Land deal set to deliver thousands of jobs

Telford & Wrekin Council is poised to seal a land deal with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) which will result in the delivery of up to 2,800 homes and up to 8,500 jobs.

Land deal set to deliver thousands of jobs
The Government has given its agreement in principle to the deal, which will see up to £44.5m of receipts generated from the sale of  HCA land  in Telford invested locally.

This money will be reinvested into opening up sites for development and ensuring the Borough has the infrastructure in place to support this growth.

The Telford Land Deal is thought to be the first deal of its kind nationally  and presents a one off opportunity for the Council to influence the disposal of the majority of public sector land  in the borough.

It would see the borough directly benefit for the first time from receipts generated by the sale of HCA land.

The deal offers the Council the opportunity to take responsibility for the, marketing and disposal of all HCA land holdings in Telford.  It will enable the Council to work with existing businesses looking to expand and attract new investors offering new jobs for local people.

The 2,800 homes that will be delivered by the deal form part of the 15,500 new homes already planned for the borough through the Telford and Wrekin Local Plan.

Under the deal, the Council is aiming to increase the value of sites and speed up their delivery by  reinvesting a proportion of receipts from the sale of HCA land.

This will be used to prepare sites for sale, remediate them and put in infrastructure increasing their attractiveness to investors and developers.

If sales go well , the Council will receive a projected further £19m share in the increase in land values  over the 10 year programme. 

The deal could also result in a further £6m income for the council from the extra Council Tax and business rates generated by the new homes and employment space.

A proportion of the receipts will also be invested by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership to provide gap funding for stalled development sites across the Marches.

Councillor Shaun Davies, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Business, said: “The deal directly supports our drive to support existing business and attract new inward investment and will create thousands of jobs to give a real lift to Telford’s economy.

“It also strengthens our ability to negotiate benefits through our non constituent membership of the West Midlands Combined Authority because it means we can deliver investment into the region that some of our neighbouring authorities cannot accommodate.

“The Land Deal will also deliver new job opportunities and homes for existing residents as well as investment to support services and facilities borough wide.”

Councillor Richard Overton, Telford & Wrekin Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for Housing,  said: “This will enable us to maximise opportunities to deliver regeneration, ensure investment is made into infrastructure and respond to market opportunities working proactively with investors, local businesses wishing to expand and housing developers.

“The deal is not without its risks but we have been able to build a number of safeguards into it. Ultimately it has the potential to realise significant financial rewards for the Council.” 

Karl Tupling, the Homes and Communities Agency’s Executive Director for the Midlands, said: “The HCA has a strong record of working in partnership with the Council. This will continue through this deal to support Telford in delivering its local priorities, create jobs and bring forward the development of new homes for local people.”   

Graham Wynn, Chairman of the Marches LEP, said: "This commitment, part of the Marches Growth Deal negotiated with Government, will see millions of pounds invested into the region over the next decade. It will accelerate the development of job-creating employment sites and the building of thousands of new homes in the Telford area.

"The wider LEP will also benefit from this deal, with a share of the proceeds of land sales going directly to the Marches Investment Fund (MIF) which supports regeneration and infrastructure projects across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin."

Paul Hinkins, Chairman of the Telford Business Board and Deputy Chair of the LEP, added: “I'm delighted to see this deal come to fruition after lengthy negotiations and it is a great example of partnership working in action.

“The deal is a catalyst for growth, not just in Telford, but for the rest of the Marches as well. It means more businesses will want to locate here, with the investment bringing much needed private sector jobs, and the creation of thousands of new homes.”

A report outlining the details of the deal will go to a full meeting of Telford & Wrekin Council this Thursday (3 March). The meeting is being asked to approve the Council entering into the Land Deal and delegating responsibility for doing so to relevant directors and Cabinet Members.