City regions in the North of England are to benefit most from the government’s £400m Brownfield Housing Fund, 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 £360m from the fund, six are situated in the North of England.
The remaining £40m is being held for a “competitive element”, which the NHC says will be open to the same city regions and is likely to be concluded shortly.
Commenting on the findings, NHC chief executive Tracy Harrison said: “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.”
The Brownfield Housing Fund was first announced in the March Budget to help mayoral combined authorities and local areas develop housing on brownfield land.
Overall, £276m has been allocated to the six Northern city regions, including Greater Manchester (£80m), West Yorkshire (£67m), and the Liverpool City Region (£45m).
The remaining Northern city regions that 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 (WMCA), which has been allocated a total of £84m.
“Ripe for development”
Commenting on the NHC’s findings, 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 Brownfield Housing Fund in advance of its 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.
“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,” Swift said.
“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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