An early milestone in the ambitious council-led plans to redevelop Kingshurst Village Centre has been reached as the first significant phase of site clearance gets underway.
With £5.5m backing from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Solihull Council has been developing plans for the wholesale transformation and renewal of Kingshurst Village Centre.
At the start of the year Birmingham based contractors, City Demolition were appointed to carry out the first phase of site clearance and demolition works. This early stage work will involve taking down the old clinic building on Colling Walk and nearby garage blocks as well as the demolition of the former housing office (Solihull Youth Hub building) on Church Close once completely vacant.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands (left) and Cllr Ian Courts, leader of Solihull Council visiting the demolition site
A phased approach to the overall scheme is being adopted in an effort to minimise disruption to those living and working in Kingshurst while ensuring essential community services can remain open throughout the regeneration.
The current phase of demolition does not include any retail units or residential properties.
A full planning application for the scheme was submitted in November which makes provision for up to 79 new sustainable homes, the majority of which will be social rented housing through Solihull Community Housing (SCH), as well as a new vicarage for St Barnabas’ Church.
It also shows an improved road layout linking the village centre to the surrounding area, with open green space and a wide footpath linking Kingshurst Park to the school and the heart of the development.
Alongside the new homes the plans also make provision for 1207m² of modern floor space for a range of retail and high street uses and a further 2,001m² for health uses and flexible community spaces, including a community café, GP, dentist, opticians and pharmacy within a Community Wellness Hub.
The Full Planning Application is based on the updated Kingshurst Masterplan, which was shared with local residents and business owners both online and as part of a series of outdoor public events last September.
Since Outline Planning Permission was granted in December 2020, feedback from consultation with residents and business has helped inform and further refine this final planning application.
The latest plans for Kingshurst aim to build on the success of previous nearby schemes at Chelmund’s Cross and Smith’s Wood to transform the area by radically redesigning the village centre. A decision on the planning application is expected in the next few weeks.
Funding for this initial phase of site clearance and demolition has come from the £1.81m of Estates Regeneration Funding allocated from the Government’s Brownfield Land Release Fund and announced in Chancellor’s Autumn Budget and Spending Review last year. This builds on funding already received from the WMCA.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Across the West Midlands, we are on a mission to rid our region of shabby, run-down, and derelict buildings that tend to act as magnets for graffiti, fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour.
“That’s why I’m so pleased to see that, supported by £5.5 million of West Midlands Combined Authority investment, the first part of site clearance and demolition of Kingshurst is moving forward to create new homes, shops and leisure facilities for local people.
“This demolition is another contribution to our ‘brownfield first’ approach and here in Solihull you can see the value of regenerating this kind of site and replacing an eyesore with a brand-new centre for the community.”
Cllr Ian Courts, leader of Solihull Council and WMCA portfolio lead for environment, energy and HS2, added: “It’s a fantastic feeling to finally see work getting underway in Kingshurst.
"It’s really important to stress that this is just the first step and that more significant demolition and eventual building works could still be a little way off.
"However, demolition of these tired and underused old buildings will pave the way for the real work to begin on creating a radical high-quality and community-focussed new centre at the heart of Kingshurst, which I know residents are desperate for us to get on with and deliver.
“Our Full Planning Application provides a blueprint for a new centre in Kingshurst, as well as improving and enhancing the physical environment.
"If approved it will help unlock some of the huge potential economic benefits Kinghurst stands to gain from its proximity to the airport, NEC, the forthcoming HS2 Interchange Station and the rest of the UK Central Hub.”