Around 200 homes planned for Woodside are under discussion by the Masterplan New Housing Group, but with only 15–20% affordable homes included the development is unlikely to meet the housing needs of Burngreave.
A recent meeting of the New Housing Group heard there would be “only about seventeen” homes at affordable rents on the Woodside site, around half of the affordable properties available, where there were once over 500 council homes.
When asked why the provision for affordable housing would be so low on Woodside the Council said:
“The guidance is 15–20% of the development, as it is felt this level will provide a good selection of affordable homes but will not stop development. If a developer can pass the cost of the affordable homes on through buying the land at a reduced cost they will do so. Otherwise affordable homes cost more to build than to buy, so developers lose money on them. To offer too many could jeopardise all new development. We will be reviewing the figures in Autumn 2007 and will be aiming to bump it up for some sites by a further 5%. Offering a whole development of affordable housing would not be viable. The Council is aiming to create developments which have a mixed tenure to create ‘mixed communities’.”
Kevin Hartney, chair of the Burngreave Community Action Forum and former chair of Woodside TARA (Tenants’ and Residents’ Association), says: “This is social engineering in the name of regeneration. Our community will not be served by another swathe of private developments like those down the hill on the Don Riverside.”
A Housing Crisis
The numbers on the active housing waiting list for Sheffield Council have mushroomed in the last five years to over 54,000, while the Council’s Housing Needs Survey in 2004 confirms that around 34,000 people in Sheffield were living in inadequate housing and unable to afford anything on the private market.
The Survey concluded that Sheffield needs to build 413 new units of affordable housing every year. Since then this number has risen as house prices have continued to soar. But the Council continues to demolish its housing and sell off land. This can only worsen the crisis which their own report acknowledged.
A petition is being circulated by campaigners who want more affordable housing. Residents of local estates have been approached. Michelle Cooke, from Carwood Tenants and Residents Association, said: “I just want there to be somewhere for when the kids leave home.” Local councillors have also been asked to sign. Copies of the petition can be obtained by contacting Ben on 0114 263 4779.
by Ben Morris