Warning on land for housing after Telford & Wrekin Council lands £3.7 million grant for brownfield sites
Telford's Conservative leader today stressed that the council should not allow neighbouring authorities to use land in the borough for their own housing needs.
The remarks by Andrew Eade come as it has emerged Telford & Wrekin Council has secured a £3.7 million grant which is expected to kickstart the building of hundreds of homes and create 240 jobs.
The council has secured the funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
The money, which will see about 540 new homes built, will be rolled out to developers to transform 14 hectares of brownfield land in the borough.
Work on these sites has stalled because of the high costs for developers to bring them back into use.
This funding, which is expected to create around 240 jobs in construction, will support remediation, making sites viable and speeding up delivery.
The vast majority of sites that can benefit have already been granted planning permission for new homes.
A small number of other brownfield sites that could access this money have also already been identified for housing in the local plan.
Councillor Eade welcomed the funding but said more powerful authorities should not be given permission to use Telford and Wrekin to support their own needs for housing.
He said: “We strongly welcome any funding which helps to develop brownfield sites in the borough rather than Telford & Wrekin Council continually giving permission for developers to build on our green fields.
"The council has failed to penalise the development of greenfield sites and incentivise brownfield sites, which could have saved much of our countryside and place housing where it was originally intended.
"However, during Telford & Wrekin's local plan consultation, Birmingham City Council made it very clear that they wanted to use Telford and Wrekin to meet their own overspill requirements.
"We remain opposed to being used in this way and believe that the borough should meet its own local need rather than be used to meet the requirement of larger and more powerful authorities, even if cash incentives are offered in this way."
Telford & Wrekin Council says the investment will help stop undeveloped sites blighting areas, while providing more much-needed new homes.
Talks are to take place with developers to explain how they can access the funding.
Council leader Shaun Davies said: “This is great news for the borough and we’re very grateful for WMCA’s support.
"They clearly see what’s happening here in Telford, our rapid business growth and their confidence in us to deliver.
“This fund will help ensure that we can do even more to encourage housing development on brownfield land.
“We’ve also recouped the equivalent of the cost of our WMC non-constituent membership for almost the next 150 years.
“I am sure that if we had not been a non-constituent member from WMCA outset, the borough would not have secured this.
"We will start talks with developers very shortly around how they can access this funding."
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “I hope this gives a powerful message that the Combined Authority is determined to work with and provide benefits across the wider area.
"This investment will help deliver housing which contributes to our collective housing targets and support construction jobs.”
The council is the first non-constituent member of the WMCA to win such funding.
The fund will be managed by Finance Birmingham on behalf of Telford & Wrekin Council and the WMCA.
For more information visit financebirmingham.com/wmca-blpdf