West Midlands announces new housing collaboration

The West Midlands Combined Authority will pair with five housing associations to launch an affordable housing development vehicle.
Beechdale Estate in Walsall.
Beechdale Estate in Walsall. Credit: WMCA

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has struck a deal with five housing associations in a bid to increase the number of affordable homes in the region.

The WMCA has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with five members of the West Midlands Housing Association Partnership (WMHAP) to develop a business case for the establishment of the Affordable Housing Collaborative Development Vehicle (CDV).

The five associations involved in the collaboration are Accord Housing Association Limited, Bromford Housing Group, Citizen Housing Group Limited, Midland Heart Limited and whg (Walsall Housing Group Limited).

The MoU sets out a joint commitment for the five social landlords to deliver affordable housing developments alongside the WMCA, while supporting the region’s economic and housing policy objectives.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, who chairs the WMCA, said: “This groundbreaking new partnership brings the WMCA together with the combined expertise and resources of five of the largest housing associations within the WMHAP with the aim of providing even more affordable homes for the people of the West Midlands.

“Our region has led the way on housebuilding with record numbers in recent years, but our focus now is on how we build even more homes that are truly affordable. Alongside our new definition of affordability, which links to income rather than the market rate, this partnership will help do exactly that.”

Alongside building more affordable homes in the West Midlands, the partnership will prioritise offering a broader supply of homes and unlocking dormant sites.

It will also focus on building on brownfield land and supporting a ‘collaborative regional’ approach maximising local expertise, assets, networks and partnerships.

The partnership will set out ‘inclusive growth’ objectives such as access to open space, the use of sustainable methods of construction, the use of local labour and suppliers, on-site training, and quality placemaking.

The CDV would operate via the WMCA’s Single Commissioning Framework, which outlines criteria for all housing projects receiving funding from the combined authority.

Cllr Mike Bird, leader of Walsall Council and WMCA portfolio holder for housing and land, added: “This coalition is central to our mission to utilise our stock of brownfield land to deliver inclusive growth and affordable homes.

“A key goal is to establish the region as the national leader in unlocking challenging brownfield sites, especially along key transport corridors and using them to create vibrant new communities that offer good quality, affordable homes for local people.

“By injecting new life into derelict sites we can help protect our green belt and drive an economic recovery that benefits all our communities.”

Kevin Rodgers, chair of WMHAP, said: “Collectively, we welcome the commitment from the WMCA to build the essential new affordable homes the region needs.

“All of the members of the WMHAP are committed to working together to making this new vision a reality and see the signing of the memorandum of understanding as the significant step in an exciting partnership.”

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