Sheffield losing £14m a year by not building enough new homes, boss claims

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SHEFFIELD Council will miss out on more than £14 million of grants a year because of its failure to accelerate house building, it has been claimed.

The Home Builders Federation said Sheffield faces losing more cash than nearly any other council in Britain, because too few new housing developments are being given the green light.

Under the coalition’s flagship New Homes Bonus, the Government matches the council tax paid for every newly-built property for six years.

Sheffield was last week allocated just under £2m for adding 480 new properties to the city’s housing stock in 2009/10.

But government projections show 2,920 new homes need to be built in the city each year to meet housing need. If that level of building had taken place in 2009/10, the council would have netted £4.3m.

Within six years the council will be missing out on £14.1m a year if it does not increase building above present levels.

Home Builders Federation executive Stewart Baseley said: “In these austere times, with budgets being cut across the country, this money would prove invaluable.”

The HBF claims Rotherham Council faces losing £4.3m a year unless annual house building increases. Barnsley and Doncaster councils both face losing £4.2m, it claims.

Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for housing, Coun Penny Baker, said: “At the moment we are 40 per cent ahead of our target in the Sheffield Development Framework for building new homes, so we want to avoid making bleak speculations and assumptions about what the future holds.

“There is a lot of detail left to be pinned down relating to the New Homes Bonus in Sheffield. While we remain realistic about the challenges ahead we are working positively with developers to increase housing supply in the city.”

Nationally only 100,000 were built in 2010 - the lowest number in any peacetime year since 1923.