A GRANT scheme will help to renovate empty houses and increase the number of affordable homes in Gwynedd.

Gwynedd Council is launching the £4million scheme for first time buyers who have a local connection to the area where the house is located.

The funding, which comes from the council tax premium on second homes, will assist first time buyers to renovate empty houses to an acceptable standard of living.

It will be possible to apply for up to £15,000 towards costs such as rewiring, central heating re-plumbing, damp-proofing, external windows and doors, re-roofing or rendering.

Craig ab Iago, Gwynedd Council's Cabinet Member for Housing and Property, said: “By now we all know that Gwynedd is in the middle of a housing crisis. Without intervention at an all-Wales level, it is a crisis that is going to destroy our communities, our way of life, and our children's future.

“We hope this year that the Welsh Government will take action on what needs to be done to solve the problem and which is beyond our powers, but in the meantime, we at Gwynedd Council are determined to do what whatever we can to help tackle the problem, now.

“One of my priorities is to help first time buyers compete in the housing market, and to also tackle the problem of the number of empty houses we have in Gwynedd. We are trying to help solve both of these problems with this grant."

The council has offered similar grants in the past, but this time, applicants will need to have a connection to the local area where the house is located.

One resident, who has benefited from the grant, said: “I was very pleased to receive the empty homes grant - I would not have been able to buy the house without the help to renovate it which has enabled me to own a home for the first time and to live in the community where I grew up.

“This is a great scheme and the application process is straightforward - I would encourage anyone who is eligible to apply.”

More information about the grant is available at www.gwynedd.llyw.cymru/emptyhomes