New Sheffield council house £300k cost questioned over value for money
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The council’s finance committee, meeting on Monday (October 16), was asked to approve a budget of £4.46m to acquire 15 four-bed homes on Main Street in Hackenthorpe from Walshaw Homes Ltd. The move is part of the council house stock increase programme.
A report to the committee said that that there is a two-year waiting list for four-bed houses for affordable rent in the area. Ten homes would be made available for rent and five would be sold under the council’s shared ownership scheme.
Coun Shaffaq Mohammed said: “£4.5m for 15 houses is £300k per house. A quick search on Google suggests that house prices on that street are considerably less.
“I’ve just seen a three-bed for £200k. Are we getting value for money, which is a genuine question?”
He also asked how long it would be before a tenant of one of those houses would have the right to buy their home, which could not be answered at the meeting.
Council finance manager Damian Watkinson said that the purchases have been through value-for-money testing by the housing team and judged good value for brand new homes.
Other housing plans approved at the meeting include spending £3.12m to provide 20 houses for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme for refugees living here. This includes £1.42m of government funding.
Mr Watkinson said that the houses would be available for rent once the Ukraine scheme ends.
The budget for building 73 new council homes at Daresbury View and Berners Road, Arbourthorne has been increased by £1.139m. This is because of delays and construction cost increases.
Similar delays have meant that the council is now planning reinstatement works at Newstead in Birley to allow public access to the site again.
Another £486k will be spent on fire risk assessment and works at Manor House Older Person Independent Living scheme.
The committee also approved spending on city schools.
This includes £33.6k to look at creating new spaces at Mossbrook Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) School and £520k in total for SEND pupil projects at Norfolk, Phillimore and Wybourn Community Primaries.
The demolition of chimneys at Shooters Grove and Dore Primary Schools was also approved.