Cash boost for empty buildings across South Yorkshire

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Empty homes and shops across Sheffield, Barnsley and Doncaster are set to get a new lease of life thanks to millions of pounds in funding.

South Yorkshire has been awarded a slice of a £91 million grant to bring derelict or unused homes and retail units across the UK back into use following a successful bid.

The organisation Action Housing and Support has been given £80,000 for the transformation of eight units in Sheffield, while Barnsley Council’s grant of almost £500,000 will be spread between 22 empty buildings.

In Doncaster, the council will have £839,000 to create 47 homes from existing premises.

The cash is part of Communities Minister Don Foster’s plan to refurbish areas which have been hardest hit by squatting, rat infestation and collapsing house prices as a result of rotting properties.

He said: “The Government is doing everything possible to tackle the problem of empty homes and urban blight. We’re going to do even more, with towns across England benefiting from £91m to refurbish over 6,000 empty properties to get them back into use.

“This will bring people, shops and jobs back to once abandoned areas, and provide extra affordable homes we so badly need.”

The Government said it aims to make neighbourhoods which have been branded ‘no-go areas’ – usually among the most deprived – a welcoming prospect for househunters once again.

Mr Foster said: “We have made progress but with thousands of people in this country desperate to buy a home and areas still suffering problems of urban blight we must go further still.”

It is hoped the cash boost is a step in the right direction in solving Sheffield’s affordable housing crisis.

In February The Star reported there are 90,000 people on the council house waiting list with the city’s population set to soar by 10 per cent in the next decade.