Plans set out in the Levelling Up White Paper has revealed a new government regeneration scheme for derelict sites in towns and city centres, to create new homes, jobs and communities across England
Wolverhampton and Sheffield will be the first to undergo the government regeneration scheme. In Wolverhampton, local leaders are being given the tools that will catalyse the revival of the city and the wider Wolverhampton to Walsall corridor, building on the government’s £20m Levelling Up Fund investment and the new DLUHC headquarters in the city centre.
In Sheffield, new regeneration opportunities will capitalise on the government’s £37m Levelling Up Fund and the upcoming Integrated Rail Plan electrification and upgrades which will cut journey times between Sheffield and London to just 87 minutes.
The 20 areas due to be regenerated will be prioritised within the new £1.5m Brownfield Fund. To kickstart regeneration efforts in these regions, and as part of a wider package of brownfield funding worth £120m, £28m will be allocated to the West Midlands Combined Authority and £13m for the South Yorkshire Combined Authority, to fund the projects most needed to support local levelling up ambitions.
The government’s regeneration programme will be spearheaded by housing delivery agency Homes England, which will be refocused and tasked to support the Levelling Up agenda.
Homes England help local leaders to deliver the regeneration of large areas of towns and cities, as they adapt to economic trends like the rise of online shopping.
Homes England will partner with local leaders, the private sector and community groups to turbocharge regeneration and deliver new housing, health and education and leisure facilities, roads and railways.
‘Transforming derelict areas in our towns and cities into thriving places’
Levelling Up secretary Michael Gove said: “We are on a mission to regenerate the nation, transforming derelict areas in our towns and cities into thriving places people are proud to live and work in.
“We are refocusing Homes England and empowering local leaders to support levelling up, delivering Kings Cross style transformational regeneration projects across the country – starting in Wolverhampton and Sheffield.
“This huge investment in infrastructure and regeneration will spread opportunity more evenly and help to reverse the geographical inequalities which still exist in the UK.”
‘Supporting ambitious local leaders in delivering placemaking and regeneration’
Homes England chair Peter Freeman CBE commented: “A sense of a place and indeed a pride of place are crucial to thriving communities. Our expanded mandate will allow us to further support ambitious local leaders in delivering placemaking and regeneration alongside a wide range of public and private sector partners.
“We have many years of experience undertaking a broad range of brownfield land and regeneration projects which combined with full use of our statutory powers and funding means we’re well positioned to transform places and communities.”
In conjunction with the regeneration projects, the government are also set to launch a new £1.5bn Levelling Up Home Building Fund, providing loans to small and medium sized builders and developers to deliver 42,000 homes with the vast majority going outside London and the South East.
A total of £120m of funding will also be given to 7 Mayoral Combined Authorities to transform derelict brownfield sites into vibrant places where people want to live and work. Seven MCAs – West Midlands, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Liverpool, South Yorkshire, North of Tyne, and Tees Valley stand to gain 7,800 homes.
A further £30m is being awarded to 3 Mayoral Combined Authorities in Greater Manchester, Tees Valley and West Midlands on disused brownfield land. Meanwhile, £8m from the Brownfield Land Release Fund (BLRF) is being allocated to 13 councils which will release land for a further 898 homes. The BLRF has so far awarded £69m to support councils to release their brownfield land for 6,856 homes by March 2024.