Major housing projects across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire due to be confirmed

Claire Ward (right) arrives at Downing Street with Sadiq Khan and Tracy Brabin
-Credit: (Image: Alice Hodgson/No 10 Downing Street)

An announcement is due in the next few weeks on where major housing projects will be based on brownfield land across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire as the mayor covering the counties said she had been "oversubscribed" with potential projects. Labour's Claire Ward, elected as the first East Midlands Mayor in May, was at a meeting in Downing Street with Prime Minister Keir Starmer along with regional mayors from across the country on Tuesday (July 9).

The meeting was held for the Prime Minister and his deputy, Angela Rayner, to set out their commitment to the handing of further powers from Whitehall to local mayors like Ms Ward. The Labour mayor leads the East Midlands Combined County Authority, which has been given guaranteed funding of £1.14 billion over the next 30 years.

The authority has also been given a ring-fenced pot of £16.8 million to be spent on new housing projects on brownfield land. The East Midlands Mayor now says she will soon be in a position to set out where that housing will go.

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Ms Ward said: "We know we're oversubscribed already and in the next few weeks we'll be talking about the projects that have been successful. But there are opportunities sitting outside of that that the government can help us with."

The mayor said that in the meeting with Keir Starmer, she had pushed for him to consider all the housing projects that she will not be able to fund with the £16.8 million currently allocated. Yet Ms Ward said she was confident mayors like herself would be given increased flexibility on funding in future.

The East Midlands Mayor also believes more money currently held in Whitehall will be handed down to local mayors and that reforms to the planning system will allow big projects to happen sooner. Ms Ward said: "If you look at big regional planning opportunities, what we don't want is for those things to get stuck for years in the planning system."

Such changes mean that Ms Ward believes she will "absolutely" be able to get tangible projects off the ground within her current term, which ends in four years. The East Midlands Mayor said she pushed her belief at the meeting that each region has its own "peculiarities, specialities and opportunities".

Ms Ward said clean energy and advanced manufacturing were the key East Midlands opportunities she raised at the meeting. The mayor said Keir Starmer was "particularly surprised" to hear that the new Everton stadium was being built "brick by brick" in the East Midlands.

The new 52,000-seat stadium is being built at the Laing O'Rourke Centre of Excellence for Modern Construction, on the Worksop and Bolsover border. The East Midlands Mayor also said on the general atmosphere at the meeting, also attended by figures including Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan: "It was really positive...The point is that the Prime Minister was committed to working with the mayors and for the Prime Minister to get us in on day four of this government shows the importance of devolution and what we can do."