News

Local workforce reaches 50 per cent at Alcott Grove, North Solihull

(27th November 2006)

The number of local workers employed at the first phase of new development in the Regenerating North Solihull initiative has reached 50 per cent.

Workers ranging from construction staff to electricians and cleaners who live in North Solihull are now employed at the Alcott Grove site off Winchester Drive in Chelmsley Wood. The £7m housing scheme, which is made up of 32 houses and 16 apartments, and is due to be completed next spring, is the first phase of a massive £1.8bn regeneration project by the North Solihull Partnership.

The Partnership, which consists of housebuilder Bellway Homes, investment-led regeneration company Inpartnership, Solihull Council and Registered Social Landlord Whitefriars Housing Group is committed, not just to improving the physical landscape of North Solihull, but giving the residents the opportunity to be involved in the transformation of their local area.

Janet Bradbury, chief executive of the North Solihull Partnership, said the entire project was as much about the people themselves as the built environment.

She said: "From its very inception, the whole ethos of Regenerating North Solihull has been to take the residents with us in everything that we are trying to do. We have consulted with local people at every turn to find out what they want to see from the project, and we have ensured that the new homes that we are building are targeted at those already living in the area.

"From the outset we also wanted this 15 year project to provide employment opportunities for the local community, and in Alcott Grove we are seeing this ambition become a reality."

The properties at Alcott Grove, which include high quality flats and three and four-bedroomed detached houses, are some of the first new homes to be built in the area for many years. This has been reflected in the interest from potential buyers, with over 50 per cent of the properties already sold.

Alcott Grove is just a small part of the overall regeneration scheme that will eventually see 8,000 new homes built and a further 12,500 improved over the next 15 years as well as the construction of up to 10 new primary schools and five village centres.

In total at least 18,000 construction jobs are expected to be created during this period and Mark Walker, construction manager for Bellway Homes – one of the four partners in the development consortium, believes that many of those jobs will go to the local community.

He said: "It is not uncommon that large construction projects have to look far and wide for sufficient skilled and unskilled labour, but here in North Solihull we are very fortunate to have such a large and enthusiastic labour force on our doorstep.

"It is typical throughout the country that many workers in construction and associated trades will travel miles to work. However, we are very pleased that many of the workers on the first two development sites in North Solihull- from carpenters to electricians to bricklayers to cleaners - are increasingly from the local area.

"Whilst we cannot claim that this is a unique situation, what is different is that we find that we have workers who have grown up in this area and have an emotional attachment to North Solihull and that can only be good news for the overall regeneration project." 

The second Regenerating North Solihull development project that has started on site is Chapel Walk, located off Chapelhouse Road in Fordbridge. Encompassing 85 houses and apartments, this £15million development represents the biggest single investment in housing in North Solihull for many years.

The North Solihull Partnership reports that there are many employment opportunities in the construction industry ranging from woodwork to roofing to bricklaying to engineering, with most people gaining qualifications as they work through apprentice schemes.

If you are interested in a career in construction and being a part of the regeneration of North Solihull then visit www.bconstructive.co.uk for more information.

Solihull College also run several courses in construction and can help in finding information about possible apprenticeships. For more details call 0121 678 7001/2.

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