Sheffield City Region currently has 'no chance' of meeting 50, 000 housing target

Linda Crapper.
Linda Crapper.

The Sheffield City Region will have 'no chance' of meeting demand to build more than 50, 000 new homes over the next decade unless there is a shake-up of the housing market, a leading property expert has warned.

Homes for the North, an alliance of the 19 largest housing associations across the north, commissioned research which revealed the Steel City region will need at least 5, 395 homes built per annum for the next 10 years to keep up with demand.

Housing in Sheffield.

Housing in Sheffield.

But Linda Crapper, director of land and new homes at Saxton Mee estate agents, warned this target will not be met unless there is a raft of changes in the way councils handle the housing market.

She said a number of factors including under-staffed planning departments, delays in getting housing projects off the ground and a lack of available land to build on are contributing to holding up the housing market - at a time when it really needs to be moving.

The property expert said: "The situation is outrageous. If councils don't change things then they will be lucky to build 10, 000 homes - never mind 50, 000."

Ms Crapper described planning departments as "under-staffed" due to cutbacks meaning potential housing developments are continually being deferred.

She said: "It takes three or four times longer than it should to get housing schemes over the line. There is one in Deepcar that I sold about 10 years ago and I still don't think it has got planning permission.

"There is a backlog of cases and they need more staff."

She also urged the council to look at allocating more former industrial sites and ex-council estate land for developers to build housing.

Said Ms Crapper: "There is plenty of empty land in S5 where council houses have been knocked down and are now empty. They should be building houses on here, and if the council can't afford to they should sell it, rather than just leaving it."

She added the authority should be urging certain land owners to sell up to pave the way for housing schemes on the vacant land.

She said: "More and more people want new housing because they are more energy efficient. The demand is high but the supply isn't there. Something needs to change."

Homes for the North said the figures, collated by Housing research specialists Lichfield, show the shortfall in the north makes up 29 per cent of the country's entire projected housing need.

As much as 70 per cent of this housing need is concentrated around urban areas and there is a particular shortage of rental homes to meet the needs of a booming number of graduates and younger working families.

Neighbouring Leeds City Region is expected to have the most demand for new homes across the north, needing more than 130, 000 over the next decade.

Homes for the North urged the Government to adopt a regional housebuilding target to build more than 500, 000 homes across the north over 10 years.

The report argued more Whitehall support should be given to housing associations to build new developments and some funds should be allocated to the north from the £3 billion Home Building Fund to help stimulate the housing market.

Mark Henderson, chairman of Homes for the North, said: “We need a more diverse market.

"Providers like us could double the amount we build if only government released more public land for development and provided more certainty over future housing funding. “

Sajid Javid MP, secretary of state for communities and local government, said: “Our £3bn Home Building Fund is helping to build thousands of high quality rented homes so tenants in the north and across the UK have greater choice and our flexible £7.1bn Affordable Homes Programme is supporting regions around the country."

Sheffield Council has been contacted for comment and we are awaiting a reply.