Regeneration Projects: Longbridge

John Redmond
Social and economic regeneration of Longbridge continues, transforming this once industrial area bridging Birmingham and Worcestershire.

One of the largest regeneration projects in the West Midlands, St. Modwen’s £1 billion Longbridge scheme has successfully progressed during the recession, in its aim to create a new community with an anticipated 10,000 job opportunities. The autumn 2013 opening of the first phase of Longbridge town centre will bring investment at the site up to £250 million since its acquisition in 2003 by the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, St. Modwen.

One of the largest regeneration projects in the West Midlands, St. Modwen’s £1 billion Longbridge scheme has successfully progressed during the recession...

This investment has included the Innovation Centre and Two Devon Way at the Longbridge Technology Park; Cofton Centre; the £66 million new Bournville College, which opened in September 2011; the first 113 of up to 2,000 new homes which have been delivered in partnership with the government’s Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), and a £5 million youth centre, The Factory, which opened in summer 2012. Over 2,725 permanent jobs have been secured in the last six years, with 348 full time equivalent jobs created during the construction process. The total number of jobs created is set to exceed 4,000 over the next two years.

Encouragingly, 75 per cent of the first phase of the town centre development is pre-sold, pre-let or under offer. There is a Sainsbury’s store, a 75 bedroom Premier Inn and Beefeater Grill, cafés and restaurants. Construction of two new office buildings, Park Point and Seven House, will also be completed this summer, complementing the existing office space at the adjacent Longbridge Technology Park. The former home of the iconic Mini, Longbridge’s industrial heritage as the MG Rover site is now fading as the 468 acre scheme finds new inspiration in the greenery of the surrounding Lickey Hills, the nearby Cofton Park and new public parks and open spaces.

Sustainability is an important part of the overall regeneration, and the project aims to recycle 95 per cent of on-site material during the development process.

Sustainability is an important part of the overall regeneration, and the project aims to recycle 95 per cent of on-site material during the development process. Bio-remediation techniques have been used to recycle soil which may have been contaminated by oil and other hydro carbons. The three acre Austin Park is an integral part of the scheme and is the first public park to be built in South West Birmingham in 50 years. Named after Lord Austin of Longbridge, who founded the Austin Motor Company in 1905, the park includes a 255 metre stretch of the River Rea which was buried under the old factory for nearly 100 years. The river will be returned to an open water course and will be a key feature, together with hundreds of new plants and trees.

Faithful+Gould has been part of the Longbridge regeneration story from the earliest days, beginning with the initial demolition and remediation phases, the infrastructure and preparation for plot development, and onwards into construction.

Faithful+Gould has been part of the Longbridge regeneration story from the earliest days, beginning with the initial demolition and remediation phases, the infrastructure and preparation for plot development, and onwards into construction. Our role includes cost manager, employer’s agent, CDMC, and sustainability services for BREEAM accreditation. Specific challenges have included the multi-stakeholder nature of this large and complex project. Now that much of the site is operational, there are physical and scheduling constraints and we are drawing on our project management skills to navigate these. We have significant experience of regeneration projects, encompassing a range of challenging schemes, and have used our detailed knowledge of funding mechanisms to support both public and private sector clients.

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