Figures released earlier this week show that there were nearly 17,000 homes built across the West Midlands last year, compared to just 7,500 in 2011.
More than twice as many homes were built in the West Midlands last year as there were in 2011, official figures have shown.
And Mayor Andy Street believes it’s the region’s policy of re-using brownfield land that is the main reason for the rise.
Since being established in 2016 the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has adopted a ‘brownfield first’ policy when it comes to house building, with derelict industrial land used to build homes wherever possible.
The increase of nearly 15 per cent from last year’s figures is twice the national average, with the WMCA promising to build 215,000 homes across the region by 2031.
And, writing for the Conservative Home website, the mayor says that its the authority’s approach to its brownfield land that has allowed it to be successful.
“Thanks to our past as one of the UK’s manufacturing heartlands, the West Midlands has an abundance of former industrial sites, many of which are contaminated by their previous use and have been derelict for years,” he wrote.
“Our ‘pledge has been to look first to these sites, to reclaim them and clean them up, when developers come knocking on the door. We all understand there is a need for new homes, but too often they have been built on Green Belt areas in deals which benefit the developers but enrage neighbouring communities.
“Our policy pledge to put ‘Brownfield First’ resonates with residents who not only want to protect open spaces, they also want to see neglected eyesores reclaimed. This month saw a landmark, when our biggest ever ‘Brownfield First’ deal was signed. The equivalent of more than 32 football pitches at Friar Park in Wednesbury will be transformed into 750 new homes after an old sewage works was snapped up by the WMCA.
“As our nation builds the hundreds of thousands of homes that are so desperately needed, the Green Belt will come under more and more pressure. ‘Brownfield First’ provides a policy that will resonate with voters and deliver results.”
Recent examples of the WMCA’s ‘brownfield first’ policy include:
- Friar Park in Wednesbury, where the WMCA is spending several million pounds to buy and clean up a former sewage works, paving the way for a 750 home community
- Saints Quarter, Steelhouse Lane, Wolverhampton, where a £770,000 WMCA grant has enabled 151 homes to be built on former industrial land by developer Lovell Midlands
- Goscote Lane, Walsall, where the WMCA provided £3.6 million funding for the clean-up of 17 hectares of brownfield land ready for 263 new houses.