Sunderland’s housing development summit attracted a packed house of developers and housing professionals to Bede Tower to discuss far-reaching housing plans for the city this month.
The city’s newly-published five-year housing strategy and the emerging Core Strategy and Development Plan both set out challenging housing targets and record recent achievements.
Between 2014-2017, 2,320 new houses were built in Sunderland, compared to 1,201 in the previous three years. The city is ranked in the top five per cent of local authorities for the quality of the living environment, and 91% of residents are satisfied with their current accommodation.
The local plan aims to deliver an estimated 13,800 needed in Sunderland by 2033, and develop the city as an attractive and sustainable place to live, with an emphasis on quality of life, community wellbeing and local character.
The housing development summit was launched by Coun Graeme Miller, Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Health, Housing and Adult Services, to housing developers, investors and social landlords.
Coun Miller said: “It’s great that so many of our partners took the time to take part in this important event. We know how important it is to provide a great range of housing across the city and we aim to build on the current housing developments to increase the quality of life for residents and businesses alike.
“Our housing strategy sets out our priorities for the next five years, which are to increase the range of housing available to all, make the most of current stock and improve neighbourhoods, and support vulnerable people’s housing needs.
“It was useful to discuss these priorities with housing professionals who have invested in our city, and who care about its regeneration and future health as a place to enjoy life.”
Les Clark, chief operating officer for economy and place at Sunderland City Council, said: “We are currently discussing the content of the city’s Local Plan which will shape the city for the next decade and beyond.
“Currently more than 40,000 employees commute into the city, and we would like there to be more opportunities for people to live and work in the city, to cut down on commuting and broaden the choice of housing available to residents. Events such as this housing summit help us get the views of people who understand the city’s housing needs well.”
Among those at the event was Miller Homes’ director, Alan Davies.
He said: “Sunderland’s housing summit is a really useful event for us as partners, which gives us all up to date information about housing plans, so that we know what opportunities exist for future housing in the city, and the areas of the city in which housebuilders will have the chance to provide the right homes to enhance the city and attract homeowners.
“A strong range of housing creates new life and dynamism in a city, and Sunderland’s Housing Strategy has some aspirational ideas for the future of the city’s housing.”
The housing summit also discussed affordable housing, and housing opportunities for vulnerable groups and older people, and delivery of housing targets.