Combined Authority shells out £3.7m to kick-start brownfield regeneration

A brownfield site in Dawley

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has made a £3.7m grant to Telford & Wrekin Council to kick-start a number of housing scheme in the borough.

The award is significant because it is the first made to a non-constituent member of the combined authority – which comprises the metropolitan areas of Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell and Dudley.

The money will allow building on previously-used derelict land to start, which in turn will lead to the construction of 540 new homes.

Work on these sites has stalled because of the high costs for developers to bring brownfield sites back into use. The funding will support remediation works making the sites viable and speeding up delivery of the new homes.

The vast majority of sites that will benefit have already received planning permission for residential use.

A small number of other brownfield sites that could access this money have also already been identified for housing in the Local Plan.
The £3.7m grant will see 14 hectares of brownfield land developed, which will create around 240 construction jobs in the borough.

The investment will support sites across the borough and stop undeveloped sites blighting areas, while providing more much-needed new homes with the area’s population set to grow in the next 15 years.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “I hope this gives a powerful message that the Combined Authority is determined to work with and provide benefits across the wider area.

“This investment will help deliver housing which contributes to our collective housing targets and support construction jobs.”

Telford & Wrekin Council leader Cllr Shaun Davies said: “This is great news for the borough and we’re very grateful for WMCA’s support. They clearly see what’s happening here in Telford, our rapid business growth and their confidence in us to deliver.

“This fund will help ensure that we can do even more to encourage housing development on brownfield land.

“We’ve also recouped the equivalent of the cost of our WMCA non-constituent membership for almost the next 150 years.”

He said he felt sure that if the borough had not been a non-constituent member of the WMCA from the outset, then the borough would not have secured the funding.

“We will start talks with developers very shortly around how they can access this funding,” he added.

The fund will be managed by Finance Birmingham on behalf of Telford & Wrekin Council and the WMCA.