Northern city regions set to benefit most from brownfield fund

The North of England’s city regions are set to benefit most from the government’s £400 million Brownfield Housing Fund as funding has largely been allocated to those areas, the Northern Housing Consortium (NHC) has revealed.

Figures compiled by the NHC, which represents Northern housing associations, show that out of the seven city regions chosen to be directly allocated £360 million from the Fund, six are located in the North of England.

The Fund was first announced in the Budget this past March to help mayoral combined authorities and local areas establish housing on brownfield land across the country.

Tracy Harrison, the NHC’s chief executive, commented: “This is really significant news for the North – both in terms of the Fund’s focus on brownfield land challenges, and the way the Fund has been allocated directly to localities.

“We will be exploring with members the potential for further funding of this type, including in parts of the North which don’t currently benefit from combined authority arrangements.”

Overall, £276 million of funding has been allocated to the six Northern city regions which include the likes of Greater Manchester (£80m), West Yorkshire (£67m) and the Liverpool City Region (£45m).

The remaining Northern city regions which have been individually allocated funding are the Sheffield City Region (£40m), North of Tyne (£24m) and Tees Valley (£19m).

The only city region not in the North of England to receive Brownfield Housing Fund money is the West Midlands Combined Authority, which has been allocated £84 million.

The remaining £40 million from the £400 million Fund is being held over for a competitive element, which the NHC says will be open to the same city regions and is expected to be concluded quickly.

Welcoming the allocation to his area, North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “The North of Tyne has a wealth of under-utilised, brownfield land that is ripe for development.

“These sites will allow us to meet the broad range of housing needs that exist across the North of Tyne and help us to revitalise and sustain our construction sector ensuring that good skilled jobs remain in our area.”

West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) secured funding from the Fund in advance of their first metro mayor election in 2021.

Cllr Tim Swift, Calderdale Council leader and deputy chair of the WYCA, said the funding will help deliver thousands of homes on brownfield land in the city region.

“We have been allocated funding on the same basis as areas which already have elected mayors, ensuring we can put this money to work as quickly as possible to unlock development sites,” Cllr Swift added.

“Creating well-connected neighbourhoods delivering urgently needed affordable homes is central to our drive to create an economy that works for all our communities.”

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