The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has today (Friday February 28) announced a multi-million pound funding deal to transform the former Caparo steelworks in Walsall into a 252-home community.
The funding means the derelict 16.5 acre site, which has been an eyesore for local people for more than a decade, can now be cleaned up and made ready for redevelopment.
The WMCA will also provide expert support in tackling the land remediation and other issues on the site so that much-needed new housing and industrial land close to Walsall town centre can be brought forward by the developers.
From left: Stuart Penn, regional managing director for Lovell, Cllr Mike Bird, leader of Walsall Council and WMCA portfolio holder for housing, Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street and Duncan Smith, commercial director of whg
The deal is just the latest in the WMCA’s extensive programme to unlock stalled and challenging brownfield sites.
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said: “It is great to see another derelict brownfield site being brought back into use for much needed new housing thanks to the WMCA.
“Not only will this scheme help to further ease pressure on the greenbelt in the Black Country, but it will also help increase the number of affordable homes being built across the region.
“The funding deal requires developer Anthem Lovell to make at least 20% of the new homes affordable and it’s excellent they have chosen to exceed that and go for 30% instead.”
Cllr Mike Bird, WMCA portfolio holder for Housing and Land and leader of Walsall Council added: “Caparo’s regeneration is a symbol of the direct intervention the WMCA is making as part of a housing and land programme that is leading the way nationally.
“Breathing new life into this site in this way is just the latest boost to the region's drive to build enough homes to meet future demand.”
The scheme is being developed by Anthem Lovell LLP, a joint venture between local housing association whg and Lovell Partnership. The project received funding from the WMCA Housing Land Fund and working closely with the WMCA will create a well-balanced mixed tenure development supplying 78 affordable homes for local people, showcasing the WMCA’s pledge to include a minimum affordable housing provision of 20% on every site it intervenes in.
Stuart Penn, regional managing director at Lovell, said: We’re thrilled to be working collaboratively with the WMCA to deliver multi-tenure communities at both scale and pace, which will help to address the shortage of high-quality homes across the West Midlands, where this partnership will see 4,000 brand-new homes delivered in the next eight years.”
whg’s group chief executive, Gary Fulford, added: “We are always looking at new and creative ways to tackle the housing shortage and the development of the former Caparo site in Walsall will provide more good quality and affordable homes for families in Walsall. This has been made possible by working in partnership with WMCA.”
A reserved matters planning application for the 252-home scheme was recently submitted and a decision is expected by the summer. The project will also create local jobs and 15 apprenticeships during construction.
The former steelworks site will be transformed into quality new build homes, helping to uplift the overall quality of housing in the area.
The development will provide a mix of housing types, including private homes for sale and rent and affordable housing, both shared ownership and affordable rent.
Dwelling types include one and two bedroom apartments for the over 55s, as well as two, three and four bedroomed houses.
The Caparo development is another example of the WMCA’s new Single Commissioning Framework and its brownfield regeneration programme.
Launched last year, Lovell is the first WMCA commissioned partner under the Single Commissioning Framework, which guides decision making on a series of housing and land investment funds.
Its aim is to increase the supply of developable land for large-scale derelict or underutilised properties and ensure schemes support wider inclusive growth through measures such as affordable housing and local apprenticeships.
Access to the funding for the Caparo site was provided by Frontier Development Capital Ltd, which works closely with the WMCA to invest in property developments that support economic growth in the West Midlands.
Nick Oakley, Head of Property Investments at Frontier Development Capital, commented: “We are delighted to be working alongside Lovell Homes and arranging the WMCA funding to accelerate redevelopment of this former industrial site. The development will deliver much needed quality affordable homes for local families.”