Brownfield boost for the North’s city regions

The £400m Brownfield Housing Fund has now been largely allocated – and the North’s city regions are big winners.

The Brownfield Housing Fund was announced at the March Budget – with Chancellor Rishi Sunak commenting it would help ambitious Mayoral Combined Authorities and local areas to establish housing on brownfield land across the country”.

On 30th June, the Government announced that £360m of the fund would be allocated directly to seven city regions. Six of the seven city regions concerned are in the North – the remaining one is the West Midlands CA, which already benefited from similar funding as part of its devolution deal. The remaining £40m from the Fund is being held over for a competitive element, open to the same city regions and expected to be concluded quickly.

The NHC hosted MHCLG Housing Delivery Director Cathy Francis and officials from her team on the day after the March budget, touring opportunity sites in the Tees Valley. We submitted a paper to Cathy and her team, urging them to allocate the Brownfield Housing Fund directly to the North, rather than engage in complex and time-consuming bidding processes. 90% of the fund has been allocated in this way – with Combined Authorities able to determine how the investment is used locally, prioritising the housing needs of their local communities.

The NHC understands that allocations to individual CAs are as follows:

Combined Authority Brownfield Housing Fund Allocation
Greater Manchester CA £80m
Liverpool City Region £45m
North of Tyne CA £24m
Sheffield City Region £40m
Tees Valley CA £19m
West Yorkshire CA £67m
Total North of England £276m*
West Midlands CA £84m
Further competitive Fund £40m
Total Brownfield Housing Fund £400m*

*figures don’t total due to rounding

Commenting on the allocations, NHC CEO Tracy Harrison said,

“This is really significant news for the North – both in terms of the Fund’s focus on brownfield land challenges, and the way the Fund has been allocated directly to localities.  We will be exploring with members the potential for further funding of this type, including in parts of the North which don’t currently benefit from Combined Authority arrangements.”

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll has welcomed the allocation to his area:

“The North of Tyne has a wealth of under-utilised, brownfield land that is ripe for development.  This land is often close to existing public transport and other amenities so it makes sense that these sites play a major role in our housing ambitions.

 “These sites will allow us to meet the broad range of housing needs that exist across the North of Tyne and help us to revitalise and sustain our construction sector ensuring that good skilled jobs remain in our area. This funding, and the local decision making powers to ensure the interests of local people are met, is what devolution is all about and I welcome it.”

West Yorkshire Combined Authority secured funding from the fund in advance of their first Metro Mayor Election in 2021.  Calderdale Council Leader, and Deputy Chair of the CA, Cllr Tim Swift, commented:

“The £67 million we have secured to help deliver thousands of homes on brownfield land shows how the West Yorkshire devolution deal we struck in March is already delivering for our communities. 

 “Thanks to the devolution deal and our track record of delivery we did not have to bid for this funding. We have been allocated funding on the same basis as areas which already have elected mayors, ensuring we can put this money to work as quickly as possible to unlock development sites.  

“Creating well-connected neighbourhoods delivering urgently needed affordable homes is central to our drive to create an economy that works for all our communities.” 

For more information on the NHC’s policy and public affairs work, contact Brian Robson at