Patrick White presented a report which detailed the Terms of Reference of the Board and which proposed a structured work plan. He explained that the aim was to deliver the increase in housing and employment land needed across the West Midlands, with a focus on implementing the priority actions agreed in the Housing Delivery Plan. He outlined the work which had been undertaken to date and the Work Streams which needed to be commissioned to develop the priorities outlined in the Land Delivery Action Plan.
The Chair referred to the use of the term ‘Spatial Expression / Integrated Investment Plan’ and advised that the Government was of the view that a ‘Spatial Plan’ for the West Midlands was required. This view was not shared currently by the WMCA Mayor or the WMCA Leaders. The Land Delivery Plan had proposed a delivery focussed plan which was what Officers would work up for consideration by the Board.
Councillor Majid Mahmood suggested that the Board should consider its role in overseeing the 3,000 housing units at Perry Barr which would be used as the ‘Athletes Village’ if Birmingham’s bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022 was successful and other major projects. In any event these units would be constructed and utilised as general purpose housing. He suggested that the Terms of Reference should also make reference to working with Housing Associations to achieve its aims. The Chair advised that whilst the WMCA supported Birmingham’s bid to host the Commonwealth Games it was for Birmingham City Council to oversee the construction of these particular housing units. Kevin Rodgers advised that he represented the various Housing Associations operating in the West Midlands.
Councillor Mark Shurmer queried whether the housing needs of the West Midlands metropolitan area could be delivered within that area or whether it would be necessary to seek assistance from adjoining District and Borough Councils. The Chair advised that this issue was of great importance but took the opportunity to remind the Board that the housing need to be provided was not confined to the metropolitan area but to the Greater Birmingham Housing Market Area. He also referred to the existing working arrangements, for example, between the City of Wolverhampton Council and Telford and Wrekin Council and South Staffordshire District Council. This matter would form part of the on-going discussions.
Steve Maxey commented that he supported the proposals detailed in the Work Plan. Councillor Peter Bilson commented on the need to look across the region and to acknowledge the different challenges faced by the respective Councils. He also referred to the importance of land remediation and the funds which were available to make land deliverable economically. With regard to the various pieces of work to be commissioned, he suggested that the various Project Briefs for the next stages of delivery be circulated to members of the Board forinformation.
The Chair informed the Board of a recent meeting in the Black Country with H M Treasury Officials which had also been attended by the Chamber of Commerce and the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership where the latter two organisations had been very supportive of the current work.
1. That the Terms of Reference for the Board, as agreed by the WMCA Board, and detailed at Appendix 1 to the report be noted;
2. That the forward work plan of the Board as detailed at Appendix 2 to the report be approved;
3. That the following priorities from the Land Delivery Action Plan be developed and commissioned through the WMCA working through the Housing and Land Steering Group:
I. Integrated Pipeline (underway);
II. Spatial Expression / Integrated investment Plan;
III. Investment Prospectus; and
IV. Market Ready Site Business Plans;
4. That the various outline Project Briefs be circulated to members of the Board.