A 600-home Leeds project is seeking the largest single allocation of the tranche. Credit: Tonia Cole Waterhouse

Developers line up £15m WYCA brownfield cash boost

West Yorkshire Combined Authority is set to sign off support for nine further projects through its Brownfield Housing Fund allocation, potentially enabling 1,100 homes.

WYCA’s place, regeneration & housing committee will meet on 29 February, with one of the agenda items being funding applications for developments across its boroughs.

Data compiled by WYCA released this week said that the rate of affordable homebuilding in the last two years has outstripped any period since 2010, with around 25% of all homes delivered in the period being classed as affordable.

Some of that development has been backed by WYCA’s £89m Brownfield Housing Fund allocation, a programme which must be committed in this Parliament – driving WYCA to encourage use of the programme, as reported by Place Yorkshire in December.

That seems to have borne fruit, with nine schemes now set for a boost.

The projects and their allocations:

Bradford Road, Idle: £10.8m total, £341,500 sought from BHF

Developer: McCarthy Stone

The former Blakehill Works site is to be remediated, with 51 specialist senior living apartments created, with communal gardens and lounges.

Elland Town Hall: £7.2m total, £840,000 sought from BHF

Developer: Malik Halls

This Calderdale project will involve the renovation and conversion of the grade two-listed hall into 55 rental apartments, 44 of them one-bedroom and 11 two-bedroom. The space has formerly been used for banqueting, offices and as a snooker hall.

Hough Top Court, Leeds: £22.4m total, £1.6m sought from BHF

Developer: Leeds City Council

Hough Side High School, serving Pudsey and Swinnow, was demolished in 2022, and will be replaced by 82 council homes in a 100% affordable development. It will include 55 houses and 27 apartments. The site will be gas-free, with heat pumps and EV charge points. A contractor will be appointed before summer.

Kirkby Road (Oaklands), Wakefield: £39.3m total, £1.3m sought from BHF

Developer: Saul Homes

Billed as an energy-efficient scheme of 128 homes at the former Hemsworth athletics stadium, made up of 16 two-bedroom houses, 68 three-bedroom houses, 37 four-bedroom houses and seven two-bedroom bungalows.

Leeds City Village phase one: £200m total, £7.7m sought from BHF

Developer: Cole Waterhouse and Tonia Investments

This flagship project entails 591 dwellings in three blocks, including 102 affordable homes. The breakdown is 288 one-bedroom, 266 two-bedroom and 37 three-bedroom apartments. Also includes 8,385 sq ft of office/community/retail and leisure space. The scheme, east of Marsh Lane, could ultimately bring more than 1,000 homes to the area.

Middlecross extra care, Leeds: £19.5m total, £1.3m sought from BHF

Developer: Leeds City Council

Sixty five specialist affordable rented apartments for those aged 55 or older, or for people with an identified care need, to provide independent living. The breakdown is 52 one-bedroom and 13 two-bedroom flats. Includes communal catering facilities, a dining area, a communal lounge, activity rooms and other facilities.

Parkwood Mills, Huddersfield: £8m total, £600,000 sought from BHF

Developer: PJ Livesey

This Kirklees project proposes 39 homes on a site of two derelict mill buildings, looking to combine new-builds with mill redevelopment. Around 180 homes were built in 2005 on the former mill area, but viability issues have held further development back.

Plane Street, Huddersfield: £8.9m total, £450,000 sought from BHF

Developer: Unity Housing Association

Thirty homes to be developed for affordable rent on a site described as having good links to employment and education. The site housed Stile Common School until 2011. A cocktail of funding has been put together to make the project stack up.

St Cecilia Street, Leeds: £17.9m total, £1.25m sought from BHF

Developer: Legal & General

This 11-storey Quarry Hill development will see 78 social rented apartments built, to be managed by an experienced registered provider. A third will have accessibility features, and it will be connected to the Leeds Pipes Network.

The rest of the funding comes from Leeds City Council commuted sums (£1.4m), a Homes England strategic partnership grant (£9.4m) and L&G Capital Investments (£5.8m). A contractor is expected to be appointed soon.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “Britain is in the grip of the worst housing crisis in living memory, with millions of working people struggling to afford their mortgages, rents and heating bills, and rough sleeping also on the rise.

“In West Yorkshire, we believe that every single person has a fundamental right to a safe and secure place to call home, so we’re bringing forward urgent plans to deliver hundreds of new homes across our region.

“But to build new houses on the scale that we need, Government must untether us from the inflexible, centralised rules that hold up brownfield land developments, so that we can build a brighter, more vibrant West Yorkshire that works for all.”

The Brownfield Housing Fund is an £89m allocation from government to bring forward new housing developments on brownfield sites where market failure has prevented development from taking place.

WYCA’s target from government is to enable the start on site of 5,400 – 7,855 new homes over the five-year period of the Fund.

The key criteria:

  • Projects must be Green Book compliant with a Benefit Cost Ratio floor of 1.
  • Projects must have evidenced market failure and demonstrate that they cannot proceed without public sector financial support.
  • Homes brought forward will start on site before 31 March 2025.

The BHF has been in operation since September 2020. Up to now,  WYCA has committed funding for 18 projects, adding up to 3,957 homes, including 1,413 affordable homes. Three projects in Leeds’ South Bank received a combined £10m in September.

Should they be rubber-stamped on 29 February, this next tranche of schemes would see a further 1,119 new homes for the region, including around 350 affordable homes.

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