National praise for Sheffield initiative
20th October 2015
Sheffield's drive to lead the way in tackling the housing shortage has won national recognition.
Sheffield Housing Company (SHC) a partnership between the city council, developer Keepmoat and housing provider, Great Places, was highly commended at the Inside Housing Top 60 developments awards at the weekend. It was just pipped to the Best Joint Venture title by a project in Stafford but was the only other short listed partnership to be singled out for special praise. Established in response to a 2007 government initiative to tackle the housing crisis SHC has now sold 221 homes and provided 67 for rent at three sites in the city. Over the next 15 years it plans to build 2,079 more around 90% for sale and 10% for rent - with the emphasis on space, quality, accessibility and value for money. It has also signed an agreement with private rented sector specialist the Sigma Group which could provide many more homes for private rent in Sheffield. SHC is one of just three public / private housing joint ventures to have survived from a list of 14 local authorities proposed in the Homes for the Future green paper, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government eight years ago. Public spending restrictions during the recession and issues over land values saw 11 embryonic partnerships falter leaving just SHC, the Gateshead Regeneration Partnership and the New Tyne West Development Company in Newcastle. From these the Sheffield initiative has made most progress in terms of delivering homes and the wider regeneration benefits, recently securing planning permission and board approval for the second phase of development a further 478 homes. An investigation by a publisher in the housing sector* revealed that almost half of all UK councils are now following the lead, with 46% being in the process of establishing or investigating the potential of joint venture housing companies. Tom Fenton, SHC Project Director, said: -Clearly initiatives like this are not without their challenges. That is why so few have even made it to construction and why we are delighted to be in the vanguard of an initiative which looks certain to become much more widespread across the country. -With the next phase of development now approved I anticipate we will be on site before the turn of the year and will continue to lead the way in delivering quality homes for sale and rent. Councillor Jayne Dunn, Sheffield City Council Cabinet Member for Housing, added: -We led the establishment of SHC to provide more housing in Sheffield for sale, for shared ownership and for rent. It is great that the innovative work in the city is being recognised nationally. -Quality and affordability is what we are striving for and what we are achieving through this partnership. This is part of our ambitious plan to provide 15,000 new homes over the next ten years, including an additional 1,000 council homes by 2020. Matthew Harrison, Chief Executive of Great Places Housing Group, said: -This joint initiative sees us building much needed homes which will benefit local communities in the city. Our Inside Housing commendation illustrates our partnership is a highly success collaboration and a model which can be rolled out nationally. Mark Knight, Regional Managing Director for Keepmoat Homes in Yorkshire, commented: "We're proud to be working in partnership with Sheffield City Council and Great Places to deliver further homes in the region. Sheffield really is leading the way in UK affordable home provision, whether to buy or rent and to be recognised along with our partners is fantastic. The next phase of SHC building comprises: Land between Earl Marshal Road and Barnsley Road adjacent to Fir Vale School Playing Fields where 59 two to six bedroomed homes will be built Falstaff Crescent, Falstaff Road, Buchanan Road and Collinson Road, next to Parson Cross Park where there will be 122 family houses Land between Park Grange Road and Beeches Drive - extending to Samuel Drive and Park Grange Drive in the Norfolk Park area which is earmarked for 9 apartments and 83 houses The site of Park Grange Old Peoples' Home where a three storey, 24 apartment development will go ahead A start on the Manor concentrating on Harborough Avenue providing 181 homes