The number of homes built in the West Midlands last year doubled compared to the start of the decade, according to official figures.
Nearly 17,000 homes were built during 2018/19 – a 15 per cent rise on the previous year and twice the national average increase. The total compares to just 7,500 homes built in 2011.
The building programme has provided a major boost to housing bosses who are under pressure to create 215,000 homes in the region over the next decade in order to meet demand for the growing population.
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has pledged to identify brownfield land for new homes, to regenerate run-down sites and avoid building on open green space where possible.
These sites include Friar Park in Wednesbury where 750 homes will be built on a former sewage works and Steelhouse Lane in Wolverhampton where 150 homes will spring up on industrial land.
Gareth Bradford, WMCA director of housing and regeneration, said the West Midlands economy was growing faster than any other region outside London but this growth and the thousands of new jobs being created was driving ever higher demand for housing.
He said: “These figures are great news for our region and show how the West Midlands is leading a house building revolution in the UK.
“We are turning derelict land into vibrant new communities and developing new modern, construction methods so we can build more homes at pace. At the same time we are training local people in the skills needed to build these new homes.
“Ultimately we want to make sure everyone has the opportunity of a decent home and a worthwhile job but making sure we have enough homes in the future is a major challenge and there is still much to do.
“The good news is that since 2011 we have doubled the number of homes being built each year and these latest figures show how we have already hit the average annual rate we needed to hit in 2031.
“So this collective effort by the region, which has seen councils, local enterprise partnerships and others working together through the WMCA housing and land delivery board, has radically closed the gap between what we planned to deliver and what has actually been delivered while all the time retaining a focus on brownfield land.
“This underpins the commitment we gave to Government in our Housing Deal last year so it’s great to see the region turning ambition into a reality that people can see and touch.”
The need to meet housing targets has also seen counties surrounding the Black Country and Birmingham asked to help meet the demand.
South Staffordshire Council has said it is inevitable some green belt land will have to be built on in order to meet demand.
By Richard Guttridge
Source: Express & Star