House builder gears up for new developments with local appointments

(14th December 2006)

Bellway Homes has employed two new site managers and a labourer from North Solihull as it prepares for the next stage of the area's £1.8bn regeneration programme.

The housebuilder, which is one of four partners within the North Solihull Partnership, is currently nearing completion at the first phase of the massive regeneration project that will eventually see 8,000 new homes built over the next 15 years. The £7m residential scheme at Alcott Grove off Winchester Drive in Chelmsley Wood, which is made up of 32 houses and 16 apartments, is due for completion next spring and is one of three sites where work has already begun.

The second development project that has started on site is Chapel Walk, located off Chapelhouse Road in Fordbridge, encompassing 85 houses and apartments, and planning has just been granted for a third site on the location of the old Merstone School in Chelmsley Wood.

Bellway Homes is now putting together the construction teams for a further four locations for new housing, which should all have passed through the planning system by next summer.

In an attempt to engage the local community in Regenerating North Solihull, the development consortium has made concerted efforts to employ local workers where possible and Bellway Homes regularly benefits from at least half its workforce at Alcott Grove coming from the local area. 

Site manager Dave Vincent, from Smith's Wood, has been in construction for more than 30 years and is looking forward to working at one of the new developments in the New Year after recently being taken on by Bellway Homes.

He said: "In all my years in the industry this is the first time I have ever worked in Solihull which is fantastic as I live just up the road. I remember when it was all green fields around here and then they built the new estate and it was where everybody wanted to live. But that was a long time ago and there is no doubt that the area is now in desperate need of a serious facelift."

Andy Spencer, who is from Kingshurst, has also just joined the company as a site manager and believes the regeneration of North Solihull hasn't come a moment too soon.

The 38-year-old said: "This whole area has had too little investment for years, so the work that the North Solihull Partnership is doing will make a huge difference to thousands of people. It is also nice for people like myself to not only see how North Solihull is going to change for the better in the coming years but also to actually be part of that."

Tony Bunn, who is also from North Solihull, has worked for years as a sub-contractor for Bellway Homes before being taken on as a labourer full time.

He said: "Anyone who works in the construction industry will tell you that one of the down sides is often the miles you have to travel to work and back, so to be taken on by Bellway and get the chance to work on this huge project right on my doorstep is great."

Bellway Homes' construction manager Mark Walker said the recruitment drive would continue as the regeneration progressed.

He said: "This is a 15 year scheme, so there are going to be significant employment opportunities on offer during that time. If a good percentage of those workers are coming from the local area then not only is it going to be convenient for them and us, but will also help the regeneration project by boosting the local economy along the way."

Supporting the development of new homes, and acting as a crucial element of the large scale community revival programme, five new mixed-use village centres will be created across North Solihull, incorporating retail, healthcare, work space and community facilities, and new extended primary schools will also be built. The school rebuilding programme will enable each primary school aged child to have a place in a new school.

The North Solihull Partnership consists of house builder Bellway Homes, investment-led regeneration company Inpartnership, Solihull Council and Registered Social Landlord Whitefriars Housing Group.


For further info, please contact Charlotte Crossley or Alun Thorne, Core Marketing, 0121 643 8151.