Residents and businesses in Cofton Hackett and Longbridge gathered today to bury a time capsule at the site of a new village hall.

The capsule has been compiled by local community groups including The Cofton Village Hall Trust, Lickey Primary School, Pride of Longbridge and Cofton Hackett Brownies, along with residents living on the new development with family history linking to the renowned former Austin and MG Rover car plant.

The contents of the capsule include drawings by schoolchildren, nostalgic posters featuring cars manufactured from the Longbridge plant in its Austin heyday, leaflets from local businesses, photographs of the area and the Area Action Plan, which is the original document detailing St. Modwen’s plans to regenerate the area.

The Rev Sheri Gidney, a local resident and chair of trustees of Cofton Village Hall Trust, said:

“Longbridge has undergone a huge transformation in the last 13 years with new homes, shops, restaurants and offices created in the area. We wanted to take a moment to pause and appreciate the great progress that has been made. The completion of the new village hall in Cofton Hackett this summer will be a huge milestone, helping us strengthen an already strong community bond.”

Chris Newsome, Development Director at St. Modwen, added:

“Longbridge and Cofton Hackett are very special places and the residents and businesses have been incredibly supportive as the areas have undergone significant change. We’re pleased to be delivering initiatives that boost the sense of community and will continue to work closely with all parties as we move into the next phase of development in Longbridge.”

Construction of the village hall comes as St. Modwen reaches the half way mark in its programme of regeneration in Longbridge. To date, it has delivered more than 1,100 homes with another 400 under construction, more than 1m sq ft of commercial floor space; including a £70 million town centre comprising the Midlands’ largest Marks & Spencer, a Sainsbury’s supermarket, further retail stores occupied by the likes of Boots and Mountain Warehouse, a leisure scheme that includes a Premier Inn hotel, pubs and restaurants, a 60,000 sq ft Technology Park, a £66m purpose-built Bournville College, the three-acre Austin Park, 180 beds of bespoke medical accommodation for the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation and a 260 apartment Extracare retirement village. St. Modwen has created more than 3,000 jobs with more in the pipeline as the next phase of development starts this year, kicking off with the delivery of a 21,000 sq ft office – known as 3 Devon Way- which has already been pre-let.

As the construction of the village hall nears completion, The Cofton Village Hall Trust is raising money to make it ready for public use. St. Modwen has paid for the building and fittings, but funds for contents and start-up costs must be raised locally. At least £40,000 is needed and the trustees are working hard to secure grants, as well as organising community fundraising activities. The Trust is asking for donations to help make the hall fully functional. For more information visit www.coftonvillagehall.org, donate directly at www.gofundme.com/CoftonVillageHall or get in touch with The Trust’s secretary, Shelagh O’Loughlin, on 0121 447 745.