Warning about lack of housing in Sheffield

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Families across Sheffield are facing a ‘housing timebomb’ – with just one sixth of the new homes the city needs being built every year, a report has warned.

Home Truths: Yorkshire and Humber 2012 reveals there is not enough affordable housing to go around in Sheffield.

The National Housing Federation, which compiled the report, said the shortage is putting the cost of privately renting or owning a home out of reach of thousands more families.

Last year, 3,200 new households formed in Sheffield, but only 560 new homes were built.

At the same time, the city has seen sharp increases in the cost of renting a home privately.

Across the region, house prices have risen 3.5 times faster than earnings in the past decade.

The federation is urging the Government to hand over disused brownfield public land to allow housing associations to build more homes.

Using Government data, the federation has identified land in Sheffield which could be used to build about 3,700 homes, enough for nearly 8,000 people.

Rob Warm, of the federation, said: “The lack of affordable housing is a tragedy for families across Sheffield helplessly watching as the cost of renting or buying a home spirals out of reach.

“We know various Government departments currently own disused land, such as derelict hospitals and schools, which could be used to build more homes.

“Building new homes and renovating existing ones is the quickest and most effective way to boost a local economy where we know construction is suffering.

“This would help solve Sheffield’s housing crisis and create jobs in construction for a generation who can’t find work.”

Sheffield Council said it is pushing ahead with the development of 2,300 affordable homes through the formation of the Sheffield Housing Company.

Work has started on the first scheme in the Falstaff area of Parson Cross and planning permission has been granted for sites at Shirecliffe and Norfolk Park.

Coun Harry Harpham, cabinet member for housing, said: “This coalition government is failing to provide sites and funding for the building of affordable homes when people need them most.

“Tory-led policy has seen a 60 per cent budget cut for affordable homes over the 2011-2015.

“Despite this, the Sheffield Local Plan sets out a target of building about 20,000 new homes by 2026 and we are doing everything we can to achieve this goal.”