News

£1.8billion North Solihull Redevelopment Programme Agreed

(24th March 2006)

The work programme for the UK's largest community-led regeneration project has been outlined, detailing the timeframe for injecting £1.8billion of investment into one of the UK's top 10 per cent deprived neighbourhoods.

The Regenerating North Solihull project covers the Wards of Chelmsley Wood, Smith's Wood, Kingshurst & Fordbridge, spanning a total of 1,000 acres. With the principal goal of improving the lives of the 40,000 residents who live in the area, an innovative specialist development vehicle has been working strategically for the past two years to analyse the wide-ranging needs of the local community. As a result of intensive neighbourhood consultation, a plan has been developed tabling when each of the 15 neighbourhoods will undertake physical regeneration.

The North Solihull Partnership, a development consortium consisting of housebuilder Bellway Homes, investment-led regeneration company Inpartnership, Solihull Council and Registered Social Landlord Whitefriars Housing Group is responsible for the pioneering 15-year project.

Duncan Sutherland, managing director of Inpartnership comments: "Whilst high profile London initiatives such as the Thames Gateway housing projects and the London Olympics proposals are creating entire new communities, Regenerating North Solihull is about working intensely with the local population to deliver sustainable change.

"Whilst it would be reasonable to think that in an area dominated by 16,500 homes built in the 1960's, the first course of action would be to start to remodel it, feedback from the community has established that creating better primary schools needs to be our first priority. Using this knowledge, the timeframe that we have created details which schools are to be re-built when, in conjunction with the wider neighbourhood planning process." 

Plans for North Solihull include improving 12,500 homes and building 8,000 new properties, however, the net gain of new homes will be 4,500.

Non-housing elements of the project include the creation of an initial 10 primary schools - with significant extended services - at a cost of around £70million, enabling a new school to be within 0.5miles of home for most children. Five of the new primary schools will be built as part of five proposed village centres, which will deliver a further £100million of investment. The village centres will act as a 'hub' for each local residential area, containing health services, shopping and first class community facilities.

A similar level of expenditure is likely to be ploughed into transport and infrastructure improvements to improve access to the wider West Midlands conurbation, enhancing prosperity and access to jobs and training. The physical changes to the area will also create safer outdoor spaces for the whole community to enjoy.

Mr Sutherland continued: "The order in which North Solihull's 15 neighbourhoods will be regenerated has broadly been decided upon based on where the biggest community improvements can be made. There are around 1,500 homes in each neighbourhood and it is expected that it will take up to five years to complete each of the 15 programmes of physical change.

"Meanwhile, the desire to see better schools created within North Solihull means that we have been working with parents, teachers and many other stakeholders to identify sites where new schools are most needed and minimal land assembly work is required. By identifying development land, we are on track to deliver the first new school as early as September 2007."

Swift progress has been brought about for Regenerating North Solihull, with a Strategic Planning Framework approved by Solihull Council Cabinet in February 2005, and a Partnership agreement being signed in May of last year. Prior to the ordering for all 15 neighbourhoods being decided, final Phasing Plans have been distributed to all residents in the first two 'pilot' neighbourhoods: Craig Croft in Chelmsley Wood and

North Arran Way in Smith's Wood, where the first stage of intervention is due to commence later this year.

In Neighbourhoods 3 and 4: Kingshurst and the adjacent Babbs Mill, stage three of the consultative five-stage Neighbourhood Planning process is about to take place. Demonstrating the pace of change that the North Solihull Partnership is adopting, the first stage of Neighbourhood Planning is also due to commence this summer for Neighbourhoods 5 and 6; West Chelmsley Road and Alcott Hall, both in Chelmsley Wood, meaning that consultation and development work will have begun in six of the 15 neighbourhood zones before the year is out. Further information regarding Regenerating North Solihull can be obtained by contacting the Regeneration Team on 0800 386 7997 or visiting www.solihull.gov.uk/about/regeneration

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