The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has bought two plots of land near the new Midland Metropolitan Hospital with the intention of building affordable housing for nurses and other key workers.
With the housing crisis also affecting health professionals, the WMCA has stepped in to buy the industrial land, which is a short walk away from the hospital which is currently under construction in Sandwell.
WMCA says they will build high-quality new houses and apartments, at least 40 of which will be affordable homes available specifically to those on modest incomes.
The authority will now clean up the sites before submitting a planning application. A development partner will then be secured to deliver around 200 homes while implementing its standard funding condition that requires at least 20% of all the new properties to be affordable.
This will be set against its new landmark regional affordable housing definition announced last month.
The WMCA became the first region in the UK to introduce its own localised definition of affordable housing, linking the definition to the real-world incomes of people in the area rather than to local house prices.
The new definition is based on local people paying no more than 35% of their salary on mortgages or rent.
The Midland Metropolitan Hospital is being built on a six-acre site a short distance away in Grove Lane and is scheduled to open in summer 2022.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: ‘NHS and other key workers make a vital contribution to society right across the West Midlands, but like many others in the region they have seen house prices outstrip wages in recent years and found it impossible to get on the housing ladder.
‘On top of this, many also struggle to find homes close to where they work, which means long commutes and added pressure on what are already demanding jobs.
‘The WMCA and its partners are determined to tackle this housing affordability issue, and that is exactly what we are trying to do at Abberley Street and Cranford Way.
‘Not only will these homes be a stone’s throw from the Midland Metropolitan hospital, but at least 20% of the houses and apartments will be affordable including homes which specifically meet our new regional definition linked to income rather than the property market rate.’