Home building ‘needs to double’ in Sheffield City Region

Rob Pearson, general manager, North East, Yorkshire and The Humber, at the Homes and Communities Agency.
Rob Pearson, general manager, North East, Yorkshire and The Humber, at the Homes and Communities Agency.
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Last year 3,400 homes were built in Sheffield City Region – but that needs to double to hit economic targets, according to a Government housing chief.

Between seven and 10 thousand new homes are required every year if a target of 70,000 private sector jobs is to be met, according to Rob Pearson, general manager, North East, Yorkshire and The Humber, at the Homes and Communities Agency.

Now, the nine local authorities in Sheffield City Region are ‘mapping’ potential building plots. So far 59,000 have been identified.

The HCA owns land and lends money to developers.

Mr Pearson said: “My understanding is it’s going well but house building has got to speed up. Workers need homes to live in, it is key to the ability to attract more jobs and grow jobs.

“We need to make best use of the land as part of an accelerated construction programme and see whether any barriers to brownfield land are being addressed.

“Each local authority in the region is being asked to be more aware of their housing needs and to think of them at a strategic level as opposed to in specific areas.”

The HCA is involved in the Avenue Coking Works reclamation south of Chesterfield. The £180m project is set to create 1,000 homes, of which 470 is on HCA land.

In Sheffield, it lent cash to Citu for its Little Kelham development. It also inherited the Technology Centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park from Yorkshire Forward, and built a second centre which opened last year. It is in the process of selling both to Rotherham Council.

It sold land to Scarborough Group for the Digital Campus and owns Sheaf Square outside Sheffield Midland station.

Mr Pearson added: “We want to maximise the economic impact of HS2 and we have no plans at the moment to go out to market.”

Sir Nigel Knowles, chair of Sheffield City Region LEP, said: “As firms such as Rolls-Royce, Boeing and McLaren bring jobs to our region we recognise the importance of keeping up with rising demand for new homes.”

The Government’s target for the UK is to build 1m new homes by 2020.