COMMENT: More affordable homes must be built

The former Dyson factory site, Stopes Road, Stannington, Sheffield
The former Dyson factory site, Stopes Road, Stannington, Sheffield
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Housing bosses set to build on Sheffield’s greenbelt have withdrawn their pledge to spend £1.8million on 
affordable housing at the development (See Page 6).

The council claims it has been misled over the project - suggesting planners would not have given the nod to build on the former Dyson factory site in Stopes Road, Stannington, if the scheme didn’t include any affordable homes.

There are thousands of young people right across South Yorkshire who are struggling with little money in their pockets, and who are crying out for decent properties they can afford to buy.

But, for many, the dream of being able to pick up the keys to their first home is turning into just that - a dream that doesn’t ever look like becoming a reality.

As housing prices continue to rise, it’s a real worry for parents who fear their children won’t ever be able to afford a house.

And if you’re lucky enough to already own your own home, don’t think this problem doesn’t affect you too.

If people can’t afford a house - any house -they can’t later sell it and move up the chain.

When the bottom rungs of the property ladder are left to rot, the whole housing market falls apart.

Housebuilders may complain about the cost to their businesses, but the solution seems easy.

Simply set a quota for cheap homes which construction firms have to meet if they want to start a new development.

For every scheme of over 20 homes, insist that at least 10 or 20% have to be houses which people on lower incomes can actually afford to buy.

And make it legally binding so building bosses can’t change the rules halfway through the project.

Governments don’t like to meddle with ‘the market’ but it might be the only way of persuading builders to create the huge number of cheaper homes which this country desperately needs.

Owning a house is key to putting down roots and building communities.

These days, an Englishman’s home isn’t just his castle, it’s also his office, workshop and call centre.

As we reveal on Pages 18-19, more and more people - across a range of businesses - are choosing to work from home.

The roof over their heads is also helping to put food on their table.

Which means the housing crisis isn’t just a problem for people and struggling families - it’s also going to start holding back the economy and robbing people of their chance to work.

After all, you can hardly work from home if you don’t actually have one...