Legal & General (L&G) has signed a partnership agreement with West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to invest £4 billion in regeneration, housing and levelling up across the West Midlands.
The landmark agreement, L&G’s first with a combined authority, sets out a commitment to a seven-year programme of L&G investment building on the region’s 2022 Investment Prospectus.
The programme is designed to create vibrant, dynamic communities in the region which, by providing attractive environments for people to work, live and play, will further enhance the West Midlands as a driver of UK economic growth. This builds on similar partnership agreements the WMCA has signed since 2018 with organisations such as Lovell and St Modwen.
The clear statement between both organisations combines the respective strengths of the WMCA and L&G. The Combined Authority has a clear and ambitious vision for the region with a strong commitment to Levelling Up, net zero, brownfield regeneration, affordable housing, inclusive growth and devolved powers to deliver on issues from land assembly to infrastructure, both physical and digital.
L&G, which manages £1.4 trillion as the UK’s largest investor, has financed over £30bn of regeneration in UK towns and cities outside London, and wants to repeat the scale of this investment. It has already invested over £2bn in the WMCA’s region, including the £210m Birmingham Health Innovation Campus and multiple housing projects.
The 2022 Investment Prospectus provides a range of possible development opportunities spread across the region which L&G and other investors can invest in. These prioritise creating thriving and more prosperous places and communities, including “corridors” and city and town centre development.
Alongside investment into new commercial developments, the agreement envisages a major contribution by L&G into climate-friendly projects, local communities and social and affordable housing, including build-to-sell and build-to-rent – providing high-quality homes across the range of tenures.
The agreement will also support the region’s target to deliver 215,000 new homes by 2031, as set out in its ground-breaking Housing Deal with Government in 2018, and the WMCA’s drive for wider inclusive growth.
Since the Housing Deal was signed, the West Midlands has secured upwards of £600m from Whitehall to drive regeneration with new housing and commercial schemes focussed predominantly on derelict or vacant urban sites, often referred to as brownfield land.
Using a nationally leading ‘brownfield first’ approach, WMCA investments have unlocked scores of disused industrial sites for new homes and jobs with developers required to make at least 20% of those new properties affordable under the WMCA’s own locally applied definition, linked to real world local wages rather than property prices.
The first scheme for the partnership will be The Junction, a brownfield site in Oldbury which has lain empty for over 20 years. The site will be brought back into economic use through the investment of L&G. The development will deliver 234 energy efficient new homes of which nearly 50% will be for affordable housing under the WMCA’s local definition.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA: “The unveiling of this £4 billion partnership agreement with L&G is a prime example of how the West Midlands is getting on and delivering Levelling Up. This major investment will help regenerate long neglected areas across the West Midlands, provide affordable homes in the communities where the need is most felt, and supercharge economic growth in the years ahead.”
Nigel Wilson, CEO at Legal & General: “We have been investing across the UK in partnership with cities and universities for a decade. It’s part of our ‘Inclusive Capitalism’ approach and has delivered terrific economic and social results. With Andy and his colleagues as ambitious partners at WMCA, we can take this to a new level.
The West Midlands economic plan, resources and skills make it an attractive destination for trade and investment from across the world; our role in this is to put UK funds including pension savings to work here so UK savers benefit from UK prosperity.”