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WMCA strikes £350m government housing deal

The West Midlands has committed to deliver 215,000 homes by 2030-31 in a deal with the chancellor and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

Philip Hammond announced the £350m deal, which will be facilitated by a £100m grant from the Land Remediation Fund, in his Spring Statement today.

The housing deal includes approval for the £250m West Midlands bid into the Housing Infrastructure Fund, which will move to the next round of development with the government.

Development of priority sites will be supported by the funding, including the Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village and associated development in the Perry Barr area of Birmingham, UK Central development at Balsall Common in Solihull, and Coventry Ring Road Junction 7.

The deal will also include a commitment from the 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 support for the creation of a new Centre of Excellence for Brownfield Remediation and Construction Skills in Wolverhampton.

The £100m land fund will be used to buy and clean up land around priority sites, focusing on the Walsall to Wolverhampton corridor, to deliver 8,000 homes.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), said: “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.”

He continued: “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.”

Sean Coughlan, leader of Walsall Council and the WMCA’s lead on housing and land, added: “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.”

Hammond and housing minister Dominic Raab are working with 44 local authorities who have bid into the £4.1bn Housing Infrastructure Fund, to unlock homes in areas of high demand.

They are concluding deals with “ambitious” authorities that have agreed to deliver above their Local Housing Need.

Further announcements on the Housing Infrastructure Fund will be made by Raab over the coming days.

The size of the Housing Growth Partnership with Lloyds Banking Group is going to double to £220m in order to provide additional finance for small builders, and London is to receive an additional £1.7bn to deliver a further 26,000 affordable homes, including homes for social rent, which the Chancellor said will take total affordable housing delivery in the capital to over 116,000 by the end of 2021-22.

Top image: Empato

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