Regenerating North Solihull is Shortlisted for Boosting Economic Growth Award

Regen and Renewal magazine is the industry magazine for regeneration projects. The North Solihull Regeneration Project has been shortlisted for an award in 2012 under the heading Boosting Economic Growth.

Our Submission:

Category Specific Criteria:

Using the momentum of a significant programme of physical regeneration, 'Regenerating North Solihull' is acting as a catalyst to boost the local economy and generate employment opportunities. The comprehensive nature of the project has also helped to secure investment from funding bodies such as the European Regional Development Fund, Homes and Communities Agency and the Local Enterprise Partnership, which in turn is being used to support local initiatives. 

These are just some examples of what is happening in North Solihull:

Local Labour clauses are built into major contracts. Overall, 47% of Bellway Homes site labour been recruited from the Solihull area, 23% form North Solihull. 12 apprentices have been employed on Bellway sites.

Future Jobs Programme created 86 jobs in painting, carpentry and building maintenance in partnership with Solihull Community Housing (47 employed from North Solihull)

A Construction Manager works closely with contractors to identify employment supply chain opportunities for local businesses (21% of sub-contractors to Bellway are from the local Solihull area)

An Employment Support Programme is helping local people into work e.g.  Paul Thompson, who with the help of an employment outreach officer has secured a job with Solihull Council's grounds maintenance contractor.

Solihull Council's Enterprise for Success programme, which provides free, confidential business support, is making a real difference to new and developing businesses in North Solihull, for example:

·         Gary Jakeman, who found himself out of work after 20 years of employment, turned his interest in country sports and wildlife into a new business. Pied Piper Pest Control, specialises in wildlife management as well as providing a  full range of pest control services across the West Midlands region

·         Chris Whiteman, who has grown his business from a one-man band to employing 12 people and has successfully merged with another company to form BRS Security Limited and has opened a second branch near Manchester.

·         Chris Leake, who after working for a major tyre fitting company ahs opened up his own alloy wheel repair business in Chelmsley Wood, the Alloy Wheel Doctor.

·         Generating Employment Opportunities (GEO) is supporting SME's. This free service offered to businesses has resulted in the creation of  37 Apprenticeships  12 of these were filled by North Solihull Residents.

In addition planning consent has been granted for a new Enterprise Centre providing 10,000 sq.ft of accommodation for SME's, which will address the growing demand for business space.

General Critera:

Regenerating North Solihull - The Bigger Picture

Regenerating North Solihull is bringing forward a programme of holistic and sustainable regeneration within the three wards of Chelmlsey Wood, Smith's Wood and Kingshurst & Fordbridge, which are in top 10 most deprived areas in the Country.  The whole project area covers 1000 acres, with a population of around 40,000 across 18,200 households. 

Established in 2005, the project is delivered by the North Solihull Partnership (NSP), a Local Asset Backed Vehicle bringing together Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Bellway Homes, Sigma Inpartnership Ltd and WM Whitefriars Housing. Sitting alongside the legal structures of the NSP are strategic regeneration partners the Homes & Communities Agency and Solihull Community Housing, the Council's ALMO.

The strength of the Partnership, financial commitment of Partners, external funding from the HCA and European Regional Development Fund and the diversity and comprehensive nature of the project have enabled the NSP to continue to move the project forward despite the economic climate.  So, what have we achieved?

  • Three new primary schools completed and open
  • Construction started on fourth primary school with integrated community facilities and a church building
  • Construction started on a new high street which will serve a new Village Centre in Smith's Wood, (shops, offices, assisted living scheme, housing, doctors)
  • Planning consent for a second Village Centre in Craig Croft, including a new enterprise centre, shops, medical centre and offices
  • Around £1m invested in social & economic projects including an Employment Support Programme, Construction Manager, Young Enterprise projects, capacity building projects and small grants for community groups.
  • Over £1m invested in improving open space and play facilities
  • 781 new homes built
  • 584 properties demolished/being demolished including three tower blocks

Regenerating North Solihull is changing the way neighbourhoods look and feel and is improving the quality and choice of housing for local people.  New schools are transforming the spaces in which children learn and grow and new village centres bring together key services and retail provision in high quality buildings and public realm.

It is also regenerating local communities and developing the capacity of local people to actively engage in the changes that are taking place and capturing the 'added value' generated by the programme to create opportunities for training, employment and growth. The project is underpinned by partnership working, which is the key to making this project a success and has been evidenced in the projects achievements to date. 

All of the Regeneration & Renewal Awards category winners will be announced at the awards ceremondy being held in November 2012

In March 2011 the project was also listed as no. 9 in the magazines Top 100 Regeneration Projects listing. The list now in its fifth year, provides an annual snapshot of the UK's physical regeneration schemes.