Inquiry sparks concern over Sheffield’s affordable housing backlog

Written by Adam Stanworth

An inquiry has sparked concerns over the need to ‘significantly ramp up’ the city’s delivery of affordable housing, according to one council planner.

Plans for a development of up to 300 homes that will include a mix of affordable housing and elderly persons accommodation, on the site of Hepworth’s Refractory in Loxley Valley were rejected by Sheffield City Council last year but an inquiry to hear an appeal against the decision is now underway.

However, the sessions have raised concerns over the amount of affordable housing available in Sheffield with developers arguing that the potential township could go a long way to solving this problem.

According to data within a report compiled by the Strategic Planning Research Unit, it is suggested there is a “massive backlog of unmet needs for affordable housing and no supply remotely capable of meeting it”.

The report also states there has been a 7% drop in Council housing stock during the last decade, while over the same period there has been an increase of just 97 new homes a year compared to the target of 902.

Roland Bolton of the Strategic Planning Research Unit said: “The position of 600 [new-builds], which is a very good year for Sheffield as its the highest completion rate its had for a good number of decades, is still under of half of what the demand would suggest.

“[However], a lot of these are one and two bed apartments based in the city centre and are not suitable for families.”

The proposed site location. Image Credit: streetmap.co.uk

The council claim they will address housing supply issues, upholding its pledge to make Sheffield the “fairest city in the UK”.

Laura Stephens, a planner at Sheffield City Council said: “We wouldn’t dispute there is a need for affordable housing.

“In response to the slow delivery of affordable housing, the council is seeking to significantly ramp up the delivery of affordable housing through additional borrowing on the housing revenue account.”

The council hope to add 1,000 new affordable homes by 2026 but this would not meet the target of 902 per year, as suggested by the Strategic Planning Research Unit.

 

Written by Adam Stanworth

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