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Chancellor springs long-awaited housing deal

Chancellor springs long-awaited housing deal

🕔13.Mar 2018

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, may be working hard to promote the region in the south of France (well, someone has to) but he was among the first to comment on the Housing Deal announced by Government as part of the Spring Statement, reports Kevin Johnson

The package of £350 million of new Government funding will support the delivery of new homes in the West Midlands.

The Housing Deal includes approval for the £250 million West Midlands bid into the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) which will move to the next round of development with Government.

The funding will deliver infrastructure to support the development of priority sites including:

  • The Commonwealth Games Athletes’ village and associated development in the Perry Barr area of Birmingham
  • Greater Icknield and Smethwick in Birmingham and Sandwell
  • Kings Hill, Westwood Heath and Coventry Ring Road Junction 7 in Coventry
  • UK Central development at Balsall Common in Solihull

The Housing Deal will also include:

  • A Land Fund of £100M to buy and clean up land around priority sites, focused on the Walsall to Wolverhampton corridor, to deliver at least 8,000 homes
  • Commitment from Government to work with Housing Associations on new ways to finance and build affordable housing to rent or buy in the West Midlands
  • A new Joint Delivery Team with Homes England which will ensure homes are delivered on time, and which will develop a new “pipeline” of high-priority sites to be developed
  • Support for the creation of a new Centre of Excellence for Brownfield Remediation and Construction Skills in Wolverhampton, which will research new methods of construction such as modular housing, and provide construction skills training in the Black Country.
  • A £100 million funding boost to the West Midlands for a housing package to support the mayor’s ambitious target of delivering 215,000 homes by 2030 to 2031.

The funding, which will help acquire land and prepare it for housing as well as increasing density, recognises the Mayor’s commitment to deliver an increase of nearly 16,000 homes a year and ensure that all local authorities in the area have local plans in place by the end of 2019 according to the Government.

Housing shortfall down but challenge remains

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government – headed by Bromsgrobe MP Sajid Javid – will be taking the Housing Infrastructure Fund Forward Funding bid for Housing Growth Areas including the Commonwealth Games site at Perry Barr through to co-development – the next stage of the competitive HIF process.

This Housing Deal is the first step in an “ambitious programme” of joint work and investment between the West Midlands and Government to deliver 215,000 new homes by 2031, says the WMCA.

This will involve an increase in delivery to nearly 16,000 homes a year from an average of 10,000 over the last three years.

Sean Coughlan, leader of Walsall Council and the WMCA’s lead on housing and land, said:

We have worked hard with Government to secure a further deal for the people of the West Midlands, building on our existing funding devolved to deliver new homes and jobs for local people. This latest investment will enable us to intervene to make things happen quicker.

As our economy continues to go from strength to strength, our population will increase so we will need to build more homes in the right places and ensure communities have access to employment.

This deal will give us more tools to work with our partners and use innovative techniques to ensure delivery.

It will also regenerate derelict brownfield land first as set out in our local development plans, such as the Walsall – Wolverhampton corridor.

So this deal is a great start as we continue to work with Government to secure what we need to deliver our housing ambitions.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, added:

As the centre of the UK’s economic growth, housing has been one of the key priorities for the West Midlands. Therefore the Housing Deal, announced today by Government, is a huge milestone for the West Midlands.

Everybody acknowledges the housing challenges we face in this country. We have been clear with Government that here in the West Midlands we are a key part of the solution.

This funding will see tens of millions of pounds invested to remediate brownfield sites, of which our region has many, to build homes and install the infrastructure required to accommodate growth, helping to relieve pressure on our Green Belt.

Crucially, this investment provides funding to deliver the Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village as well as a host of sites in Coventry, Solihull and the Black Country.

In total, we aim to build 215,000 new homes by 2031 – a challenging target but one that will make a real difference to people in the West Midlands.

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