Thursday, September 28, 2017

News: £8m housing fund launched

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A new pilot project has been launched as part of efforts to ensure that thousands more new houses are built to support the continued economic growth of the Sheffield city region (SCR).

With work underway on a new Inclusive Industrial Strategy, the Local Enterprise Partnership highlights the importance of increasing not only the number of new homes, but ensuring they are high quality, with good transport connections. It also stresses the important role that new housing and improved education have in shaping more vibrant and successful cities and towns.

An £8m pilot Housing Fund has been launched this week that will complement current national housing investment programmes, help to unlock development opportunities, and deliver much-needed new homes across the city region.

Shaped and allocated based on locally set criteria and available over a longer timeframe, the Housing Fund offers a flexible approach to the allocation of monies, with various funding solutions available to meet the requirements of individual schemes across the region.

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The prospectus states: "SCR needs to build more homes, and we have set a target of 70,000 new homes by 2024. We have built 10,720 new homes over three years against a target of over 19,000. At the current rate we would reach 39,000 new homes in the ten-year period. The good news is that we are building houses faster than any point in the last five years, and have managed to increase the rate of completion every year since 2012. But we still need to do more to meet our ambitious housing target.

"In 2015/16, 3,400 new homes were built in Sheffield City Region. The Growth Plan estimates that 7,000 new homes are needed each year to support economic growth. SCR therefore needs to double or treble its efforts to achieve this target."

Funding is available to a wide range of public and private sector partners across the housing sector and expressions of interest are being invited from providers and delivery organisations.

The project is described as a "fund of last resort," that will support schemes that otherwise would not happen. Money can be used on capital aspects such as site acquisition, remediation, infrastructure and the direct delivery of new homes.

At the same time, the SCR is continuing to develop a second project, its new "More New Homes" partnership approach to tackle the need to build more social homes in the region. By bringing together the region's key housing bodies, the approach could deliver at least 1,360 new affordable homes and 200 market price homes each year. A bid is being submitted to the Government's Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme for around £23m annually.

Sheffield City Region website

Images: Harworth Group


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