Housing and land investment delivering thousands of new homes and jobs for region
Tens of millions of pounds invested by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) in land and regeneration schemes have seen more than 12,000 jobs created and 8,000 new homes on site, most of them on disused industrial land, figures have shown.
Since the region secured its ground-breaking Housing Deal with the government in 2018, it has secured upwards of £600m to drive regeneration across the West Midlands with new housing and commercial schemes focussed predominantly on derelict or vacant urban sites, often referred to as brownfield land.
Despite two years of lockdowns and supply chain issues due to the Covid pandemic, figures released by the WMCA show a level of investment that has seen the region become a national leader in brownfield regeneration, using the funding to unlock wider benefits and outcomes for the West Midlands.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands (left) and Legal & General CEO Sir Nigel Wilson announced a partnership agreement earlier this year which saw the financial services provider committing to invest £4bn in regeneration, housing and levelling up across the West Midlands.
In addition to thousands of new homes and jobs, the region’s investments have also directly led to the construction of 3.8 million sqft of new commercial floorspace.
Last year alone saw the WMCA invest more than £100m to unlock new housing, commercial and regeneration schemes across the region.
Key projects to receive WMCA investment include:
- £6m for St Modwen’s regeneration of the once iconic West Works at the former MG Rover plant at Longbridge which is being transformed with 350 new homes and a million sqft business park
- Nearly £4m to pave the way for Lovells to build 234 homes on the site of an old foundry in Fountain Lane, Oldbury
- £1.5m for the Vistry Partnerships transformation of the former Harvestime bread factory in Walsall into a new 88 homes community
- Completion of the 151 home Saints Quarter development by Lovells on derelict land in Steelhouse Lane, Wolverhampton
The figures come as Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA leads a West Midlands delegation at the London Real Estate Forum tomorrow. The Forum brings together leaders from industry, the public sector, government and the investment and business communities to drive sustainable investment and development in cities.
The Mayor said: “As we bounce back from Covid and seek to supercharge our recovery, a key mission for our region is to meet the demand from local residents for new, affordable housing as well as for modern commercial premises for local firms to move into and expand from.
“We have set ourselves the target of building 215,000 new homes across the West Midlands by 2031 and we are also encouraging green, innovative industries to set up here to help attract the high quality, well-paid jobs of the future.
“That’s why it’s great news that these figures confirm that we’re delivering on that mission. Our results on the ground clearly show that the Government was right to place its confidence in our region to get this done. Not only are we on track with housebuilding, our brownfield first regeneration approach is also bringing acres of derelict industrial land back into use whilst helping to protect our precious green belt – with the WMCA making use of money secured from the Government to clean up, accelerate and unlock brownfield sites.
“It’s especially impressive that we have achieved these numbers despite the challenges of lockdown and it’s a testament to the hard work of WMCA colleagues and a whole host of stakeholders and partners that we have got here. I look forward to making more vital progress in the coming weeks, months and years.”
As part of its housing and regeneration programme the WMCA has been working closely with local councils and other partners to provide land, expertise, advice and financial support to transform sites and opportunities into new homes, jobs and communities.
WMCA investments are also helping to deliver more affordable housing. WMCA investments require developers to make a minimum 20% of the new homes affordable under the region’s own definition of affordability which is linked to real world local wages rather than property prices. The latest figures show that this funding clause has secured an average of over 25% in the developments invested in by the WMCA.
A number of partnership deals have also been struck with key developers and investors including St Modwen, Lovells, Urban Splash and Vistry. Earlier this year the WMCA signed a partnership agreement with L&G which has seen the financial services provider commit to investing £4bn in regeneration, housing and levelling up across the West Midlands.
A Future Housebuilding Taskforce has also been set up by the WMCA to promote and develop new, modern methods of building to deliver more high-quality, energy efficient homes at pace.
Cllr Mike Bird, WMCA portfolio lead for housing and regeneration and leader of Walsall Council, said “These figures show how our investments are already delivering on the ground yet with further funding from Whitehall we can accelerate our land, property, investment and regeneration work still further.
“This will be critical in driving private sector confidence and trust as we continue to build a sustainable economy that benefits all our communities and supports the region’s ambition to be net zero by 2041.
“That’s why more funding and powers for regeneration are a key component in our on-going talks with Government around a new trailblazing devolution deal for the region.”