Plans for the largest council house building programme for decades are taking shape in Sheffield.
If approved, over 3,100 new council houses will be built over the next 10 years to meet the increased demand for affordable housing.
Government policies and challenging market conditions has meant that in Sheffield, and nationally, the number of new affordable homes built up to now has not matched the increasing demand for social housing.
32,000 council homes have been sold by the council since 1980 through Right to Buy, which has decreased rent income into the council and reduced the availability of council homes.
New spending flexibility to build more homes, which was curbed by Government until it lifted the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing cap in October last year, will now allow the council to borrow the money to build more council homes.
The plans aim to help as many people as possible to live in a warm, safe and affordable home. Proposals for consideration will be to provide new Extra Care Schemes, specialist accommodation for vulnerable people, new interim temporary accommodation and a range of general needs housing across the city.
New build homes built on the Council’s housing allocated sites will be acquired by the council and homes will be acquired ‘off plan’ from private sector developers plus through s106 properties from private developers. S106 are private agreements between local authorities and developers which allow councils to specify their social housing requirements for a new development.
The proposals, which are designed to meet a variety of housing needs for those looking for a new home, also recommend a small programme of shared ownership homes in some areas to increase housing choice where households can move into a different tenure and free up an affordable home.
With this work there is a requirement that the council can only continue building as long as robust HRA Business Plans are in place to be able to safely manage finances. The work will be reviewed each year to make sure that any additional borrowing is at a level that poses no additional risk to the 30 year HRA Business Plan as the programme builds more homes.
Councillor Paul Wood, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety at Sheffield City Council said: “We’ve got a lot of work to do to meet demand and our plans are robust and carefully considered, with people’s needs at the heart of them. Everyone needs a safe, warm and affordable home and that’s absolutely what we’re trying to do here. We’ve already delivered 500 homes and we’re aware that the pace of replacement homes for those we lose through right to buy is critical to making this a reality for everyone.”
All homes built by the Council as part of this programme will meet lifetime home standards and include apprenticeship and local employment opportunities.
The report outlining these proposals is here
For more information about council housing visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/council-housing or call 0114 2930000.