COUNCILS could be given more powers to compulsory purchase vacant land and buildings and bring them back into use under new Welsh Government proposals.

The move could go some way towards revitalising and regenerating communities across Wales, ministers hope.

There are an estimated 30,000 empty homes in Wales, and in Newport, the figure stands at around 1,100.

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The number of long-term empty homes in Wales has risen by 24 per cent in the past decade.

The Welsh Government has now launched a consultation to find out views on strengthening the powers of councils' planners to make compulsory purchases (CPOs) and reclaim buildings and land which have fallen into long-term disuse.

Currently, CPOs allow certain public bodies to obtain land or property without the agreement of the owner in exceptional circumstances.

Under the new proposals, the Welsh Government would clarify those rules by allowing CPOs to be served, where necessary, "where it is in the public interest to bring land and/or buildings forward for meeting development needs in their area and/or to secure better development outcomes."

This could help council planners who are currently struggling to find enough land for a five-year housing supply.

The Welsh Government said only seven of Wales' 25 local planning authorities currently had enough land to provide the required five-year supply of housing.

"In towns and villages across Wales, we see empty homes, former commercial properties and vacant land – which can often be a huge blight on local communities," Wales' housing minister Julie James said, adding that the new proposals to strengthen the CPO process could "transform empty houses and vacant land into the homes and places of work people need".

The consultation period ends on Friday, January 17.

To take part online, visit: