Midland Met Hospital homes plan takes major step forward
A masterplan to transform the area around a new super hospital in the Black Country has taken a major step forward.
Run-down land near the Midland Metropolitan University Hospital, which is being built in Smethwick, has been snapped up by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and will now be cleared to make way for around 200 homes.
At least 40 of these will be made available for nurses and other low-paid staff from the hospital, which is due to open in 2022.
Officials and health bosses are keen to use the new hospital, which will feature the biggest A&E department in Europe, as a catalyst for investment in the wider area.
The WMCA, which is led by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, will now clean up the sites at Abberley Street and Cranford Way before submitting a planning application.
A development partner will then be sought to deliver the homes.
Mr Street said the provision for NHS workers was an important part of the development.
He said: “NHS and other key workers make a vital contribution to society right across the West Midlands, but like many others in the region they have seen house prices outstrip wages in recent years and found it impossible to get on the housing ladder.
“On top of this, many also struggle to find homes close to where they work, which means long commutes and added pressure on what are already demanding jobs.
“The WMCA and its partners are determined to tackle this housing affordability issue, and that is exactly what we are trying to do at Abberley Street and Cranford Way.”
Sandwell Council Leader Yvonne Davies said: “Working with WMCA, Sandwell is pleased to have secured additional investment around the Midland Metropolitan University Hospital to ensure that staff have access to affordable homes and that the area is brought back into residential use.”
Mike Bird, WMCA portfolio holder for housing and land and leader of Walsall Council, said: “This is another example of how the WMCA and its partners are changing the housing market, using our funding to deliver affordable homes for key workers in society.
“It’s about building the homes we need in the places where we need them, using brownfield land to regenerate local areas and help preserve our environment.”
It is the latest stage of the Mayor's 'brownfield first' strategy which aims to ensure new homes are built on previously developed sites rather than on the green belt.