Thirty-five stalled house-building projects in the West Midlands could get back on track following the announcement of £109 million to kickstart mothballed projects in the region.
Housing minister John Healey yesterday said a total of £925 million has been made available nationally through a scheme which could breathe life into 270 stalled developments across the United Kingdom. Birmingham developments on the shortlist include Masshouse Development’s Masshouse Block M and Crest Nicholson’s Park Central. The announcement is part of the government’s Kickstart programme designed to unlock house-building sites announced in this year’s Budget.
In the West Midlands, 35 developments have been shortlisted for the cash, a move which could get building started on 2,842 new homes. But Mr Healey made clear that the Government expects almost half the money to be repaid within five years.
Over one-third will go to housing associations and others to help them manage the affordable housing and less than one fifth – 18 per cent – consists of direct grant to support developers. Mr Healey said: “This is not a handout. There are tough terms including repayment of loans within five years and only builders who accept a realistic current price for their land are eligible. “I want to see builders back on these sites within weeks.”
Projects on the shortlist will now go through a rigorous final assessment to determine which get the green light and a key factor will be their ability to start construction this year. Homes and Communities Agency chief executive Sir Bob Kerslake said: “The response to our bidding process shows the level of appetite for development which is out there.
“Despite the economic downturn, demand for homes remains and with some help, quality schemes can be unlocked, adding to new supply very quickly.”
Within the region, the West Midlands has been allocated £82.8?million of available funding, with £8?million for Warwickshire, £8.8 million for Staffordshire, up to £4.7 million for Shropshire and up to £3.2 million for Worcestershire.