West Midlands secures £33m of new government funding
The West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) strong track record of delivery has seen it secure a further £33m of government funding to accelerate its trailblazing brownfield regeneration programme, creating new homes, jobs and communities.
After exceeding key targets set by government, the WMCA has received the new funding from the Brownfield Housing Fund (BHF). It is the second tranche of money it has secured through the initiative.
Altogether £84m in BHF funding has been earmarked by government for the WMCA over a three-year period, with the aim of unlocking 7,500 new homes across the region.
The funding will help the WMCA in achieving its ambitious target of building the 215,000 new homes the West Midlands will need by 2031
However, to trigger each tranche the WMCA must achieve a series of stringent delivery targets focused on ensuring its programme is on track and will deliver on the fund’s aims, securing wider benefits such as affordable housing and design quality in the process.
The £33m will be focused on site clearance and remediation of ‘difficult to deliver’ brownfield sites to secure the delivery of high-quality new homes and jobs.
The WMCA’s brownfield regeneration programme has helped unlock the region’s most challenging sites, some of which had remained vacant and stalled for decades. The first tranche of £33m funding received in May 2021 is already helping to kick-start homes across the region including at Culwell Street in Wolverhampton.
This next tranche will support a diverse range of housing and regeneration projects – from the restoration and conversion of unique heritage buildings into new homes in town centres to mixed use developments around key transport hubs and major brownfield housing projects.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “This fresh injection of £33m from the Brownfield Housing Fund is a huge vote of confidence in the West Midlands and our ability to deliver on our promises.
“Developing homes and creating new communities on brownfield land has been one of the region’s real success stories of recent years, and we will now be able to keep up our momentum thanks to this latest funding.
“By using government cash to clean-up derelict industrial land we’ve helped create thousands of new homes and jobs, whilst also protecting our precious and irreplaceable greenbelt.”
Cllr Mike Bird, WMCA portfolio holder for housing and land and leader of Walsall Council, added: “The funding approval is testimony to the capability, ambitions and robustness of the WMCA’s brownfield regeneration programme.
“More importantly, it will give us greater freedom and the ability to set out funding criteria to deliver the best outcomes for the West Midlands – from our own definition of affordability to commitments towards inclusive growth and Advanced Methods of Construction (AMC).
“The funding is vital to leveraging private sector investment and demonstrating market confidence. Throughout the programme, the WMCA has established itself as a trusted partner for investors and nationally leading housebuilders and developers to deliver high-quality homes.
“We continue to exceed our housing starts target for this funding, with more applications and expressions of interest being received each week.”
The WMCA is committed to breathing new life into former industrial sites to create sustainable neighbourhoods and thriving communities, while providing much needed housing to the region. The funding will help the WMCA in achieving its ambitious target of building the 215,000 new homes the West Midlands will need by 2031.
The WMCA investment also requires at least 20% of the new homes to be classed as affordable under the combined authority’s own definition of affordability which is linked to real-world local wages rather than property prices.
The speedy deployment of central government funding for housing delivery has been made possible by the WMCA’s innovative Single Commissioning Framework. Launched in September 2019, the framework provides a single set of criteria that will be applied to all housing projects in the region, including requirements on affordable housing, design and modular construction.
This funding announcement is the latest in a series of funding awards, including the £350m Housing Deal for the West Midlands housing delivery programme and reflects government confidence in the region’s strong track record on delivering affordable, quality homes at scale and pace.