Birmingham: The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has signed a partnership deal with leading property developer St. Modwen to build 5,000 high quality, energy efficient homes on disused industrial land over the next decade.
Overall, the agreement will support the WMCA’s target to deliver 215,000 new homes across the region by 2031 in order to meet future housing and economic demand and support the authority’s wider inclusive growth mission and purpose. All 5,000 homes will be designed to be low energy in operation, reflecting the requirements of the UK’s Future Homes Standard and supporting both St. Modwen and WMCA’s commitment to net zero carbon emissions.
As with every WMCA investment, the agreement will see a minimum of 20% of the new homes classed as affordable under the authority’s own definition which is linked to real world local wages rather than property prices.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding came as a formal planning application was submitted by St. Modwen for the regeneration of the West Works site at the former MG Rover car plant in Longbridge.
The WMCA’s £6m investment into the project, to help clean up the land and make it ready for redevelopment, will unlock a £300m total investment at West Works. St. Modwen’s planning application for 350 new homes on the site was submitted to Birmingham City Council today and is in addition to a new Longbridge Business Park offering up to 900,000 sq ft of commercial space which is expected to create up to 5,000 new jobs. The scheme will also open over 1km of the River Rea to the public for the first time including a new walking and cycling route linking West Longbridge to the Town Centre.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “By working with St. Modwen we’ve managed to unlock one of the region’s most iconic brownfield sites – Longbridge’s West Works. I am therefore delighted that we’ve signed this MOU to continue to work together on more schemes in the future, as we look to build more homes and create more jobs right across the West Midlands.
“At the heart of any work we do together will be brownfield regeneration, as we focus on breathing new life into former derelict industrial sites and their surrounding areas, protecting our precious greenbelt land in the process.
“The West Works site is the first example of this, and I am really pleased we’re pressing on with the future vision for the site with the planning application submitted today.”
Robert Flavell, Senior Director at St. Modwen, commented: “St. Modwen is very proud to be able to sign up to this landmark agreement with the WMCA which will help bring much needed new homes and jobs to areas throughout the West Midlands.
“The regeneration of Longbridge is a fine example of how partnership working can bring huge economic, social and environmental benefits. Our plans for West Longbridge will deliver high-quality, energy efficient and environmentally friendly new homes, new commercial space which will bring investment and jobs to the town and a range of green spaces for people to enjoy.
“We’re looking forward to working alongside the WMCA as part of this agreement and believe it will act as a catalyst to creating new communities which will be of benefit to those who live in, work in and visit the region.”
Leader of Birmingham City Council Cllr Ian Ward said: “Delivering sustainable new homes for a young and growing population is one of the big challenges in Birmingham and across the region and making the most of brownfield sites like the West Works at Longbridge is key to meeting the growing demand.”
Cllr Mike Bird, WMCA portfolio holder for housing and land and leader of Walsall Council, said: “I’m encouraged that this commitment has been made to utilise derelict industrial sites in such a practical way. We need good quality housing in the West Midlands, and we need to reduce pressure on our green spaces. Working with developers who share our wider vision for inclusive growth in the region is an excellent way for us to achieve both.
“The West Works scheme submitted today is just one example of the type of development that will be delivered as part of the partnership deal, which will focus on creating high quality and sustainable communities, that can boost the local economy and support the wellbeing of residents.”
St. Modwen will invest in the acquisition, planning, promotion and delivery of housing development sites and will deliver high quality, award winning and sustainable communities at ‘scale and pace’.
The recently completed Longbridge Town Centre, where the signing of the partnership took place, is the latest example of how St. Modwen, with WMCA support, is already transforming previously uneconomic land into attractive places that prioritise the health and well being of local people.
On completion, the wider regeneration of Longbridge will see up to 2,800 new homes and two million sqft of commercial floorpsace delivered, and up to 10,000 jobs created.
Through the collaborative nature of the partnership, St. Modwen and WMCA will co-develop a pipeline of opportunities that reflect the shared visions and values of inclusive growth and commitment to the region.
The deal follows the launch last year of WMCA’s Design Charter and the Single Commissioning Framework, launched in September 2019. The Framework provides a single set of criteria that will be applied to all housing projects in the region, including requirements on affordable housing, design and modular construction.
WMCA has a series of investment funds that it is making available in the region to increase the supply of readily developable brownfield land, to deliver attractive and inclusive development schemes with new homes, commercial, retail and other employment space.