//Fast-track homes scheme approved for City Region

Published 9th March 2018 at 2:54pm

The first project to be approved under the Sheffield City Region’s unique £10million ‘fast track’ housing pilot will see 38 affordable flats set to be built at a Sheffield landmark site by Summer 2019.

The one and two-bedroom flats will be built on the site of the former Park Gardeners Club close to the iconic Park Hill flats and high above the Parkway, thanks to approval today (Friday March 9) by the Combined Authority (CA) of the Sheffield City Region.

The CA has agreed a grant of £517,000 to the Guinness Partnership less than four months after the initial application to the pilot ‘Housing Investment Fund’ (HIF). The Guinness Partnership, one of the largest social housing and care bodies in the UK, hopes to be on site this month, with the homes completed by June next year.

News of the CA approval has been welcomed by Jake Berry, Northern Powerhouse, and Local Growth Minister, who said: “Government’s Local Growth Funding, combined with the multi-million-pound investment from the Sheffield City Region, is helping to deliver the new affordable homes the region needs. We need to think innovatively about how we can work across the private and public sector in order to meet the housing demands that come with a burgeoning population and a resurgent Northern Powerhouse economy.

“Sheffield City Region’s ‘fast track’ housing pilot is a great example of such innovation and, with the full weight of Government firmly behind the region, we will see hundreds of new homes being built so that we can meet tomorrow’s housing demands today.”

The funding from the Sheffield City Region is part of its £380million programme of investment. This includes a contribution from the Government’s Local Growth Fund which is part of the Government’s continued investment in the Northern Powerhouse.

Bids came into the SCR fund last November and attracted a high level of interest. Further schemes are expected to be approved over the coming months.

Today Huw Bowen, the Chief Executive of Chesterfield Borough Council and lead Chief Executive for Sheffield City Region for housing, said: “I am absolutely delighted that this scheme is going to benefit so many people. The City Region is deeply committed to providing high-quality homes which meet the needs of this booming region, and this pilot fund has already proved it can get things underway quickly.

“I want to pay a tribute to the staff of the City Region who have moved things forward so speedily.

“We continue to build successful partnerships involving both the public and private sectors to develop and support schemes that create new homes, jobs and economic growth.”

Allan Ramsay, Director of Development (North & West) for the Guinness Partnership, said: “We’re delighted at today’s announcement confirming that the Park Gardeners site has been formally approved for funding under the City Region’s HIF programme. We are now able to move forward with the project that will provide 38 high quality, affordable rented homes for local people. We’re extremely grateful to Sheffield City Region for their support.”

A total of almost 1,500 new homes could be built in the Region by the initial round of bids to the pilot, as another seven schemes are currently being judged on the strength of their business cases. If successful, financial support will enable a range of accommodation to be built, from apartments to three and four-bedroom homes.

The schemes are based in five of the nine SCR local authority areas, and mean that houses can be built faster to meet the SCR’s aim to provide at least 7,000 homes every year. The pilot, which was open to local authorities, registered housing providers and private sector developers, could become a model for future devolved Government investment in the City Region.

The SCR fund, which is only for schemes in the City Region, complements the Government’s existing national housing investment programmes.

The SCR has already developed an extensive pipeline of priority sites to ensure that the Housing Fund will support housing in places where it is needed, and where it fits in with wider infrastructure investment in roads and community facilities.

As well as looking at the economic and social benefits of projects, the pilot will test the submitted business cases to ensure schemes will be delivered on time and within budget.

Notes to Editors

  • Local Growth Fund

Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone.

That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12billion through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders.

Analysis has shown that every £1 of Local Growth Fund invested could generate £4.81 in benefits.