Young people will be hit hardest by Sheffield’s local plan delays and housing shortage, warn councillors

Councillors warned young people will be hit hardest by delays to the local plan and a lack of housing.

By Molly Williams, Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 20th September 2021, 4:13 pm

Sheffield Liberal Democrats proposed a motion on housing and the local plan – which has been delayed for around a decade and will guide developments around the city when finally implemented – at this month’s full council meeting.

It follows a planning inquiry in which Sheffield Council’s decision to reject a housing estate on greenfield land at Hollin Busk, Deepcar, was overturned. The decision by the planning inspector was partly because the council failed to provide a local plan or a five-year deliverable housing supply.

Proposing the motion, which called for a draft local plan within the next six months, councillor Martin Smith said: “The city has become increasingly defenceless against inappropriate developments and it’s got so bad that even property developers are unhappy at the lack of clarity they are getting from the council.”

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Town Hall.

He added: “(It) is particularly difficult for young people with the shortage of good quality affordable housing.

“As a father with a son and daughter in their twenties, I’ve seen the impact that can have on young people’s lives.

“The local plan could have and should have been put to bed years ago. So please, no more delays, no more excuses – let’s crack on with it and set clear targets for how and when the local plan is going to be finished.”

Coun Julie Grocutt, deputy leader of the council, said a city centre plan and spacial strategy will be brought to cabinet in October and urged councillors to stop using the local plan as a “political football” and work together.

Coun Sophie Thornton said it was not “political football” to point out that the local plan had been in development since she was a teenager and gave her views as young person.

She said: “I would like, as a young person, to get on the housing ladder while I’m still in my twenties but I, like so many other young people, feel that is increasingly out of reach.

“A colleague of mine at my other job has been trying for years and ultimately every time she gets to final and last offers people are overbidding by £10-15,000 because the housing supply in this city is so low that the houses are just going like that.

“We are known as generation rent and it goes much further than us just being unable to own our own homes. It goes to us paying rent to pay other people’s mortgages for potentially the rest of our lives, spending our savings on an expensive rental sector, we are going to grow older and need care with little to no cash or assets to fund it and we are going to be unable to to leave future generations in a better place than we started.

“If you fail to plan, then you are going to plan to fail Sheffield’s young people who are wanting to get on the housing ladder and you are going to face a crisis in care as we get older.”