A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the WMCA and five members of the West Midlands Housing Association Partnership (WMHAP) to develop a business case for driving affordable housing developments, economic activity and housing policy objectives. 
Commenting on the Affordable Housing Collaborative Development Vehicle (‘CDV’), Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, who chairs the WMCA, said:

“This ground-breaking 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.”  

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.”

The CDV collaboration includes Accord Housing Association Limited, Bromford Housing Group,Citizen Housing Group Limited, Midland Heart Limited and whg (Walsall Housing Group Limited). The memorandum of understanding sets out a joint commitment to deliver more housing alongside the WMCA.  
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.”

Across the region, many people’s ability to move into new homes has been affected by the impact of COVID-19 on personal finances, practical travel restrictions and delays in the ability of the private sector to put new houses on the market. 
The CDV collaboration aims to give people more security in choosing and moving more easily into homes and is part of the WMCA’s wider plans to drive an inclusive economic recovery that benefits all communities. 
The priorities of the partnership will be: 

  • More affordable homes built in the region 
  • A broader range, mix and supply of available homes
  • Addressing market failure to unlock dormant sites
  • Maximising construction on brownfield land 
  • A collaborative regional approach - maximising local expertise, assets, networks and partnerships 

Another key priority for the collaboration will be the pioneering of inclusive growth objectives, including access to open space, the use of sustainable construction methods, good quality design and a distinct sense of place with local shops and services and the provision of education and skills training. 
The CDV would operate via the WMCA’s Single Commissioning Framework, which provides a single set of criteria applied to all housing projects receiving funding from the combined authority. 
The next stage for the collaboration is to work up the detailed business case for the CDV’s establishment. 
The key criteria for investment of WMCA funds includes affordable housing, apprenticeships and on-site skills training, the use of local labour and suppliers, modern methods of construction and quality of placemaking. 

Photo: The new collaboration aims to deliver more affordable housing schemes like the Beechdale Estate in Walsall

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