Communities Secretary Sajid Javid welcomed progress to deliver 6,200 new homes on the old Radiostation site in Rugby, which forms part of investment into the Midlands Engine.
Visiting the project, which is already creating jobs, supporting businesses and encouraging growth, the Communities Secretary heard about how the Midlands Engine is supporting the delivery of over 600,000 homes over the next 15 years in the region.
Homes are already taking shape on the site in Houlton, named after the town in Maine, USA, where the first transatlantic voice transmission was received and originally home to the world’s most powerful radio transmitter.
The visit, with the Chair of The Midlands Engine Partnership Sir John Peace, also follows the partnership publishing their ambitious response to the government’s Midlands Engine strategy.
The Midlands Engine Vision for Growth sets out the Partnership’s aim to create a Midlands Engine that powers the UK economy and competes on the world stage, and builds on the government’s long-term strategy to achieve greater economic growth and productivity across the whole Midlands.
The partnership’s vision sets out 5 investment priorities to accelerate productivity across the region and power the growth of an already £200 billion economy.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said:
“The Midlands is essential to our national economic success and we have an ambitious vision for the region. That’s why we committed £392 million to the region through the Local Growth Fund earlier this year.
“Working with local partners will be crucial to its success and the Midlands Engine Partnership is putting local leaders, businesses and residents in the driving seat. I look forward to working with them on delivering their bold Vision for Growth.
“I’m determined to make sure the Midlands continues to be a great place to live and offers good quality housing to the people that live and work here. It’s a key theme to the Midlands Engine and that’s why it’s great to see the start of 6,200 homes being built here in Rugby.”
Sir John Peace, Chair of the Midlands Engine, said:
“The Midlands Engine Vision for Growth sets out our ambition to add at least £54 billion of extra growth to the UK economy by 2030. We are now getting on with the task of implementing this vision. That means playing our part in building the homes the nation needs.
“We have committed to 600,000 new homes being built by 2030. Building these homes is not only necessary to attracting and retaining the workforce of the future, it will also contribute directly to increased productivity.
“A commitment to enhancing the quality of life of those who live, learn and work in the region is at the heart of our ambition for accessible and well-designed housing. This development is an excellent example of how we are working together to shape great places.
“I welcome the continued commitment from the Communities Secretary as our Ministerial Champion to support the priorities that are contributing to the future prosperity of the Midlands.”
The programme of house building in Houlton will be led by property development and investment company Urban&Civic.
Richard Coppell, Development Director for Urban&Civic said:
“It’s great to see the Midlands Engine Chair and Secretary of State coming to such a key development in the region and showing their commitment to business and growth. Houlton is set to be one of the most well-connected places in the country and we are proud to be able to showcase the 1,200 acre site, which is set to be a landmark development of 6,200 homes being built in the next 15 years.
“It is important for people across the UK to see what the Midlands has to offer in terms of industry, housing, infrastructure and community, and so the visit today will highlight that, and hopefully encourage more people to consider the region as a place to set roots as its economy grows.
“Together with money for unlocking housing sites to support home building and investment in very large transport schemes, the government is also supporting vital infrastructure, improving skills and creating thousands of jobs with over £9 billion of the Local Growth Funding to Local Enterprise Partnerships through Growth Deals.”
In Coventry and Warwickshire this has already:
- Seen major investment in road infrastructure improvements, particularly the A45, A46 and A5 Corridors, and rail infrastructure, through improving Coventry station and development of a new station at Kenilworth. This has improved connections with other towns and cities and helped tackle congestion on the area’s roads
- Led to the construction and opening of the new Trident Centre at Warwickshire College, which has already delivered over 350 apprenticeships in advanced manufacturing and engineering to help meet employers’ demand for skills in this sector
- Provided a new Skills Centre at Coventry City College providing support for 1,000 young and unemployed people in acquiring skills for employment, and for marginalised groups to acquire basic skills, especially English and mathematics.
The area is already benefiting from £131.80 million of Growth Deal funding awarded to Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) to help create jobs, support businesses and encourage growth.
Coventry and Warwickshire Board Director, Paul Kehoe, added:
This is one of the largest brownfield developments in the region and will provide a range of housing and the associated community infrastructure which will help meet the needs of our growing economy.
The CWLEP area is a key component of the Midlands Engine, and we fully recognise that the provision of the right sort of housing has to go hand in hand with our growth. The CWLEP board has held a meeting at Houlton and has watched its development closely.