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£41m for West Midlands housing

Words: Laura Edgar
New housing / Shutterstock_509223637

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has secured £41 million to help ‘unlock’ former industrial land for housing.

The funding is part of a £350 million housing deal agreed between the WMCA and the government last year.

The region has increased housebuilding by 30 per cent, with numbers rising from 11,288 in 2014/15 to 14,628 in 2017/18. The majority of these new homes are being built on derelict industrial sites.

The first housing development on brownfield land to be delivered through the £41 million Land Fund is Cable Street / Steelhouse Lane in Wolverhampton, with further sites to follow in Walsall, Willenhall, Coseley and Solihull.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said that the latest funding " will enable us to continue to buy and clean-up derelict sites that would otherwise lie vacant".

“We can then sell the sites on or develop them in partnership with house builders, making sure the new homes are affordable, well-designed and energy efficient.”

The region has a target of building 215,000 new homes by 2031 to meet its future housing and economic needs. The WMCA want the majority of them to be on brownfield land.

The cash will pay for remediation of the land, the combined authority said.

Minimum standards of affordability, design and energy efficiency will be laid out for developers that buy the site, it added.

Mike Bird, WMCA portfolio lead for housing and land and the leader of Walsall Council, explained: “The West Midlands has a vast amount of former industrial land crying out for redevelopment and we see this as an asset.

“By using it for new homes we can relieve pressure on the green belt and help protect our environment for future generations while providing them with a decent and affordable home.

“So this latest payment should be seen as a ringing endorsement by government of our ‘brownfield first’ policy.”

Image credit | Shutterstock