Homes revamp given go-ahead

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MORE than £11 million of Sheffield’s housing budget is being set aside towards ‘unfinished’ redevelopment projects which have lost Government funding – but the cash will not be enough to build new houses.

Plans to rebuild flat-roofed houses at Arbourthorne Fields and rundown terraces on Skinnerthorpe Road, Fir Vale, were approved under the old Labour Government’s Housing Market Renewal Programme – but funding was pulled.

Some houses are boarded up and there are empty areas where properties have been demolished.

A decision to allocate the cash, most of which will be used to clear the redevelopment sites and make them safe, was made at a meeting of Sheffield Council’s ruling cabinet.

The £11.4 million also includes £1.7 million of £2.5 million already earmarked for moving people out and security at Park Hill flats.

But opposition Lib Dems fear more of the funding pot will be spent on Park Hill.

Coun Alison Brelsford, Lib Dem shadow cabinet member for housing, said: “Labour’s latest move opens the door for millions more to be allocated from the Town Hall’s coffers to the Park Hill project.

“Park Hill is turning out to be another Sheffield Labour Party white elephant, at a time when we can least afford it.

“The project shouldn’t receive one extra penny from the council, just as Labour originally promised when they first signed the contract for this grand scheme.”

But cabinet member for housing, Coun Harry Harpham, said: “The £11.4m is mostly for housing market renewal projects which lost Government funding, such as Arbourthorne Fields and Fir Vale.

“Unfortunately it is not enough to fund new homes and we are looking at other sources.”

He added money would not be spent on building at Park Hill.