As I strolled through the streets of this typical neighbourhood, an inexplicable feeling tugged at the back of my mind. It was as if there were a hushed emptiness lingering in the air, whispering secrets that went unnoticed by most. I couldn’t shake off the sense that there were more vacant houses than usual, their windows peering into an abyss of abandonment. Curiosity drove me to investigate further, and with an insatiable urge, I delved into the realm of statistics. What I discovered both startled and confirmed my suspicions. The data reflected a stark reality, substantiating my intuitive perception: the number of empty houses had indeed risen significantly. The numbers, like silent witnesses, silently echoed the story that my senses had perceived, unravelling a tale of shifting tides and changing landscapes in our community.
I couldn’t find the words so I asked ChatGPT to ‘write me a paragraph on sensing that there were more empty houses than usual and finding that the statistics were backing me up’. I know it’s not the best-crafted instruction that’s ever been written, but I love what AI came up with. It’s a lot better than noticing on a leaflet-round that it’s the third seemingly long-term empty house that you’ve come across, and then picking up on similar instances on your next round.
It was the Friends of Carrington Moss people who serendipitously supplied some statistics that pointed to it being much more than a coincidence.
I don’t want to be drawn into the debate about whether Carrington Moss should be built on, or at least not in this instance. However, I do want to focus on the figures. They’re telling us that the extra homes we’re building are not providing the extra number of households we would expect. This is not due to demolition as we’re using a net additional dwellings figure. It might include some that are in the process of being emptied as is currently happening at Circle Court. I can’t think of anything major in 2021 that would account for Trafford’s figures, but they’re the worst. There’ll be some that have become Airbnb and similar. My instinct says the amount becoming Airbnb is nowhere near these figures but the number of empty homes could be a major factor.
The council will have figures on empty properties. I am hoping they are equally high. We’ll see, but it seems definitely worth pursuing.