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West Midlands Levelling Up Growth Prospectus

Housing & Regeneration

The Challenge

The current housing system means we can’t invest in homes, commercial property and high streets, heritage assets, parks and public spaces, and vital infrastructure in the way we need to, if we’re to make a difference to local standards of living. 

One of the main challenges is building more affordable homes, which would help to transform the lives of many of our residents.

We want to continue to be a leading region for net additions to housing stock, alongside wanting residents and businesses to thrive, so our focus must be wider than on housing numbers alone.

We face complex barriers in the current funding system; a more flexible, place-based approach for the West Midlands is key to tackling these. 

The Prize

Our vision for change requires capacity and flexibility, underpinned by long-term certainty of funding. This will allow us to invest in a way that that is not only measured by housing targets.

It will improve living standards, transport connectivity, and wellbeing, connecting people to thriving local economies and places that are a pleasure to be in. This will provide further confidence to potential investors and show the West Midlands as an excellent investment prospect. 

We want to invest locally in affordable housing, infrastructure and local places that will help the West Midlands communities that need it the most.

Progress So Far…

We already have a pioneering brownfield regeneration programme, including sites that have historically been considered too complex and difficult to deliver. This demonstrates the strength and aptitude for regeneration in the West Midlands, and includes:

  1. Innovating on key policy areas (e.g. new affordable housing definition) 
  2. Collaborating across 17 Local Council Areas 
  3. Working with business and investors 
  4. Deploying Government funding at serious pace and scale 
  5. Showcasing our potential to go even further 

Importantly, it’s also demonstrated our credibility and commitment to Whitehall that this is a region at the forefront of brownfield regeneration — our proposals only seek to build upon the strong progress we have made so far.

We’ve supported local areas to drive growth and unlock their wider economic, social and wellbeing potential.

Renters will have a secure path to ownership with the number of first-time buyers increasing in all areas; and the government’s ambition is for the number of non-decent rented homes to have fallen by 50%, with the biggest improvements in the lowest performing areas.

Our Proposal:

A Flexible & Innovative Funding Regime

A pioneering Single Regeneration Fund/Funding Package to maximise opportunities and investment in supporting brownfield first and town centre regeneration through placemaking, regeneration, housing supply and infrastructure delivery - de-risking stalled and challenging housing, mixed-use and commercial development sites across the region.

Affordable Housing 

Building on our landmark affordable housing definition and minimum affordable housing target, our ask is to secure a bold funding package to work in partnership with local and national partners to support affordable housing delivery.

Levelling Up Investment Zones

Government support and endorsement for local designation of dedicated Investment Zones that build on the 2022 Investment Prospectus – to maximise coordinated public and private sector investment, support local accountability, and achieve transformational ‘levelling up’ by making available a suite of regeneration, fiscal and financial mechanisms and flexibilities. 

Land Reform Programme 

Government support, backing and endorsement for WMCA delivering the Housing & Land Delivery Board’s Public Land Charter, including a bold approach to tackling fragmented land ownership; the region by default having a major say over any HMG land disposals in our region; and a regional testbed for a new approach to best value and more effective regime for disposal of public land sites.

What We Hope to Achieve

These proposals will unlock placemaking, regeneration and investment through high quality commercial, mixed-use and housing schemes.

This will result in more affordable, better designed and more efficient homes, integrated into inclusive and well-connected development and regeneration schemes. This in turn will benefit the region, by: 

  • Boosting productivity and living standardsby growing the private sector, especially inthose places where they are lagging;
  • Spreading opportunities and improvingpublic services, especially in those areaswhere they are weakest;
  • Restoring a sense of community, local prideand belonging, especially in those placeswhere they have been lost;
  • Empowering local leaders andcommunities, especially in those placeslacking local agency.

In 2021 alone we deployed £100m+ to invest in:

  • Commercial
  • Housing
  • Regeneration

schemes which prioritised brownfield sites.