Milestone as demolitions begin in North Solihull

(19th April 2007)

The 15 year project to transform North Solihull with £1.8 billion of investment has moved one step closer following the first major changes in the regeneration area.

Twenty five bungalows in Chelmsley Wood and Smith's Wood will be the first of more than 1,000 properties to be pulled down on a phased basis over the next five years. These essential demolitions form the basis of new village centres, new housing and more open spaces – breathing new life into the area.

The North Solihull area will be regenerated as part of a £1.8 billion investment plan by the North Solihull Partnership to significantly upgrade the three wards of Chelmsley Wood, Smith's Wood and Kingshurst & Fordbridge.

Under the proposals, the Partnership, which is made up of Solihull Council, house builder Bellway Homes, registered social landlord Whitefriars Housing Group and regeneration specialists Inpartnership, is set to build 8,000 new homes, improve 12,500 more, construct five new village centres and up to 10 new schools and make improvements to the transport infrastructure.

The first phase of clearance work will see 17 bungalows in Longley Walk in the Craig Croft area of Chelmsley Wood pulled down along with eight bungalows in Swift Close and Dee Walk in Smith's Wood.

Affected tenants have been voluntarily rehoused, through the Partnership's Home Maker and Home Purchase teams. Those rehoused include 42 tenants and two home owners from Craig Croft and 50 tenants and one home owner by agreement in Smith's Wood.

The demolished properties will form part of the new Craig Croft village centre, a new heart for the local community bringing together shops, a new school, key local services and community facilities.

Construction work is already progressing in other areas of the regeneration area with the first development at Alcott Grove in Chelmsley Wood of 32 houses and 16 apartments almost complete and the majority of the properties are already occupied.

Building has also begun on the former site of Whitesmore School on Chapelhouse Road in Chelmsley Wood where Bellway is building 85 new houses and apartments in a scheme called Chapel Walk. Construction work has also begun on the new Kingshurst Primary School.

Janet Bradbury, chief executive of North Solihull Partnership, said the first demolitions were a sign to the residents that the Partnership was delivering on its promises.

She said: "Everything that is being done in North Solihull is in consultation and agreement with the residents and that will continue to be the guiding ethos of the Partnership. The beginning of the demolitions and the rapid progress on the other construction sites I hope will send a positive message to the residents of North Solihull that we are living up to our promises and beginning to transform the area for the better.

"These necessary demolitions are just the beginning of an intensive intervention programme that in the long term will have huge benefits for North Solihull. In the short term we are determined that the lives of residents are not caused too much disruption by the work of the Partnership.

"The process of demolishing the old housing stock and replacing with new properties is a long process and our home maker and home purchase teams are working extremely hard with residents to find them new housing in which they are happy so that we can progress with the scheme."


Press release drafted by Alun Thorne. For more information contact Core Marketing on 0121 643 8151.