A guide on how investors and developers can secure a share of a multi-million pound war chest to help unlock land for homes and jobs will be launched by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) next week.
Building the Future – a guide to the combined authority’s Single Commissioning Framework sets out what developers can do to win funding earmarked by the WMCA to kick-start stalled developments across the region.
The guide is aimed at making the process for securing finance clearer and easier with the WMCA working with developers to find ways for the schemes to support the authority’s key economic and social goals.
These include tackling youth and long-term unemployment, securing affordable housing, maximising public transport connectivity and supporting advanced methods of construction.
Brownfield land in Goscote Lane, Walsall is one of the sites being redeveloped thanks to WMCA funding. The scheme by property developer St Francis Group will see more than 250 new homes built. L-R; Rob Braid, CEO St Francis Group; Steve Holland, senior specialist, Homes England; Andy Street; Ninder Johal, BCLEP; Cllr Adrian Andrew, Walsall Council cabinet member for regeneration
The document will be officially launched by Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street at the Forum for Growth conference at Resorts World, Birmingham next Tuesday (September 18).
The Forum will see leading figures from the private and public sectors come together to debate the key issues that can drive the regional economy forward. One of those issues is the on-going work to breathe new life into hundreds of acres of derelict industrial land – often called brownfield – helping to relieve pressure on the Green Belt.
The Mayor said: “The Forum for Growth is the ideal platform from which to launch this important document, which will be a positive step forward for construction across the West Midlands.
“The funding we have set aside to help developers get schemes off the ground is already creating hundreds of new jobs and homes – and this guide is aimed at making the funding process as quick and as easy as possible for those developers who share our vision of growing our economy in a way that benefits all our communities.
“Not only will we be benefitting local people with local schemes, but the quicker we can build quality new homes and commercial premises then the more likely we are to see the West Midlands economy continue to grow faster than anywhere outside of London.”
Cllr Mike Bird, WMCA portfolio holder for housing and land and leader of Walsall Council, said: “Developers and investors will be able to use this document to quickly understand how our funding is geared towards schemes that support our key priorities on affordable homes, brownfield regeneration and attracting investment and jobs into our region.
“The funding is also designed to help get things moving on sites where redevelopment has stalled because of issues like the high cost of cleaning up brownfield sites and getting them ready for development. That’s where the WMCA can step in and help.”
One of the biggest challenges faced by the region is the need to build 215,000 new homes by 2031 to meet future housing and economic demand. It also needs to find sites for an extra 20,000 new businesses expected to be operating in the region by the early 2030s.
The WMCA has introduced a brownfield first policy where new developments are built on brownfield land wherever possible, helping to relieve pressure on the green belt.
Figures released last month showed how WMCA loans and grants have already helped to;
- Accelerate a 30% increase in house building across the region with numbers rising from 11,288 in 2014/15 to 14,628 in 2017/18
- Create more than 4,300 new jobs
- Bring more than 186 acres of once-derelict land, the equivalent of more than 92 football pitches, back into use
- Create more than two million square feet of new, commercial floor space
- Generate an extra £5.3m in business rates