Plans to speed up housing growth in the North of Tyne were discussed at a key meeting on Friday July 6.
Accelerating the speed of house building in the area was just one of the things discussed when the North of Tyne Housing and Land Board met for the first time at The Core, Newcastle Helix.
The board comprises senior figures from the world of housing and will oversee housing for the North of Tyne Combined Authority and help the three-member councils deliver their Local Plans, each with an agreed number of new homes, in a shorter timescale.
It was chaired by Sir Edward Lister, who is also Chair of Homes England, who said: “It is excellent to work within an organisation focused on building more homes, more quickly, to make sure that local people can live where they want.
“The new Housing and Land Board will help ensure that the Combined Authority will deliver 3,000 homes per year.”
The Board also discussed the planning system, freeing up land for homes, bringing together housing associations, apprenticeships, ageing and construction in rural areas.
Minister for the Northern Powerhouse Jake Berry who attended part of the meeting said he was he was heartened that the three councils were keen to work together and that all parties had put aside their political differences to strike a devolution deal North of the Tyne.
The total number of new homes will remain the same as outlined in each council’s individual plan but the rate of delivery will increase from 1,800 to 3,000 per year up to 2032, helping to provide much-needed homes more quickly.
Norma Redfearn, Elected Mayor of North Tyneside and North of Tyne portfolio holder for housing, said: “Another piece of the devolution jigsaw falls into place.
“One of the major advantages of having devolved powers will be greater control over housing and the ability to build the homes we have set out in our individual Local Plans more quickly.
“The new Housing and Land Board will help us to achieve this and I know from speaking to local people how urgently new homes are needed. I am greatly encouraged by the early conversations we are having.”
Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council Pat Ritchie is also chief executive of the North of Tyne Authorities leading on housing. Mrs Ritchie said: “Improving the range, quality and affordability of housing will be essential to economic growth and productivity North of Tyne and in the wider region.
“North of Tyne authorities are extremely ambitious and recognise the important role that housing plays in retaining and attracting employment opportunities.
“On top of that there will also be many construction jobs created. It is still early days, and there are many challenges ahead, but the three authorities are determined to work together to accelerate housing growth.”
Leader of Northumberland County Council, Cllr Peter Jackson, said: “The North of Tyne Authority provides a huge opportunity for us to meet our housing aims for Northumberland.
“We want to extend choice in the market, deliver the right type of homes in the right places for both existing and future communities, and support the growth of our economy.”
The devolution deal will bring unprecedented new powers and funding to the North of Tyne, including a £600 million investment fund.
The investment and new powers are expected to generate £1.1 billion for the local economy, create 10,000 new jobs and leverage £2.1 billion in private sector investment.
The next stage on the journey towards devolution will see the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government ask Parliament to agree the new governance arrangements. What’s included in our devolution deal?