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Published on Friday, 16th February 2018 in Council news news

First-time buyers, older people, and adults with support needs are to benefit from more than half a million pounds awarded by the Government to the Sheffield City Region (SCR) today.

The funding will enable Rotherham Council to provide around 120 new homes in Rotherham by demolishing and replacing two former adult care homes, Rothwell Grange in Broom and Copeland Lodge in Thurcroft, as well as Maltby Central Library, and creating new types of accommodation.

In the latest round of One Public Estate (OPE) funding, which is being combined with Land Release Fund (LRF) cash to specifically support housing developments, the SCR is set to receive £530,000 to be used to build a range of affordable homes.

These will include homes for first time buyers, and homes that will allow older people and people with support needs to continue to live independently in vibrant communities.

Work on these projects is expected to start in the coming weeks and will potentially involve using modern technology, including offsite construction, to build the homes faster.

Consultation on Rotherham Council’s most recent housing strategy showed that residents’ top priorities for new housing was homes for first time buyers and older people.

Sir Nigel Knowles, chairman of the SCR’s Local Enterprise Board, said today: “This is a creative way to provide better services and accommodation for older people and those who need support.

“This funding also means that work can start much more quickly than would otherwise have been the case, and I am delighted that we have been able to help support this project.

“Our approach is simple, straightforward and pragmatic. In Sheffield City Region we grab each opportunity and make the most of it.”

Cllr Dominic Beck, Cabinet Member for Housing at Rotherham Council, said: “The link between housing and good health and wellbeing is undeniable so it’s crucial that we are working in partnership to provide homes that are affordable and fit for purpose in thriving neighbourhoods.

“As a council we have committed to provide 14,000 new homes that meet the needs of our residents over the next seven years and this funding will help us deliver on this commitment.”

The OPE/LRF funding will be used to appoint a project officer for two years to manage both schemes and then share the learning from these projects to support other initiatives across Sheffield City Region.

The Government’s national One Public Estate (OPE) programme enables public sector bodies such as local authorities, the health, fire, police and rail services, to think strategically about the best use of the land and buildings they own and identify and deliver a range of improvements including releasing land for housing.

By working together, public bodies may be able to improve services through integrating health and social care, save on running costs, generate income, and unlock land for new homes and commercial space.

The new allocation to Sheffield City Region will release land for housing, help create 480 jobs and generate almost £13million in inward investment, raise almost £4million in capital, and cut running costs by more than £800,000.

The SCR’s Joint Assets Board (JAB) – the first of its kind in the country - won the funding in the latest round of the heavily over-subscribed OPE programme.

The Board includes the nine local authorities of the SCR, central Government departments, the health and care services, police, and rail, and looks at public sector service delivery in the city region from an asset management perspective.

In the previous rounds of OPE funding, cash has been allocated to a range of projects including the Rotherham Town Centre Masterplan which aims to transform Rotherham town centre.

It includes the transformation of Forge Island, the large empty area in the centre of Rotherham, into a major leisure destination including a new cinema, a quality hotel, and food and drink outlets.

It will also provide more than 350 high quality riverside homes, offering buyers spacious, well-designed waterfront living at competitive prices, and open up Rotherham’s outdoor market.

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