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Refurbish, don’t demolish

Douglas Johnson 2010Dear Sir,

Waiting lists continue to spiral upwards as Sheffield missed its affordable homes target in 2008/9 by 532, with just 197 built (Star 22March). In fact, practically no new social housing has been built since 1980 and the few houses now being built are only a token. We need new housing – but it needs to be long-lasting and affordable for all. We need social housing – the private market simply does not aim to supply the housing needs of all members of society.

But new building is not the only answer. There are thousands of existing buildings that just need repairing and bringing back into use. Where we have gone wrong in Sheffield (and other cities) is to demolish huge numbers of houses that just wanted a good refurbishment, partly so as to move on a problem of anti-social behaviour and deprivation. The result
has been the break-up of entire communities, an unacceptable increase in homelessness and building sites now standing empty where the market has failed to deliver.

As a member of the Green Party, I would like to see and end to costly demolitions. I would prefer the continual repair and redevelopment of existing housing stock, working with the views of people living in them. Nationally, the Green Party proposes to remove the VAT incentive which encourages the demolition and rebuilding of perfectly sound properties.

Topics: Burngreave, City Wide, Housing