First Housing development completed from £60m brownfield fund

Political leaders from across the Liverpool City Region have visited the first housing development to be completed as part of Mayor Steve Rotheram’s £60m Brownfield Land Fund programme to create around 4,000 new homes.

Mayor Rotheram visited Finch Gardens in Dovecot, alongside Cllr Liam Robinson, the leader of Liverpool and Cllr Graham Morgan the Combined Authority’s cabinet member for housing, to see how the fund is helping to kickstart housebuilding.

The 105-property development is a partnership between the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Riverside, Liverpool City Council, and Birkenhead-based developer Lovell, and has delivered a combination of two, three and four-bedroom homes.

Finch Gardens has been created on the empty site of a former 1950s housing estate and was funded by the Mayor’s Brownfield Land Fund, Homes England, and the Recycled Capital Grant Fund.

Since the fund was announced in July 2020, the Combined Authority has already approved plans to invest £32.4m in 20 projects across the region, which could deliver more than 2,600 homes. The £60m project is expected to create around 4,000 homes.

The £280,000 grant supported construction of the £12.6m development, helping to bridge a viability gap that enabled the project to go ahead.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said, “Thanks to devolution, we’ve reversed the fortunes of a site that had been left vacant for almost 20 years and returned it back to the community in Dovecot with brand new, quality homes.

“Finch Gardens will be transformational for local people who want to get their foot on the property ladder – but this is just scratching the surface of my housebuilding ambitions for the Liverpool City Region.

“Through my Brownfield Land Fund, we’ve committed £60m to build 4,000 homes across our region, helping local people to realise their home ownership ambitions while also protecting our precious green spaces from over development. It’s proper levelling up in action and I can’t wait to see the thriving communities it helps to create.”

Councillor Liam Robinson, Leader of Liverpool City Council, said, “It’s great to see Finch Gardens completed, with many of those high-quality homes now occupied and a huge amount of interest in the development.  The range of sizes of home and different tenures on offer from Riverside are a great example of what we need to do in the city region to tackle the ongoing housing crisis. 

“I’m glad that as a city council we were able to play a major role in making this development happen.  Bringing disused land back into productive use is a great example of what we are able to do across the city region, working with the Combined Authority’s Brownfield Land Fund.”

Councillor Graham Morgan, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Portfolio Holder for Housing and Spatial Planning, said, “We are determined to ensure there is a great choice of high-quality homes, right across the city region, as part of our ambitious plans to ensure that we tackle the housing shortage. 

“Building on brownfield sites is at the heart of that process – after all there are around 700 of them with enough space to build 42,000 homes – and this development at Finch Gardens is a great example of how previously developed land can be brought back into use to deliver high-quality homes.  Across our city region developments like this are helping ensure that we are building homes to suit everybody.”

Carol Matthews, Group Chief Executive at Riverside, said, “Without the Brownfield Land Fund Grant, Riverside would have been unable to build these homes because the funding requirement from Riverside would have been too great and the scheme would have failed our viability test. The grant has made this scheme a reality and residents are enjoying their lovely new homes.

“We are most grateful for the partnership with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Liverpool City Council and Homes England in making this smashing scheme happen.”

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