Leading UK regeneration specialist St Modwen and Regional Development Agency Advantage West Midlands have today taken a major step towards delivering 10,000 new jobs at Longbridge, and to creating a secure and positive future for local people with the submission of four major planning applications for the area.
The planning applications, representing £750 million of mixed use development, have been submitted to Birmingham City Council and Bromsgrove District Council. Covering Longbridge North, Longbridge West and Longbridge East, together with improvements to the A38, the applications respond to the Longbridge Area Action Plan (LAAP), which was submitted to the Government in March 2008.
Spearheading the landmark regeneration of the former MG Rover Works, joint landowners St Modwen and Advantage West Midlands have sent out the strongest signal to-date that its vision of an employment-led heart for the 468 acre Longbridge site is significantly closer to becoming reality. It has also demonstrated that this transformation will be driven by the principles of sustainability, a new community and inclusiveness.
Bill Oliver, chief executive of St Modwen, said: “Longbridge is a site with a world-renowned heritage and today we have moved this area of the Midlands into a new and incredibly exciting era. The potential Longbridge has to become a thriving economic hub and a sustainable new residential community is now apparent; and it is more than matched by the vision and confidence St Modwen and Advantage West Midlands have in Longbridge as we enter this new chapter in its history.”
Subject to planning approval, the next 15 years will see an additional 1.8 million sq ft of employment opportunities for Longbridge, together with 1,980 new homes. A new town centre just off the A38 Bristol Road South will form a new heart for the community, and will be conveniently located adjacent to the existing Longbridge train station.
Mick Laverty, Chief Executive of Advantage West Midlands, said: “Today represents a major milestone for Longbridge. Having consulted with the local community over recent years, all parties involved in taking the project to its present stage are acutely aware that there is a real sense of expectation and hope around a brighter future of Longbridge.”
“The submission of four major planning applications provides a clear statement of intent, showing the scale and ambition of what Advantage West Midlands and St Modwen expect to deliver over the next 15 years, and highlighting the level of our commitment and continued investment into Longbridge.”
There will be a new learning quarter on the site earmarked for the town centre, anchored by Bournville College which announced earlier this year that it will relocate to a new purpose-built £84 million educational facility at Longbridge in 2011.
Landmark architecture will help to build a sense of place for Longbridge and will act as a beacon for those entering and leaving the area. Whereas landscaping and public realm will play a crucial role in creating distinctive routes and spaces in and around Longbridge, and will provide focal areas for recreation and community interaction.
There will be a 4.2 acre Austin Park at the heart of the town centre and an 11 acre Rea Park at Longbridge West. Longbridge East will feature 11 acres of dedicated public open space, known as Arrow Park at the core of what will be a new residential community. Two of Birmingham’s long forgotten rivers, the Rivers Rea and Arrow, will be opened up for the first time in decades and will be a feature at Longbridge.
The aspiration for Longbridge is that it will be developed as an exemplar of sustainability. All new residential properties are expected to meet the Code for Sustainable Homes Level Four as a minimum. It is envisaged that all office buildings will achieve BREEAM ‘excellent’, and the need for a centralised or community renewable energy generation has been identified for the site.
Richard Burden, MP for Northfield (Lab), said: “In setting out their vision for the transformation of Longbridge, I welcome St Modwen and Advantage West Midlands’ emphasis on their long term commitment to the delivery of a mixed use scheme that is a model of sustainable regeneration – for the benefit of the local community, the region and beyond. Along with others, I look forward to seeing these planning applications and discussing the details of what is being proposed so that the regeneration of this area can be as successful as possible.”
The development straddles both Birmingham and Bromsgrove in Worcestershire. Councillor Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council and Councillor Roger Hollingworth, Leader of Bromsgrove Council, said: “This is a hugely exciting project of immense national importance; however the sensitively placed emphasis on putting the heart back in the local community is absolutely the right approach to putting Longbridge back on the map – as a place where people want to live, work, visit and invest.”
For more information please contact:
Mike Murray, St Modwen 0121 222 9400
Juliet Collings/Alun Thorne, Core 0121 643 8151
Notes to Editor:
The Longbridge Area Action Plan was drawn up following an extensive public consultation exercise and will be not only the biggest regeneration project in the Midlands but the most important. The ambitious plans have already received praise from the Government and the community, and will showcase the highest standards of sustainable living to be found anywhere in the UK.
For further information please visit www.longbridgebirmingham.co.uk.