The demolition and redevelopment of an outdated housing estate in north Coventry is underway following the completion of a £1 million investment by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

Houses off Milverton Road on the Wood End estate are being knocked down in order to pave the way for developer Keepmoat Homes to build 94 high quality new homes on the 5.5 acre site, of which 20 will be available for social rent in partnership with Citizen Housing

The scheme will generate dozens of employment opportunities, including apprenticeships and work placements, which will be delivered throughout the lifetime of the project.

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Some of the homes already built by Keepmoat in a previous phase of the Spirit Quarters redevelopment

Wood End was built by the city council in the late 1950s and early 1960s to rehouse families from the inner city as well as people moving to Coventry to work in its then-booming car industry.

But the area’s fortunes declined and it became one of the city’s most deprived neighbourhoods. It has now been earmarked for major redevelopment together with the nearby Manor Farm, Henley Green and Deedmore neighbourhoods – a project that will eventually see more than 3,300 new homes built.

The Wood End scheme, part of the wider Spirit Quarters redevelopment, is the latest in a pipeline of investments the WMCA has made throughout the pandemic to regenerate brownfield sites for new homes and jobs, helping to relieve development pressure on the green belt.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “Creating new communities and sustainable neighbourhoods on brownfield land has been one of the region’s real success stories in recent years.

“By using government cash to clean-up derelict industrial land or residential sites like Wood End we’ve helped create thousands of new homes and jobs, whilst also protecting our precious and irreplaceable green belt. Our investments have also helped to create and secure local jobs for local people by guaranteeing work for the construction sector during the pandemic.

“The existing housing at Wood End had come to the end of its life and was no longer fit for purpose but this WMCA investment means it can now be demolished and replaced with good quality, energy efficient and affordable homes for local people.”

As with all schemes that receive WMCA investment, a minimum of 20% of the homes will be classed as affordable under the combined authority’s own regional definition of affordability, which is linked to real world local wages rather than property prices.

Charlotte Goode, Regional Managing Director at Keepmoat Homes, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with the WMCA to help rejuvenate Wood End, and provide much needed new homes for residents. This site isn’t your typical new homes development, it is part of a wider regeneration project which represents a tremendous opportunity for the city’s growth.

“We have a strong track record of delivering new homes across the country, particularly on brownfield land such as this, and we have already delivered almost 1,000 homes on previous phases at Wood End with Citizen Housing.

“We’ve brought our experience to this development and, working with the WMCA and Citizen Housing, we’re building quality homes and breathing new life into the area. Our aim is to make a big impact to the local community, delivering real value to not only those who choose to live there but also to the surrounding area.”

Cllr Mike Bird, WMCA portfolio holder for housing and land and leader of Walsall Council, added: “Without the WMCA’s intervention this new housing scheme would not have happened and the opportunity to build badly needed new homes would have been lost.

“That’s important because the West Midlands has an ambitious target to build 215,000 new homes by 2031 – homes that are energy efficient and affordable.

“By unlocking brownfield sites like Wood End for redevelopment we are also relieving pressure on our green belt and helping the region build its way towards a successful post-Covid-19 recovery that is greener and more socially inclusive.”

The Wood End investment has been made through the WMCA’s innovative Single Commissioning Framework. Launched in September 2019, the framework provides a single set of criteria that is applied to all housing projects in the region, including requirements on affordable housing, design and modular construction.