A plan to invest £12m to unlock brownfield sites across the North East has been approved at the North of Tyne Combined Authority cabinet meeting today. (Tuesday 12th March).

The investment is part of a package of funding from the region’s devolution deal that will see a new combined authority formed in May, covering seven council areas. Ahead of the formation of the new authority, North of Tyne Combined Authority is acting as the accountable body for the schemes.

The funding will be used to kick-start construction in Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, and South Tyneside, clearing the ground for 640 new homes to be built and supporting the creation of 1,142 construction jobs and 11 apprenticeships.

Developments will be a mixture of affordable, social housing and private rented homes which could leverage up to £80m of private investment in the region.

A brownfield site is land which was previously developed and is no longer being used, such as an industrial estate or factory.

Recycling brownfield land so that it can be used for a new use, such as housing, is complex, expensive and often not viable without public funding.

The £12m investment will enable groundworks to start at five sites across the region to decontaminate and clean the land, put in place drainage systems, divert gas mains and carry out other technical and challenging investigations, so construction of new homes can start later in 2024.

The pipeline of projects being agreed includes:

  • £5.2m to unlock 370 new homes in Claspers Village and Chandless, Gateshead.
  • £3m to unlock 146 green homes in Benwell Dene, Newcastle.
  • £1.9m to unlock 57 green homes at Kelly’s Yard, South Tyneside.
  • £1.4m to unlock 67 affordable and green new homes in Wallsend and Longbenton, North Tyneside.

Homes at Kelly’s Yard, Benwell Dene and Wallsend and Longbenton will all be fully fitted with air source heat pumps and solar panels, producing up to 30% less carbon emissions and helping residents to benefit from cheaper bills; paving the way for the North East to reach its net-zero goals by 2030.

Mayor Jamie Driscoll said:

“We’ve got a great track record delivering for people in the North of Tyne. We’ve already helped build over 2,000 new homes, with eco and affordable housing. Creating new council houses, reducing people’s bills and protecting our green belt land. We’re ahead of schedule on our housebuilding target.

“This investment helps to continue that work and kick-start new projects across the North East. It unlocks good jobs and apprenticeships for local people, will bring money into the region from private companies and create over 600 new homes.”

Dame Norma Redfearn DBE, Chair of the Housing and Land Board, said:

“This is good news.  Across the North East demand for housing has never been higher and without this investment these sites would stand derelict. Instead, we are able to turn them into beautiful communities of homes where families can settle down, children can grow up and lifelong memories can be made – all while preserving our green spaces.

“This is a huge step forward in creating that vision. It’s about building not just houses, but good quality much-needed homes and creating jobs that people desperately need.”

This work is part of a £49m Brownfield Housing Fund which will see South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham benefiting from more funding and powers for housing and land development alongside other schemes, over the next four years.

£32m has been committed to date, recycling and reusing brownfield land sites and unlocking over 2,000 homes in the North of Tyne.

Work on site is anticipated to start from spring 2024.