Many more derelict industrial sites across the region are to be transformed into attractive new developments providing hundreds of new homes and jobs for local people after the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) was awarded more than £51m.
A total of £24m from the Government’s £40m National Brownfield Housing Fund has been won by the WMCA as part of a competition involving eight of the nation’s combined authorities.
The Government has also confirmed that the region’s strong performance over recent months in delivering new homes and jobs both at scale and pace meant it was handing over a further £27m from the Land Fund agreed in the region’s landmark 2018 Housing Deal.
The redevelopment of brownfield land at Icknield Port Loop in Edgbaston is just one of a number of former industrial sites that are being transformed with the help of WMCA funding
The money will continue the extensive work that the WMCA has been leading to breathe fresh life into neglected brownfield land. This has seen stalled sites unlocked for development and an acceleration in the delivery of new housing schemes, including more affordable homes, and the construction of commercial properties for job creating businesses to move into.
The new funding award will now drive forward significant regeneration schemes across the region including the former MG Rover site at Longbridge and other brownfield projects.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “That we’ve managed to secure more than half of the National Brownfield Housing Fund that was designed to be for eight combined authorities across the country shows the strength of our bid, our excellent delivery record, and our expertise in unlocking challenging sites.
“The £24m comes on top of the £27m we have also been awarded as part of the latest payment from our 2018 Land Fund, meaning the West Midlands received £51m of the £67m announced by the Government. This shows how supportive the Government is of our work as we look to continue to regenerate old derelict industrial land – such as the former MG Rover site in Longbridge.
“With a further £60m of already-announced housing money also confirmed to be on its way to the West Midlands in the coming weeks, the New Year has the potential to be a very good one for our future housing plans. We must keep up the momentum as housebuilding and brownfield land remediation will have a key part to play in our economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.”
The Mayor said the WMCA would now move quickly to deploy the new funding through its landmark Single Commissioning Framework to support the region’s wider economic recovery plans.
Cllr Mike Bird, leader of Walsall Council and WMCA portfolio holder for housing and land, said: “We have been lobbying Government hard for more funding for our regeneration programme, showing Ministers how we are using funding to create good quality, affordable homes and decent jobs for local people.
“This latest announcement is tremendous news and real reward for the impact that the WMCA has made on housing delivery and urban regeneration in the region. But it remains just the latest tranche of investment that the West Midlands needs from Government if it is to fully unlock the region’s huge brownfield regeneration ambitions.
“It is nevertheless encouraging that the Government recognises our impressive pipeline of projects and the close, productive relationships we have formed between the public sector and business community. It shows how the West Midlands is leading the way nationally in brownfield land regeneration and housing delivery.”
The funding announcement is the latest in a string of funding awards for the WMCA’s urban regeneration programme and reflects Government confidence in the region’s strong track record on delivering urban renewal projects.
Only in June the Prime Minister announced £84m for the WMCA to expand the region’s trailblazing brownfield regeneration programme, further relieving pressure on the Green Belt.