New guidance launched to help unlock land for homes

The guide aims to make the process for securing finance “clearer and easier” for investors and developers in the West Midlands.

EMCA

A guide on how investors and developers can secure a share of a multi-million-pound fund to help unlock land for homes and jobs is due to be launched by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

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 re-commence stalled developments across the region.

The guide is aimed at making the process for securing finance clearer and easier and will see the WMCA working with developers to find ways for the schemes to support the authority’s “key economic and social goals”.

These are said to include tackling youth and long-term unemployment, securing affordable housing, maximising public transport connectivity, and supporting advanced methods of construction.

The document will officially launch next week (18th of September), with Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street saying it 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,” said Street.

“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 benefiting 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.”

One of the region’s biggest challenges is building 215,000 new homes by 2031 to meet future housing and economic demand.

It also needs to find sites for an the 20,000 new businesses expected to be operating in the region by the early 2030s.

The WMCA has since introduced a ‘brownfield first’ policy, where new developments are built on brownfield land wherever possible, helping relieve pressure on the green belt.

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.”

Pictured: 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.

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