Rotherham’s Labour Councillors have this week set out plans for the biggest sustained investment in new council homes in the borough for more than forty years – with the objective of building 1,000 new, high quality and affordable council homes for local residents.
A report due to be considered by the Council’s Cabinet on 23 December sets out plans for a £130 million investment in new homes, which should deliver nearly 800 new council homes for rent, and more than 100 new shared ownership properties, by 2025.
Cllr Dominic Beck, Labour’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said that it shouldn’t be seen as the limit of the ambition:
“Over the last few years, we have made building new council homes a real priority. We know that thousands of residents want the security of a council tenancy, many of whom aren’t able to afford to buy outright, or who have had difficulties with long term rents in the private sector.
The first bricks have already been laid – in Maltby, Dinnington, Rawmarsh and East Herringthorpe – with a handful of properties completed. But now we are able to make a much bigger commitment, to nearly 800 properties over the planning period to 2025, on our way to a total of one thousand before the end of the decade.”
Rotherham has a proud history of council housing, and with more than 1 in 6 properties in the borough still rented from the borough it remains a critically important part of many people’s lives. Twice as many people rely on council housing in Rotherham than the average in other parts of the country.
But since the Conservative government increased incentives around Right to Buy back in 2012, the number of properties being sold from council stock has increased from single digits to nearly 200 each year. Over time, those sales deplete the availability of affordable properties for rent.
Local people have priority access to Rotherham Council housing stock under the council’s local connections policy. The average rent for a council property next year will be £74.27 per week. The most recent official government statistics suggested that the average weekly private rent in Rotherham was around £115.
Cllr Dominic Beck has also said: “Access to good quality, affordable housing is a vital part of a local economy and a local community that works for everyone. That’s why we are drawing on one of Rotherham’s historic success stories to inspire our plan for the future.
For us as Labour councillors, building the homes that people need, and at a price that they can afford, is an important part of our plan for the coming years.”