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State of the Region 2020 Full Report

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Across the WM 7 Met. area the percentage of the local authority designated as Green Belt land varies from 67% in Solihull down to 12% in Wolverhampton which is the only local authority below the England average of 13%. 

Overall, for the WMCA, the 2019 election results for turnout (the number of valid votes cast as a proportion of the electorate) is 63.1%, this is below the UK average of 67.3%. Compared to 2017, the turnout has decreased from 65.6% for the WMCA. 

There were 5,564 reported traffic collisions in the WM 7 Met. area in 2018, this has decreased by 5.0% (-291) since 2017. 

In 2018/19 there was a total of 3,822 additional affordable dwellings completions across the WMCA, this has increased by 353 when compared to 2017/18. There were also 1,960 additional affordable rented dwelling completions in 2018/19 which has increased by 238 since 2018/19. 

There are 1.36 households in temporary accommodation in the WM region compared to 2.66 per 100,000 households nationally. Birmingham is worst at 5.47. 9% of homes in Birmingham are classed as overcrowded –the second highest rates in the UK) 

Children and Young People with a care experience In the West Midlands region overall, 82 children per 100,000 (10,560 children) are in care –this is higher than the national average of 65 per 100,000 . 20.3% of Children in low income families in WM region (224,965 children) versus 17% nationally. In the West Midlands region overall, 82 children per 100,000 (10,560 children) have had an experience of care. At a local Authority level this varies Birmingham (67 per 100,000); Coventry (89 per 100,000); Dudley (95 per 100,000); Sandwell(109 per 100,000); Solihull(90 per 1000,000); Walsall(90 per 100,000) and Wolverhampton(102 per 100,000)

Percentage of population within 300/900m of a park, public garden or playing field

Source: Ordnance Survey 2020




Mixed/multiple ethnic groups

Asian/Asian British

Black/African/Caribbean/Black British

Other ethnic groups













Housing and Regeneration Case Study

In the West Midlands, there are over 200,000 jobs in construction, alongside considerably more in related professional, support and specialist services.  In recent years, the urban renaissance in the region has seen major investment in key infrastructure such as HS2, new employment opportunities create, facilities for the Commonwealth Games delivered, a national reputation for brownfield regeneration achieved and a record increase nationally in the number of new homes delivered each year. Covid19 has placed some significant challenges on that positive trajectory. Viability was already a challenge on development sites (especially brownfield sites) hence the need for major public sector investment and intervention, town centres in our region were facing significant retail voids and declining rents and housing affordability was a growing challenge.

In response to the emerging impacts of the pandemic, the WMCAs Housing and Land Delivery Board commissioned a review of the Portfolio’s business plan to revise, refine and renew the work programme that includes town centres, advanced methods of construction, housing delivery, affordable housing, industry diversity, brownfield regeneration, public-private partnerships, the disposal and development of public land and alignment between transport and real estate.

To inform this work we have established two working groups of our existing stakeholder forums and round tables to co-develop and shape our portfolio recovery planning work, providing critical evidence and market intelligence and ensuring we have key business and public sector engagement throughout. One is a working group of lead regeneration and housing officials of our local councils, LEPs and Homes England; the second is a working group of lead real estate investors, housing associations and developers from our Commercial Property Forum we operate jointly with the British Property Federation. 

We are also working very closely with and seeking advice, ideas and sounding from the Overview and Scrutiny housing group, LEPs, the British Property Federation, the wider real estate and property community and our expert taskforces such as the AMC (Advanced Methods of Construction) taskforce and the Town Centre Taskforce led by Jon Bramwell of HSBC.

This engagement is critical to understanding the emerging picture for housing and regeneration in the region, providing insight and evidence to inform our collective response and ongoing recovery work.  Some of the key themes that have emerged throughout this engagement include:

  • Market demand for housing post-lockdown, including types of homes and tenures
  • Impact on investor confidence, acquisitions and schemes being brought forward 
  • Future demand for commercial office space, retail units and town/urban centre locations
  • The impact on local authority resources, prioritisation and capacity 
  • The need for timely, local evidence to inform policy and decision making

This work is ongoing and will be crucial to identifying and understanding the key emerging trends in the emerging post-lockdown environment, as the West Midlands looks to regain the momentum seen pre-pandemic.