YORKSHIRE councils are asking the Government to back efforts to fast-track the building of hundreds of homes on brownfield land in the region.
Sheffield and Rotherham councils are bidding to set up one of 30 ‘housing zones’ the Government wants to see created across the country.
Ministers want the housing zones to be areas where developers are encouraged to build on brownfield sites - land previously used for development - through the relaxation of planning rules.
If the bid is successful, the two authorities will also have the chance to secure a share of around £200 million in funding the Government is making available.
Successful bidders will also be given the ability to borrow money at lower interest rates to support the development.
The two councils estimate as many as 4,500 homes could be built on brownfield sites in the Lower Don Valley area which is also the focus of efforts to attract new businesses.
The bid from Rotherham and Sheffield has been submitted as councils across the region try and balance the need to provide land for thousands of new homes with residents’ demand for protection of greenbelt and green field areas.
Developers have historically argued that the costs associated with brownfield land make it harder to use previously developed land for housing.
The Government hopes the money it is making available will be used for demolition and other work to remove barriers to land being developed.
A spokesman for Sheffield City Council said: “We are able to confirm that Sheffield City Council has submitted a joint Housing Zone bid with Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.
“The bid is for Housing Zone status and aims to increase house building in the Lower Don Valley Corridor.
“The zone was chosen because of its proximity to the Enterprise Zone and future job opportunities.
“Sites in the area provide the potential for almost 4,500 additional homes, which will be well connected to jobs and services via excellent established and planned transport links.
“The bid acknowledges the common issues and opportunities shared across the local authority boundary in the Don Valley area, as well as the impetus generated by the new Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in which both councils are active partners.”
It is estimated that across the country there is brownfield land that could be used for up to 200,000 new homes.
Councils across the region are drawing up local plans which set out where development will take place in the coming years.
Kirklees, Sheffield and York are among the areas which have seen fierce debates over the number of new homes needed and where they should be located.
Leeds is expected to set out details next month of where thousands of new homes will be built over the next 15 years.
The Government said yesterday changes to rules governing housing standards coming into force next year would save developers and councils £96 million.
Other housing regulation changes will deliver the Government’s promise to reduce the right to buy qualifying time for council tenants from five years to three.