Housebuilding has commenced on the site of a derelict Black Country steelworks in Walsall, which will transform the site into a new 252-home community.
The scheme on Green Lane, named Lockside, is the first development for joint venture (JV) developer Anthem Lovell LLP. The JV is a partnership between leading developer, Lovell, and Anthem Homes, a subsidiary of Midlands’ housing provider and place shaper, whg.
This follows the clean-up of the former Caparo Engineering works in Walsall made possible with a multi-million-pound investment from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) under its ‘brownfield first’ policy. The approach unlocks and prioritises former industrial sites for new development ahead of green belt land, working in partnership with Walsall Council.
Stuart Penn, regional managing director at Lovell (left) and Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, on site as work gets underway on the new Lockside housing scheme
The £44 million development will see the derelict 16-acre site brought back into economic use, injecting new life and a sense of place into this important canal-side site.
Lockside will bring a selection of one, two, three and four-bedroom homes with 132 available for open market sale through Lovell Homes, with whg taking on 120 properties including, 32 for private rent, 38 for affordable rent and shared ownership and a 50-unit wellbeing housing scheme for over-55s.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “We announced the funding deal for Lockside at the end of February last year, and a couple of weeks later we were hit by the outbreak of Covid-19.
“So it’s really encouraging that despite 12 months of turmoil and uncertainty caused by the pandemic, we have still been able to press ahead and complete the clean-up of this site and are now seeing new homes rise from the ground.
“Covid-19 has hit this region harder than most, but throughout the crisis we have continued to use the money we have won from Government to transform derelict sites like this one in Walsall to give local people the opportunity of a good quality, affordable home. As well as providing homes for the future, our clean-up of derelict brownfield sites to make way for housebuilding helps to create local jobs for local people in the construction sector, whilst also protecting precious greenbelt land across the West Midlands.”
Stuart Penn, regional managing director at Lovell, said: “I’m delighted to mark this exiting milestone at Lockside as we see progress on this joint venture scheme which will expedite the delivery of much-needed new homes to Walsall.
“The development will considerably boost the local economy as we continue to deal with the backdrop of the pandemic whilst creating jobs, training opportunities and apprenticeships alongside a new community for the people of Walsall.”
Gary Fulford, Group CEO of whg and director of Anthem Homes, said: “This development will be transformative. We are focused on creating a sustainable and safe community where people can lead happy, healthy lives. Lockside will be a well-designed development of quality, affordable homes close to the town centre. Most importantly, it will be a place people will be proud to call their home.
“It’s great to see that the remediation work has been completed and the layout beginning to take shape. I look forward to seeing the construction of much-needed new homes in the months ahead.”
Councillor Mike Bird, added: “The Lockside development is a shining example of what the public and private sector can achieve when they are working together.
“The transformational investment from the WMCA has enabled a site that has been a derelict eyesore for many years to be brought forward as an exciting opportunity to build much needed homes and become a catalyst for major regeneration in the area.”
The project is expected to take five years to complete, with the first homes predicted to be ready in October 2021. It is anticipated that projects like this, by Anthem Lovell, will to make a significant contribution to the region’s target of delivering 215,000 new homes by 2031.