to tackle empty houses in the district.
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An additional amount of council tax is charged when a property has been empty for two years or more.
For homes that have been empty and substantially unfurnished for 10 years or more, the premium is set at 300%.
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