A city council is planning to reduce the rents for over 39,000 of its homes, as well as invest millions of pounds to ensure they are well-maintained.
The plans are part of Sheffield City Council’s annual review of its Housing Revenue Account (HRA) business plan, which it says has been put together by working closely with tenants and residents.
As well as the rent reductions, which will be in line with the national rent policy for rent-setting, the proposals outline how the council will deliver on its key priorities and invest in tenants’ homes and surrounding estates. A sum of £400 million is earmarked to ensure that they are well maintained over the next five years.
The investment programme sets out a continued priority for delivering improvements to kitchens, bathrooms, windows, doors, roofs and communal areas. Investment in additional fire safety works, including sprinklers and fire stopping works, is also included, along with improved recycling facilities.
“We are pleased that we will be able to build more quality, safe and affordable homes as a result of the lifting of the Housing Revenue Account cap,” said Councillor Jim Steinke, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety.
“We will be working closely with tenants and leaseholders to develop our plans over the coming year to make sure that we get the balance right between improving our existing stock, improving the environment and, building the type of homes we need to meet the ever growing demand for a council home.
“We want to build homes of the right size and type in the right places to make sure we are meeting increased demand for social rented and specialist homes in the city in the right way. It will be important for the Government to give councils across the country what they need so that they can build truly affordable homes for social rent.”
As well as investing in existing homes, the council is also looking to exploit the Government’s decision to lift the HRA borrowing cap to boost its newbuild programme. This will involve building 1,600 new homes and acquiring new homes.
The plan is to be presented for approval by the council’s cabinet at a meeting tomorrow. If approved, the authority says it will “continue to adopt a proactive approach to managing the city’s neighbourhoods, supporting tenants affected by welfare reform changes and re-shaping the repairs service”.