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Woodside proposals Homes for Our Children?. A 15-year wait? Sheffield Property Shop (paper advertising council vacancies) last week (21.2.07) 2 3-bed.

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Presentation on theme: "Woodside proposals Homes for Our Children?. A 15-year wait? Sheffield Property Shop (paper advertising council vacancies) last week (21.2.07) 2 3-bed."— Presentation transcript:

1 Woodside proposals Homes for Our Children?

2 A 15-year wait? Sheffield Property Shop (paper advertising council vacancies) last week ( ) 2 3-bed houses on Earldom – Arches, at affordable rents One for priority applicants only Other 15 year minimum waiting time! How did we get here?

3 Sheffield House Prices House prices in Sheffield have more than trebled in the past decade The 2004 Housing Needs Survey found that 58% of Sheffield households could not afford the cheapest available housing at £62,000 The cheapest housing today is around 50% more expensive NHF predict rises well ahead of inflation and wages to continue (another 50%)

4 Priced Out The 2004 Housing Needs survey found that around 35,000 Sheffielders were inadequately housed and unable to afford private housing (rent or freehold) The 2007 survey is likely to find a much higher figure

5 S3 Housing Market Current prices for a 1-bed property in S3 averages £104,721 Average property price in S3 is over 6X average income (£19,000) 51% of S3 residents live in social rented housing (34% in S4)

6 Falling supply In the early 1980s there were around 95,000 council properties in Sheffield Today there are around than half that number Most sold under Right-to-Buy. 8,000+ due to demolition – like Woodside

7 Demolition Total demolition 1996/2006 7,994 homes. Over 1,000 of these in Burngreave ward

8 The local plans Woodside – 200 new homes. I5% affordable. “About 17” for rent. Once over 400 homes. Shirecliffe 10-20% “affordable”. About 18 out of 90. But none of these for rent (most 75% of market value ie NOT affordable) Upwell Street. 50 homes. 0 affordable Ellesmere. 50 homes. 15% affordable “mix” – ie about 8 Earl Marshall. 53 homes. 20% affordable – ie about 11.

9 Total for Burngreave ward Altogether 443 new homes. About 71 affordable. About of these for rent This gives us affordable rented properties in return for 1,000+ former council properties. Plus for sale or “shared equity” many of which not genuinely affordable. Is this “mixed”? How much of this provides for the children of local people?

10 Waiting List Gridlock Active Housing waiting list figures Historical comparison: March 1992 – height of repossessions crisis – 39,305 March ,301 Dec ,679 Jan ,712 This is a crisis. Nat Housing Fed “The housing situation in Yorks and Humberside is a timebomb… Housing lists are rising faster than anywhere in England”

11 Lower turnover The 2005 Supply and Demand Review highlighted another new trend. Reduced stock turnover, due to fewer council tenants moving out. Last four years available properties down 8,000 to 4,000 Also, many vacancies taken up due to demolition

12 Waiting List system Before 2005, Housing allocated on a 50/50 system. 50% for priority need. (Often legally required to house) Too many in priority need plus less stock meant priority applicants often waiting 6 months (4-week target) Today on 75/25 system. Once again priority waiting time 6 months

13 Two cases Bernard. Lives with wife and two children (boy 7 mnths, girl 4) in a 1-bed flat. Earns £7ph on nights. 4 mnths to get on priority list. Then 6 mnths to wait while bidding. Beccy has three sons. Lives in a 3-bed property. Eldest is 19, and has been on waiting list for 18 months. She wants to know when he’ll get housed. ??? Gone from 50% of 8,000 to 25% of 4,000 for GWL…. 1,000pa with 57,000 looking

14 What needs to happen The 2004 Housing Needs Survey calculated a need for 415 new affordable homes per year. This based on underestimate of price increases and overestimate of supply 2007 Housing Needs Survey, due this year, likely to calculate a much higher figure

15 What is happening? Between the 2004 and 2006 financial years the council has built a total of 404 new homes defined as affordable, 267 for rent. This is under half of the target set by the 2004 Housing Needs Survey Meanwhile another 2113 council homes demolished

16 Why the shortfall HNS % target – 30% of all new build SSR % target – 30-39% Council target 15-25% (15% in HMR areas) July 2006 Affordable Housing – Interim Planning Guidance (para 7.16) “Members should be aware that setting the affordable housing requirements at the levels suggested may not deliver the numbers of affordable homes required to meet identified needs. It is also significantly below the level being suggested in the draft Regional Revised Spatial Strategy..However, in setting the required level of developer contribution, a balance has been made between delivering the numbers of affordable homes needed and the need to maintain overall levels of house completions..required to support economic growth. The Council has also submitted an objection to the proposed affordable housing requirement.. because of the likely impact on economic regeneration (my italics)

17 What can we afford? In just the 3 years 2003/4 to 2005/6 Sheffield Council took a total of over £121 million in Right-to-Buy receipts. 75% of this is taken from HRA by Government. Under law introduced by Thatcher in 1980 none of our RTB receipts can be used to fund new housebuilding. (£45bn) £121 million could pay for 1200 new homes at £100k each (ie quality homes)

18 What can we afford? 2 Council housing can pay for itself as loans can be repaid from rental income. The state can borrow cheaper than any private firm. This is called “prudential borrowing” The Government has had to increase HB payments to private landlords since 1980 by more than the amount saved in grants to Council housing (HB up about £6bn 1980/1 to 2002/3)

19 What can we afford - 3 “Moonlight Robbery”. About one third of HRA budget is devoted to “Historic debt”. But this hasn’t been reduced proportionately with falling number of tenants. Comprehensive Spending Review – promises to allocate money for housing. Recognising problem but never enough (unlike budget for Trident and Iraq War)

20 Who else is saying this? For the last 3 years Labour’s conference has demanded changes to the rules which prevent council’s from borrowing and using RTB receipts. DCH campaign. Last year unanimous Last year government conceded a review. NHF lobbying for step-change in funding in Comp Spending Review 2007 Should we be passive onlookers?

21 Labour Party 2006 Passed unanimously: Conference believes that decent, affordable, secure and accountable council housing can make an important contribution to tackling growing housing need and that there is strong support… for direct investment to improving existing council homes and estates as well as enabling local authorities to build new homes. (This should involve) ring-fencing all the income from tenants rents, capital receipts, as well as equal treatment on debt write off..

22 What is “realistic” and affordable Two starting points here: Either, we start from what is realistic and affordable for social housing delivered by private developers Or, we start from what is realistic and affordable for people of Burngreave “Unrealistic” from this point of view is anything that refuses to acknowledge the housing crisis facing people in this community

23 Affordability Useful definition of “affordability” is 25% of disposable income (HNS 2004) £90,000 home requires household income of £40,000 £300pcm housing cost requires income of over £20,000 Council’s “affordable” category doesn’t meet this definition (eg Bernard, 25% is £50pw) Govt definition separates “affordable” category from “low-cost market housing”. Sheffield blurs it. (eg “affordable sale at £105,000)

24 Our demands? Suggestions: Firstly, 15% not enough Affordable means affordable (HNS definition) Redevelopments should at least reflect make up of local community. (51% social rented) If RTB receipts released could build first-class sustainable council estates Support NHF call for more funding and DCH call for removing restrictions on Councils

25 Where next? Need to raise profile of issue in every way possible. Keep adding to petition… “Our Land Not For Sale” festival? Elections… May council elections. Could BCAF arrange a Housing Debate/hustings and invite candidates from all parties taking part?


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