North Solihull Partnership wins top National award

 (30th September 2008)

The partnership that is behind the massive regeneration of the north of the borough has won a prestigious national award.

The North Solihull Partnership has won Regeneration Partnership of the Year in the Regeneration and Renewal magazine Awards 2008.

The project is a15 year, £1.8billion public/private sector scheme that aims to redevelop the three most deprived wards in North Solihull, West Midlands – Chelmsley Wood, Kingshurst and Fordbridge, and Smiths Wood.

The project area covers 1,000 acres, with a population of 40,000 across around 16,500 households. It is considered one of the largest "council estates" in Europe, having been built in the mid-late 1960s in mainly the Radburn design.

The Partnership consists of Bellway Homes, Solihull Council , registered social landlord Whitefriars Housing Group, and regeneration specialist Inpartnership.

Central to winning the award are the Partnership's many achievements.

These include three completed housing schemes, occupied by a large number of local people, and more well underway – in total 224 houses and apartments are completed, 123 underway and 265 have been submitted for or granted planning permission.

23 social rented units are complete with new occupiers are moving in, and a further 17 going through planning process.

At the heart of the programme is the £70m investment in 10 new extended primary schools.

The new £7m KingshurstPrimary School, the first of the primary schools, opened its doors in January 2208, and work is well on its way on the new £7m school on the North Arran Way site, due to open early 2009.

And a planning application has been submitted for a third school, St Anne's and St Patrick's.

The schools will have a community focus, providing places for residents to access services eg one school has spaces for health visitors to meet with parents, a community creche, and a self issue library access point.

Other key achievements so far include:

·         59 owners have sold their properties to the Partnership and moved to new homes. 344 tenants have been successfully rehoused

·         Extensive consultation and engagement with local people, in particular around the phasing plans, green space, new housing and development of village centres. This has been  via roadshows, newsletters, leaflets, one-one and group meetings – more than 2200 hours of community consultation has taken place from June 2006 to January 2008. This shows how the Partnership is keen to undertake the project with people, rather than doing it to them

·         Outline planning permission has been granted for the £20million North Arran Way Village Centre and detailed planning permission for the first phase of retail, office and residential development granted

·         An outline planning application for the £45million Craig Croft Village Centre is due to be submitted for planning permission

·         The number of local workers employed at the first phase of new development in the area is 50%

The project's socio-economic programme has invested £500,000 in projects designed to help local residents with training, jobs and starting their own businesses. It also helps young people develop life skills and work with community groups to improve small areas of neglected land in their areas and help to ensure the benefits of regeneration are felt through the whole community One example is a sport initiative called, NS Fusion. Aimed at four priority regeneration locations with higher levels of crime and unemployment, it targets 10-24 year olds

Janet Bradbury, Chief Executive of the North Solihull Partnership said: "This is truly wonderful news. We are delighted to win this national award after only three years of work, and this is true recognition that we are leaders in the field of regeneration. We are transforming North Solihull in so many ways, and it is so much more than housing – it's about people, society, health, education, employment and improving the lives for everyone who lives in the area. We now look forward to moving onwards with this groundbreaking project."


NOTE TO EDITORS:Media queries should be directed to Angharad Lynch 0121 704 6164; Julie Turner 0121 704 8172; Nina Scott 0121 704 6444 or Gemma Shryane 0121 704 6136.