Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

CN Briefing: Birmingham; housing; Midlands; foreign investment

Garden sheds, canal boats and flat-pack homes are perhaps the most inventive ways in which Britain has been tackling its crippling housing shortage.

And Birmingham City Council’s new land-grabbing scheme is the most recent initiative to join that list.

Last week, the council announced that it would be seizing privately owned vacant land and property from developers in order to reach its target of building 89,000 affordable homes by 2031.

This Robin Hood-style initiative could free up around 6,900 properties for the council to develop (if developers don’t bring their sites back into use first).

Whether the policy is actually enforced or will simply give developers a shove in the right direction, it could be a good way to regenerate brownfield sites and speed up the delivery of new homes in the city.

This is needed now more than ever. Around 20,000 households are on the waiting list for council housing in Birmingham and around 1,500 households are in temporary accommodation.

The council also has further plans to accelerate its housebuilding.

At the beginning of the month, the city signed a £2bn deal with Chinese property developer Country Garden and Construction News has learnt that the first investments the firm will make will be in social housing.

Council leader John Clancy said the developer is “anxious for the deal to proceed at pace” – unsurprising considering the Chinese reputation for quick project delivery.

The deal could tackle another shortage the country faces, too.

It could be present a real opportunity for SMEs and developers in the Midlands to expand their skills base and learn how the Chinese manage to deliver large-scale developments so rapidly – as well as scooping up contracts along the way, of course.

With global developers eyeing up UK projects such as High Speed 2, it will be interesting to see what further overseas regeneration investments will emerge – and what other initiatives will be used to tackle the housing crisis.

In other news

Wates Living Space Homes has formed a JV with an housing association to speed up housing delivery in the area.

Newham Council’s housing company has submitted its largest planning application to date.

Plumbing and builders’ merchant Wolseley will shut 80 of its UK branches over the next three years, in a move that could cost up to 800 jobs.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.