Property South West Magazine April May June 2021

42 PROPERTY SOUTHWEST • APRIL . MAY . JUNE 2021 Click online: £40m WECA investment to kick start building new homes in the region A £40m injection of funding from the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) will help to create more homes, more quickly across the region. The WECA Committee and West of England Joint Committee have approved the draft West of England Housing Delivery Strategy – ‘A Strategy for Homes 2020-30’. The Strategy is intended to set out a route map for sites from land acquisition through to construction, as part of the ambition to increase the delivery of new homes. In essence this is all about how to accelerate the delivery of housing by utilising the available tools, mechanisms and funding available to WECA and delivery partners. The strategy is supported by an initial funding package of £40m from WECA and a bid for £500,000 from the Government’s One Public Estate funding programme. Importantly, the strategy is intended to support Local Plans and the draft Spatial Development Strategy, rather than add new layers of targets. Scrutiny Members emphasised that the West of England local authorities need an agreed definition of affordable housing given that local objectives differ across the authorities. This would make sense, as there is an expectation through the strategy that proposals should demonstrate that they deliver at least one additional key benefit, where examples could include things like carbon reduction, affordable housing, or innovation through off-site manufacturing. This is just a first step, as the quality expectation will rise over time to maximise delivery of additional benefits. 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. West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “As an attractive and growing region that is bringing new jobs, careers and opportunities to our residents, we need more homes in the right places and at prices people can afford. Our Strategy for Homes will make that happen. “The strategy will speed up building and make sure we have the infrastructure in place to regenerate places and create new communities with homes of all types, particularly affordable housing.”