West Midlands Combined Authority gives £53m to Black Country LEP for brownfield clean-up projects

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has awarded £53m to a programme to help landowners and developers redevelop former industrial land in the Black Country.

The money will be put towards the first wave of works in a 364 hectare brownfield remediation programme worth £1.4 billion and designed to create more than 12,000 jobs and 13,500 new homes.

The WMCA approved the award to the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (BCLEP) at a meeting in Birmingham today (Friday March 16).

Once the initial development works are successfully completed the scheme will see further funding from the WMCA of £97m, a total investment of £150m.

Cllr Sean Coughlan, WMCA lead for land and housing and leader of Walsall, said: “This is just the start of a scheme that will fast track the transformation of brownfield land across the Black Country over the next few years.

“We have a proud heritage here in the Black Country and this is the next chapter of us working with partners to bring sites back into use.

“Land which was once home to factories will be put to commercial use and also provide much-needed homes, something which is good news for the Black Country and for the West Midlands as a whole.”

Stewart Towe, chair of the BCLEP said: “This really is fantastic news for the Black Country and our plans to continue to grow our economy.

“The Black Country Land Development programme is an important part in our transformational journey and will enable us to bring forward key sites across the Black Country, building new homes for our residents as well as developing sites identified to support our world-class manufacturing sector.”

Brownfield is land previously used for industrial or commercial purposes which can be put back into use once issues like contamination or old workings such as mineshafts have been resolved.

The £53m from the WMCA will be used over the next four years in a BCLEP long-term land remediation and development programme costing a total of £342 million.

This will establish a Black Country Garden City, a High Value Manufacturing (HVM) City and see the development of four strategic centres.

The schemes aim to deliver a total of 364 hectares of brownfield land cleaned up by 2026.

The Garden City would see housing schemes on 202 hectares of remediated land.

These include a proposed 836 new home development on 24 hectares of land at Willenhall, 700 new homes on 39 hectares in Friar Park, Sandwell, and 900 new homes on 30 hectares in Lye.

HVM City is a programme of developments on 143 hectares creating up to 25,000 jobs aimed at supporting manufacturing industry in the aerospace, automotive and construction sectors and the new supply chain opportunities arising from schemes such as HS2.

This includes sites in the Black Country Enterprise Zone, significant development sites near J10 of the M6 in Walsall which includes a former copper works and refuse tip.

Bringing these sites back into use would create up to 2,000 jobs.

The strategic centres would see just over 17 hectares remediated for various development schemes in Dudley, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, and Walsall.

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