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JUST under 17,000 new homes were built in the West Midlands last year – the most ever recorded in the region.

Figures published by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) this week show that 16,938 new homes were built in the region across 2018/19, representing a 15.8 per cent increase on the previous year.

The authority currently has a target to build 215,000 new homes by 2031, something it appears on course to do with these latest figures.

However, papers also note that there remains a ‘considerable under supply of affordable housing.’

Last year 3,801 ‘affordable homes’ were built in the West Midlands, representing 22 per cent of the overall total – a figure which meets the WMCA’s 20 per cent target.

But figures also show that this housing ‘is particularly concentrated in certain pockets of the region’ – something which mayor Andy Street says needs to change if the WMCA’s house building drive is to be considered a success.

“Housebuilding is one of the West Midlands’ real success stories of the last few years and I am delighted that we are well ahead of schedule to build the 215,000 homes we need by 2031,” he said.

“The figures clearly show that the West Midlands is leading a brownfield-first housing revolution in the UK.

“What is most pleasing however is we are building the vast majority of new homes on brownfield land, protecting the region’s precious greenbelt. We are doing this through our brownfield first policy, which, thanks to cash from Government, sees the WMCA remediate derelict industrial sites that have sat untouched for decades.

“However there is plenty more still to be done, particularly around the number of affordable homes being built. To help tackle this the WMCA is introducing a new requirement that any housing development that uses WMCA funds must be at least 20% affordable.”

By Tom Dare

Source: Hereford Times

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