Gareth Bradford introduced this item and gave the Board a broad outline of the Land Fund which had been established under the March 2018 Housing Deal on the back of the 2017 Devolution Deal. The Land Fund was administered under a Framework approved by this Board, the Housing and Land Delivery Board and the WMCA Board in March 2019 (known as the Single Commissioning Framework). The framework had come into effect in April 2019 and the Land Fund requirements were included within it.
Simon Dancer presented a report which sought approval to grant funding to support the development which would bring forward 995 housing units, including 20% affordable provision. Gareth Bradford and Simon Dancer responded to various questions from members of the Board. Points raised included the possibility that the development could act as a catalyst for other developments in the local area including the Enterprise Zone, the contribution of the project to achieving the housing start requirements and intervention rates set by Government for the Land Fund, the original costs of land acquisition, the likely Operator of the build to rent element of the scheme, the use of the funding sought to obtain vacant possession of the site, the possibility of the development being phased, assurances on build out and deliverability of the scheme and clawback of grant in the event of non-delivery.
Gary Taylor advised that he had not had sufficient opportunity to request sight of the appendices to the report which were available on request as agreed previously by this Board but undertook to seek sight of these papers following the meeting and raise any points with Simon Dancer direct.
Councillor Jim O’Boyle suggested that regular reports on progress with this scheme should be submitted to future meetings of the Board. Gareth Bradford advised on the requirements to report on a monthly basis to both Homes England and the Government on Land Fund schemes and Brownfield Land schemes and that he would be happy to make any reports available to this Board alongside the updates to the Housing and Land Delivery Board on the Housing Deal and the Land Fund as part of that. Councillor Mike Bird commented that as the date of commencement for this particular scheme was not until Quarter 2 2021, progress reports should commence after that date.
That subject to the various points detailed in the report:
1. That grant funding as detailed in the report from the WMCA’s devolved housing and land funds to support the Stone Yard project in Digbeth, which would bring forward 995 housing units, including 20% affordable provision - against the WMCA’s approved regional affordable housing definition, be approved;
That it be noted that the funding was fully compliant with the WMCA
Single Commissioning Framework approved by this Board, the Housing
and Land Delivery Board and the WMCA Board in March 2019 and which
had been operational since 1 April 2019.
3. That it be noted also that the scheme had progressed through each SCF Gateway Approval point on the way to this Board;
4. That it be noted that the funding was fully compliant with the requirements set by Central Government for devolved housing and land funds administered by the WMCA;
5. That it be noted that the report had been co-developed with Officers from Birmingham City Council, the Local Planning Authority for the scheme;
6. That regular progress reports be submitted to this Board in respect of this scheme following commencement of works and on other Land Fund and Brownfield Fund schemes.