Homes England and West Midlands Combined Authority launch Strategic Place Partnership
15th March 2024
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The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and Homes England, the government’s housing and regeneration agency, have today announced a new plan to turbo-charge housebuilding in the region. 

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement has been signed to formalise the West Midlands Strategic Place Partnership (SPP), which sets out shared ambitions to transform derelict brownfieldland into thriving communities and places. 

This enhanced working relationship between the WMCA and Homes England forms part of the Deeper Devolution Deal signed by the combined authority and government, last year.  

Up to £400 million has been earmarkedthrough the devolution deal for Homes England and the WMCA to invest in affordable homesacross the region. 

The SPPwill commit both organisations to work together to further remediate difficult to deliver and stalled brownfield sites, and to invest in the delivery of good quality, affordable, and future-proof homes.  

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, and Chair of the WMCA, said: “Developing homes and creating new communities on brownfield land has been one of the region's real success stories of recent years.  

“This partnership with Homes England, will see us work closely together to turbo-charge house building, unlocking some of our biggest brownfield sites fornew homes that are energy efficient and genuinely affordable. 

Almost 33% of all the new homes built to date with WMCA investments have been affordableand the West Midlands is the only region that remains on track to meet its housing targets 215,000 new homes by 2031.  

“This partnership with Homes England, backed by the hundreds of millions of pounds we have secured for brownfield regeneration through our Deeper Devolution Deal, willfurther accelerate that success and see yet more homes constructed, more communities transformed,and the quality of life improved forpeople right across our region.” 

The SPP model is one of the ways Homes England is advancing locally-led housing growth and regeneration.  

Designed to support sub-regions with the most ambitious proposals for housing growth, the SPP is centred around a shared business plan for bringing those proposals forward. 

The WMCA and Homes England have already worked together to regenerate large parts of the region. They include the transformation of Digbeth into a new creative heart for Birmingham by moving the Masterchef studios out of London. 

In Walsall, both parties have worked to transform the Lockside estate, formerly the Caparo steelworks, to provide252 dwellings, including 120 affordable homes. 

Cllr Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, and portfolio holder for housing and land at the WMCA, said: “It is great news that we have managed to secure our SSP with Homes England on the back of our expanded Devolution Deal.  

One of the benefits this closer relationship will bring is a much better understanding of the current funding mechanisms available and how we can bring them together to maximise the impact of our investments focused on building more homes in the region. 

“We are setting the pace in bringing brownfield sites back into productive use, either for commerce or in this case for much needed new homes. This partnership will not only reinforce our ambitions tounlock over 12,000 homes but will also help us build real communities that are popular, sustainable and will thrive, which is ultimately what place-making is about.” 

Peter Denton, Chief Executive of Homes England said: “The Strategic Place Partnership model gives us a framework to support local leaders who have a strong vision for housing and regeneration in their area.  

The West Midlands Combined Authority has a clear aspiration for its people and communities, and through this SPP we will bring the powers, partners, funds and capabilities of the Agency together to help make it a reality, working in partnership to unlock the region’s full potential. 
This is Homes England’s fifth Strategic Place Partnership (SPP), following agreements with Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and South Essex. 

The WMCA SPP comes after a £200 million funding pot was launched by the WMCA to drive the construction of over 12,000 more homes on brownfield land across the region. 

Developers are being encouraged to apply for the funding to deliver more high-quality homes and create better places for local communities in the region.

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