New project to build houses

Deputy leader of the council, Denise Jeffery, outside the former Ings House care home in Kinsley.
Deputy leader of the council, Denise Jeffery, outside the former Ings House care home in Kinsley.

A MULTI-million pound project could see almost 200 affordable homes being built in the Express area.

Wakefield Council’s cabinet will consider a report on Tuesday that recommends building 535 properties across the district, including 185 in Hemsworth, South Elmsall and the surrounding areas, before 2015.

This would compromise of 68 in two phases on Westfield Lane, South Elmsall, 26 on Kirkbygate and 14 on Holly Street, both in Hemsworth, 20 on the site of Ings House, Ings Road, Kinsley, 37 on Madeley Road, Havercroft, seven on West Street, South Kirkby, five on Westfield Crescent, Ryhill, and four on Wood Street, South Hiendley.

The programme has been developed in partnership with Wakefield District Housing (WDH) - which is putting £50m into the district - and registered housing providers Chevin, Riverside and Yorkshire Housing.

The report also recommends selling eight council-owned sites across the district, including land at Mill Lane, South Kirkby, Kirkbygate, Hemsworth, Harewood Road, Upton, and Madeley Road, Havercroft, to provide space for 147 of the homes, which could raise £450,000 for Wakefield Council.

A further £51,450 could be raised through a government scheme that pays local authorities for every affordable home built on council land.

Coun Denise Jeffery, deputy leader with responsibility for regeneration and economic growth, said recent changes in government policy, including a reduction in grants, had made the provision of affordable housing much more challenging but the council and its partners were committed to providing opportunities for people in need of housing.

She said: “We know there is a pressing need for more affordable homes in the district and we are drawing up plans to meet that need.

“To help achieve our aims, we are selling off eight council-owned sites and while we may not get the highest price in the current climate, we will be enabling house building, which will make a very positive contribution to the local economy, regenerating and improving neighbourhoods.”

“We are also encouraging our registered providers to work with communities to develop skills and training opportunities. These are difficult financial times for us all, but I am pleased that we have a robust programme which looks ahead and makes the most of the resources we have available.”

Kevin Dodd, chief executive of WDH, said: “WDH is looking to put an additional £50 million of investment into the Wakefield district to meet the council’s new homes ambitions.”

See next week’s Express for the council’s decision.