Telegraph View: Whose future view matters?

David Walsh Business Round Table with Nancy Fielder
David Walsh Business Round Table with Nancy Fielder

There are many reasons why Sheffield needs more homes.

Experts are warning that urgent action is needed to tackle a problem that is heading our way at breakneck speed.

Bringing that back home this week, if the leaders charged with moving Sheffield City Region forward had all been in their 20s would we have had a different decision?

As is so often the case, if we don’t solve it now, it is those who follow us that will be left to pay the price.

It must be frustrating for the younger generations who can’t afford a house and feel they will unlikely to ever be able to get out of that situation. We can blame under-staffed planning departments, a population that is growing too quickly and a lack of land, but something needs to be done.

It seems incredibly unlikely that our region will boast an extra 50,000 new homes by the time it needs to – in fact virtually impossible according to the people we spoke to this week.

So who is suffering here?

Young families seem to be top of the list and what scene does that set for the children involved?

That is what we need to be asking if we are ever going to look at the wider impact of poor, inadequate and general lack of housing.

Accusations of disengaged youth are easy to throw but rather pointless.

It is definitely time those in power tried to see things through the eyes of the only people who will be affected by today’s decisions in the much longer term.

It is widely accepted that age played a huge role in how we all voted during the Brexit referendum.

Bringing that back home this week, if the leaders charged with moving Sheffield City Region forward had all been in their 20s would we have had a different decision? Don’t take that as patronising, it is just something to ponder. I’m not about to get into the experience vs youthful enthusiasm debate. Perhaps it wouldn’t really make a difference.

One thing is for sure though, in the future everyone will still need homes and it is down to us, now, to make sure the problem is merely historical.