Work has begun on the infrastructure to transform the iconic 75-acre West Works site at West Longbridge.
The £20m infrastructure investment is the next step in the £1 billion regeneration of Longbridge which will see the derelict West Works site transformed into the high quality Longbridge Business Park with 900,000 sq ft of commercial space creating up to 5,000 jobs and an attractive new residential neighbourhood of 350 homes.
St. Modwen is working in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the start of work follows hard on the heels an announcement in March of a £6m grant funding contribution from the WMCA to unlock the West Works scheme.
Rob Flavell, St Modwen's senior director for regeneration in the Midlands and North (left) and Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands (right) at the former West Works site in West Longbridge
Longbridge Business Park will provide a home for advanced manufacturing, high tech, research and development, health and science uses. The first phase of works is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “One of my election pledges was to create 100,000 new jobs for the region over the next two years, and regeneration of derelict industrial sites is going to be critical to achieving that.
“That’s why we are using the money we have secured from Government to transform sites like Longbridge West Works into thriving new workplaces and communities.
“The regeneration of this once iconic site is a first-class example of how we are bringing brownfield sites back into use, creating thousands of jobs and homes as well as new, modern industrial spaces.
“The pandemic has hit this region hard but by investing in our future in this way and in the type of hi-tech, green industries that will be based at the new Longbridge Business Park, I am confident we can recapture our pre-pandemic success and drive an economic recovery that benefits all our communities and the environment.”
Rob Flavell, St Modwen’s Senior Director for Regeneration in the Midlands and North, added: “The West Works site is a vital piece of the ongoing regeneration of Longbridge town centre and to see the first spades in the ground is a huge milestone for the area.
“Our plans for West Longbridge signify our key objectives for the wider redevelopment of Longbridge – creating an amazing place with modern working environments, high-quality homes and attractive public spaces which will bring wide ranging benefits to those who live, work or visit the area.
“This first phase of infrastructure works will help us to accelerate the delivery of the site. We’ve already been receiving strong enquiries from high-quality, renowned businesses for the commercial spaces and we’re looking forward to working with prospective occupiers to create environments which will produce jobs for local people and contributions to the local economy.”
St. Modwen is offering design and build opportunities on freehold and leasehold terms and has seen strong demand from the market over the past year. Occupiers will benefit from the established town centre amenities, beautiful green spaces, a wide range of modern homes and excellent sustainable transport links.
Improvement works include a new green way along a one mile stretch of the River Rea, allowing the river to be opened up to the public via new footpaths and cycle routes connecting West Longbridge and Rubery to Longbridge town centre.
West Longbridge will also feature 27 acres of open green space connected to the nearby Austin Park, in a drive to increase biodiversity and promote health and wellbeing across Longbridge.
The West Works investment is the latest in a series of key milestones at Longbridge as momentum increases in 2021. It follows recent announcements including a new green heart in the town centre, public realm improvements on Longbridge Lane and a new link from Austin Park to West Longbridge along with a unique public art installation.
So far St. Modwen has overseen the regeneration of around half of the wider Longbridge works which it bought in 2003. Once complete, it is expected to create up to 4,000 new homes, two million sq ft of commercial development and 10,000 jobs, transforming Longbridge into a modern, attractive environment in which to live and work.