//Homes boss told city region’s housing ‘soaring’

Published 21st March 2018 at 10:34am

Home building in the Sheffield City Region (SCR) has soared, a national housing chief heard yesterday, with 6,200 homes created in the past year – double the annual figure just three years ago.

Sir Edward Lister, Chair of Homes England, the former Homes and Communities Agency, was at a meeting of key housing figures to be updated on the progress of the Sheffield City Region’s radical new Housing Compact and its first initiative ‘More New Homes’.

The Compact is a partnership of the Sheffield City Region, local authorities, housing associations and ‘arms length’ management organisations, and is the first of its type in the UK. It is tackling the need to build more homes faster in the SCR, over and above the Sheffield City Region target of delivering up to 7,000 new homes annually.

Earlier in the day Sir Edward, seen above, attended the launch of the first phase of the £25million Dun Works affordable housing development in Shalesmoor, Sheffield, an example of the new way of working through the Compact. It is estimated that the City Region approach could deliver at least 1,500 new affordable homes each year.

Sir Edward welcomed the More New Homes initiative which brings the region’s key housing bodies together to bid for funding for key affordable housing projects and to attract greater private investment. Traditionally housing associations, house builders and other providers have competed against each other for funding.

Sir Edward also heard about the success of the City Region’s unique Housing Fund, which will see its first fast-tracked development completing 38 affordable homes by June 2019. The Housing Fund will help public and private sector public and private sector providers bring forward stalled housing developments – accelerating housing growth locally. The project aims to deliver 3,200 new homes, creating 2,000 construction jobs.

Leading case studies from the South Yorkshire Housing Association and Rotherham Council were also presented to Sir Edward.

Sir Edward welcomed the City Region’s focus on affordable housing and its willingness to think differently, providing a clear commitment from Homes England to match SCR’s innovative approach and support the work of More New Homes.

He said: “We need to work together to identify more ways that Homes England can work with the Sheffield City Region team to help them achieve their ambitious housing targets. We will work with the City Region to build on the collaborative working arrangements.”

Huw Bowen, the Chief Executive of Chesterfield Borough Council and lead Chief Executive for Sheffield City Region for housing, added: “Having affordable and high quality homes available for a workforce is vital to economic growth in the whole region.”

Tony Stacey, Chief Executive of South Yorkshire Housing Association, who hosted the meeting, said: “At a time when we see homelessness increasing all around us, this renewed focus on providing homes affordable to everyone and at scale is very welcome.”

Partners in the More New Homes initiative will collaborate to:

  • work collectively on large strategic sites
  • develop a strategic partnership with health and social care bodies
  • explore new ways to finance housing
  • unlock smaller and rural sites through infrastructure investment
  • drive economies of scale
  • look at new ways to rent or own affordable homes
  • look at offsite construction methods

In return, More New Homes partners will ask the Government’s ‘Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme’ for around £23million annually, devolved or ring-fenced.

Notes to Editors

  • SCR housing developments attracted a high level of interest at international property showcase MIPIM, including the major Bassingthorpe Farm development in Rotherham.
  • The Housing Fund includes a contribution from the Government’s Local Growth Fund resources which is part of the Government’s continued investment in the Northern Powerhouse.
  • Homes England is the new housing delivery organisation that has been created to adopt a more commercial approach to respond to the long term housing challenges facing this country. The new, expanded agency will play a far bigger role in investing in supply and intervening in the market to help deliver 300,000 homes a year by the middle of the next decade.

Homes England will act differently from its predecessor, bringing together money, land, expertise and planning and compulsory purchase powers to accelerate the supply of new homes and address affordability issues in areas of highest demand.