Government news takes Sheffield Council by surprise

Sheffield Town Hall
Sheffield Town Hall

A plan to build thousands of affordable new homes has been put on hold after a surprise announcement by the Government.

The council’s Cabinet was due to agree a New Homes Delivery Plan to build thousands of homes, with a mix of house types and tenancies, in areas where they are needed most.

But just hours before the Cabinet meeting, the Government announced an extra £2 billion for social and affordable housing over the next decade

While the council’s own plan is not in jeopardy and will still be rolled out, bosses said they wanted to postpone it for a few weeks so they could study the Government’s announcement.

Council Leader Julie Dore said: “We require homes and there’s a desperate need here and now for them. This announcement was made in the morning when we were about to deliver a plan in the afternoon.

“Our plan is based on current opportunities and finances available so we need to consider the Government announcement. It should change if there’s a lot of money available but the question is whether the money is available to Sheffield?

“We need to seriously consider what this announcement means, if it’s real money and if Sheffield can access it. We also need to consider if it really means council homes as the Government’s affordable homes may be different to council homes.

“We really do need to look at how it will impact on the plans we were about to sign off. We will take a few weeks to consider this but it will not stall our plans.”

For the past few years, around 1,400 new homes have been built each year in Sheffield. Officers predict the number of new homes over the next five years will be 8,494 – significantly less than needed.

With the council’s Plan, 10,428 homes could be delivered over the same period which would meet Sheffield’s targets.

Proposals include providing over 400 new homes in the next five years, a programme in the city centre to unlock sites with the potential for 500 homes and working with Rotherham to provide over 18,000 homes over the next 20-30 years.