Cautious welcome over Sheffield council homes plan

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Residents have given a cautious welcome to news that more than 3,000 new council homes will be built in Sheffield over the next decade.

Plans for the largest council house building programme for a generation are taking shape with 3,100 new properties, including homes for elderly people and shared ownership.

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Since Right to Buy was introduced almost 40 years ago, 32,000 council homes have been sold but the council hasn’t been able to replace them because of strict government policy.

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The council homes.The council homes.
The council homes. | JPIMedia

It also hasn’t had enough rental income to reinvest into estates.

Currently 70 per cent of homes that become available for rent are taken up by people with an urgent housing priority so choice is very limited for new and existing people on the waiting list.

The council will now be able to build new homes after the government lifted a borrowing cap in October last year.

A number of Star readers have taken to Facebook to have their say on the matter.

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Gail Walker said: “Great news, everyone deserves an affordable home with security to stay.”

Richard Fletcher added: “Brilliant, about time council planned for future generations.”

But David Wright struck a note of caution.

He said: “Great but what happens when people buy these council homes?

Councillor Paul Wood, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “We’ve got a lot of work to do to meet demand and our plans are robust and carefully considered, with people’s needs at the heart of them.

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“Everyone needs a safe, warm and affordable home and that’s absolutely what we’re trying to do here.

“We’ve already delivered 500 homes and we’re aware that the pace of replacement homes for those we lose through right to buy is critical to making this a reality for everyone.”

Along with general council housing, officers will look at Extra Care Schemes, specialist accommodation for vulnerable people and temporary accommodation.

There are also plans for shared ownership homes in some areas.

The plans will be reviewed each year to make sure that any additional borrowing poses no risk to the 30 year plan.