Fewer families in tower blocks

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The number of families living in high-rise accommodation in Sheffield has fallen dramatically, officials have revealed.

Sheffield Council was responding to a petition containing 27 signatures, presented by Coun Rob Murphy, Green Party member for Central ward, calling for the council to give priority to households with young children for ground floor accommodation and not house them in flats.

Housing officers said just four families are now in high-rise homes, down from 22 in 2007-8.

In a report to a scrutiny board meeting tomorrow, officers say that while there are no restrictions on who can live in high-rise blocks, the lack of suitably-sized housing in such buildings means they are unlikely to be offered to families.

The report says: “With so few families with children taking up high-rise tenancies, there is no evidence to suggest applicants are having to accept these properties against their will.

“Clearly any proposal to restrict access in the interest of the health and wellbeing of the children has to be balanced against the reduction of choice and self-determination for the families concerned.”

Housing officers are advising against banning families from tenancies in high-rise blocks.