Members of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and civic leaders welcomed Minister of State for Housing and Planning Brandon Lewis on a visit to Stafford to discuss housing provision.
The meeting was arranged to provide an opportunity for the Minister to hear about the housing and planning initiatives taking place in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP area – in particular the pace of achievement in delivering housing in Stafford linked to the redeployment of three Signals regiments from Germany back to the UK.
The showpiece new housing scheme for Army personnel at Beaconside, Stafford, plus a new school nearby, is part of a major expansion at MoD Stafford, bringing jobs and growth to the borough.
The LEP is also engaged on a programme of work to help deliver the right housing in the right places for local people to benefit, a crucial element in ensuring a successful and stable economy in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.
Earlier in the autumn, the LEP welcomed more than 70 builders, developers, landowners and representatives of housing associations and local authorities to a joint seminar with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to look at the assistance available in getting schemes off the ground.
There are support opportunities for all sizes of developers in our area to get projects ranging in size from five homes upwards off the ground, with a range of sites and investment options available, including loans towards infrastructure development and building projects, and grant aid.
Brandon Lewis was welcomed to Stafford by Councillor Patrick Farrington, Leader of Stafford Borough Council, and LEP board member with responsibility for housing. Also at the meeting were Councillor Philip Atkins, leader of Staffordshire County Council and a LEP board member, Ian Thompson, Chief Executive of Stafford Borough Council, Ted Manders, Head of Planning and Regeneration at Stafford Borough Council, Steve Winterflood, Chief Executive of South Staffordshire Council, and Paul Gascoine, Senior Area Manager for Stoke and Staffordshire, Homes and Communities Agency.
Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said: “I have seen myself the excellent work the Stafford and Stoke on Trent local enterprise partnership are doing to create growth and support local housebuilding. This includes encouraging more businesses into the area to create new jobs and working across the public and private sector to get the extra homes built that hard working families and first time buyers need. And I was impressed to hear of the pace of building at Beaconside, to get homes ready in time for army personnel returning from Germany.”
Councillor Patrick Farrington said: “It was a great opportunity to speak to the minister and give him an insight into the huge amount of regeneration that is happening across Stafford Borough and the valuable role the council and its partners have played in making this happen.
“Key to our growth and prosperity is the delivery of new homes and an example of that partnership working was the flagship housing development for the MoD to cater for the soldiers and their families returning from Germany – which the minister was extremely impressed with.”
Brandon Lewis, centre, is pictured with Councillor Patrick Farrington, left, and Councillor Philip Atkins.