Thursday 12 January 2017

More council homes are set to be built in Sheffield.

The City Council’s plans to provide an extra 1,000 council homes are still ongoing but today, the authority is revealing that it intends to build more of these than originally thought.

These will include independent living schemes for older people and the council also hopes to provide extra supported housing for people with learning disabilities. The extra homes will be provided by 2020/21.

Councillor Jayne Dunn, Cabinet Member for Housing at Sheffield City Council, said: “Increasing social housing is still a priority as the need for good affordable housing has never been greater.

“We acquire more council homes by either buying existing properties or building them ourselves. Building them gives us more control though and helps us get the properties we need. That’s why we’re maintaining our plans to provide an extra 1,000 council homes in Sheffield but we will be building more of them ourselves. This includes supported housing to help people live independently, as well as more family homes.”

There are around 40,000 council homes in Sheffield but this figure is reducing as properties are sold under the national Right to Buy scheme.

The authority is almost one third of the way toward its target of 1,000 extra council homes. Since 2015/16 it has bought an extra 285 properties and is building 89 new council homes which are almost complete. By the end of the programme, if the authority is successful in accessing national house building funding, it is estimated that the council will have built around 450 of this total.

The authority’s council housing plan also sets out plans to:
• Reduce the community heating charge by 10 per cent for tenants who receive metered heating.
• Set a single flat rate for garage rent instead of the current system of different prices across the city.
• Prepare for new housing policies introduced nationally and to support tenants who are affected by them.

Councillor Dunn added: “We’ve lobbied Government to reject policies that would be bad for tenants, such as Pay to Stay, which has now been dropped. We will continue to do this to get the best we can for people who need social housing and will push for more money for the city to increase its council housing stock in the future.”

Investments to council housing are funded by the rent paid by council tenants. Over the next year work will continue to improve people’s kitchens, bathrooms, windows, doors, roofs, boilers and communal areas which are a priority for tenants.

Sheffield City Council’s Council Housing business plan will be discussed by its Cabinet on Wednesday, 18 January.