We need more homes of all types in the West of England – good quality homes that people can afford, whether they are renting or buying – built in the right places for residents to access employment opportunities to ensure sustainable economic growth. And we need them delivered at a much faster rate.
Housing delivery and affordability is a critical issue in the region. The average house price in the West of England is £291,581, well above the national average of £236,838, and between 7.8 and 11.3 times average earnings (figures from– ASHE July 2020). Home ownership is out of the reach of many and other affordable options are in short supply.
WECA has a specific role and remit to:
- Co-invest in new homes
- Help unblock any barriers which are slowing housing delivery
- Planning and
- Prioritising investment in infrastructure Establishing a strong partnership to support key large housing sites.
We are looking at innovation in our house building, with modern methods of construction and carbon neutral homes. Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) methodology is playing an increasing role in the development of housing due to its ability to improve quality and pace of housing delivery. WECA’s Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) highlights innovation in infrastructure as one of our delivery priorities. MMC is not only at the forefront of innovation but also supports sustainable housing by improving the quality of education and training in the housing sector and addressing the Climate Emergency through embracing green technology to reduce carbon emissions. It is also helping to develop sustainable employment opportunities that are focused on emerging, relevant technology. Our goal is to increase the capacity and delivery opportunities for MMC across the region.
We are looking at innovation in our house building, with modern methods of construction and carbon neutral .
We have established a West of England Joint Assets Board (JAB) that pulls together public sector landowners including the NHS, blue light authorities and the Cabinet Office as well as all four council partners. This is looking at how we use public land more efficiently and make more land available for much-needed new homes and employment sites. The primary output from the JAB is a pipeline of public sector land that can be released for development and carries the potential to meet other objectives for public benefit such as increased % of Affordable Housing and higher placemaking standards.
Housing Delivery Strategy
Together, WECA and the West of England councils have developed a new Housing Delivery Strategy which aims to increase and accelerate the delivery of new homes for the region between now and 2030. It sets out a route map for sites, from land acquisition and through to delivery.
The process will be streamlined by taking a partnership approach to the process and aligning the available funding sources to deliver homes where they are needed most. It is built around an initial funding package of £40m from the WECA Investment Fund through to 2023.
The proposals in the Housing Delivery Strategy support the principles of clean and inclusive growth and will contribute positively to the West of England’s economic recovery by creating both direct and indirect jobs. Additional affordable homes delivered under the strategy will also provide high quality homes for people in housing need and will help towards alleviating homelessness.