Sheffield Civic Trust is calling for a city-wide debate to consider how Sheffield can provide the homes our city needs – now and for the future. Politicians of all persuasions have called for a major house-building programme to meet rising demand. But what are the specific ways that Sheffield should tackle these issues? Are new homes the main solution? Where should new homes be built in our city? How can we ensure that they are sustainable and meet people’s needs? Will they be affordable? Who will build them?
Over the past couple of years Sheffield Civic Trust has been involved in a number of initiatives to raise the profile of future housing provision and design quality in the city:
- We had Wolfson-Prize winner David Rudlin to speak on the theme of housing growth.
- We have invited contributions and presentations from local and national experts on housing including Sir Bob Kerslake, Miranda Plowden, and Professor Gordon Dabinett.
- We have been active in the development of the Sheffield Housing Conversations with SYHA and other partners.
- We have urged the City Council to consider the potential role of new residential accommodation within the Retail Quarter development.
- And we have held a prominent exhibition of new urban housing to inspire the city to provide better homes in the future.
And we still want to hear from you. Whether you rent or own, want to upsize or downsize, whether you’re fed up with your landlord or wish your kids had better housing, tell us what you think.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, sign up for our newsletter at http://sheffieldcivictrust.org.uk/, follow us on Twitter @SheffCivicTrust and get involved in the events, debates and discussions by joining the Sheffield Civic Trust.
SCT Housing Statement
We may need more homes but that doesn’t mean we should just build more of the same. We think Sheffield should be looking at the best examples of housing design, sustainability and affordability from the rest of the country and around the world. To kick off this conversation, Sheffield Civic Trust is launching our ‘Year of Housing’ around four key discussion themes:
- Place. Sheffield is a city of hills, rivers, industry, suburbs, villages and thriving local centres. However, our distinct local geography can also act as a constraint on new development – whether this is sloping sites, industrial uses, flood plains, green belt land, the National Park, or our neighbouring local authorities. These constraining issues highlight the importance of working creatively and collaboratively – to find solutions to the housing shortage that are sustainable and specific to Sheffield.
- Space. New homes in South Yorkshire are amongst the smallest being built anywhere in Europe. ‘Rabbit hutch’ rooms in houses and apartments impact on resident’s health and quality of life, whether your family lives in the suburbs or you’re a student in the city centre. Meanwhile, many people are living in a house that is too large or too small. This is demonstrated by the shortage of larger family-sized homes, while others want to ‘down-size’ but can’t find a suitable place to move to. It is vital that the mix of new housing reflects the diversity of households in the city, and that sufficient space and light is provided for people to relax, eat, sleep, socialise, and store their things.
- Sustainability. Whether they are built by private developers, housing associations, the local authority, or self-builders, all new homes should be built to a decent quality and be well-insulated. Poorly designed and built homes are more expensive for owners and tenants to heat and maintain, have shorter lifespans, and are less likely to be able to be refurbished or adapted for changing households and family situations.
- Affordability. In Sheffield, house prices continue to increase faster than growth of average household incomes, fuelled in part by the shortfall in the construction of new homes. The city also has a large waiting list for Council and social Housing. Housing shortage drives social inequality and makes it more difficult for people to find their first home, but also impacts on the ability of others to move into a larger or smaller places. For the large proportion of Sheffield residents who live in private, council, or housing association rented accommodation, it is vital that rents not only remain affordable across the city, but that landlords and lettings agents continue to maintain rental properties at a decent standard to keep people safe and warm.