Work Commences on First School in £1.8billion North Solihull Redevelopment

(15th May 2006)

Project Managers and Architects have been appointed on the first of a series of new primary schools to be delivered as part of the area changing £1.8bn Regenerating North Solihull project. As the first key milestone in the 15 year programme, the new £6m Kingshurst Primary School will be ready to welcome pupils in September 2007.

The development consortium for the project, the North Solihull Partnership, has appointed the Birmingham offices of project management company, Lend Lease Projects, and Architects Design Partnership LLP (ADP) to prepare the design concept and carry out full consultation with the local community, before submitting a planning application at the end of June 2006. Enabling works will commence this summer and a contractor will be appointed to begin the construction programme as soon as planning is obtained.

Paul Hanbury, Director of North Solihull Primary School Regeneration commented: "The decision to fast track the delivery of the first new primary school in North Solihull was taken following extensive community consultation. Ensuring children want to come to school, raising their academic achievements and expectations, and improving the quality of family and community life is at the centre of the changes we have proposed for the area.

"Being able to open the doors to a new, state of the art school in only 16 months time will deliver a resounding message to the 40,000 residents that live in North Solihull. The £6m building will act as an all-encompassing community facility incorporating a nursery, an extensive ICT resource that can be accessed by parents and the local community, as well as having a comprehensive extended school programme."

The new Kingshurst Primary School will accommodate 420 infants and juniors, as well as a 60-place nursery. The new building will be sited on part of the existing playing fields, which will be duly replaced once the existing school building is closed in July 2007.

Paul Hanbury added: "One of the key principals in the delivery of the £1.8bn investment programme is to minimise disruption to the community. We are demonstrating this principle by constructing the new Kingshurst Primary School alongside the existing building, so that school children will be able to say goodbye to their current classrooms at the end of one term and walk into their new building at the start of the next."

Design elements being considered for Kingshurst Primary School include using environmentally sound child-friendly materials to enhance the feeling of safety, remove the risk of injury, and crucially to create a welcoming environment. Creating the right balance of light levels whilst avoiding problematic glare from sunlight is another design objective, together with ensuring the new building will assist teachers in transforming all aspects of learning for children - rather than acting as a constant obstacle - as is the case with many 1960s school buildings.  

Coinciding with the delivery of the new Kingshurst Primary School, is the second stage of the intensive Neighbourhood Planning consultation process taking place throughout Kingshurst and Babbs Mill, which represent neighbourhoods three and four out of a total of 15 neighbourhoods across the 1,000 acre regeneration zone.

Alongside the new primary schools that are being delivered as part of the 15 year project, 12,500 existing homes are being improved, 8,000 new homes will be built and five new village centres will be created at a cost of £100million, incorporating enhanced local healthcare provision and additional community facilities. North Solihull's area-changing programme has been brought about because its three wards of Chelmsley Wood, Smith's Wood and Kingshurst & Fordbridge fall within the UK's top 10 per cent of deprived neighbourhoods.

The North Solihull Partnership, a development consortium consisting of housebuilder Bellway Homes, investment-led regeneration company Inpartnership, Solihull Council and Registered Social Landlord Whitefriars Housing Group is responsible for the pioneering programme.

Paul Hanbury concluded: "Following on from the pilot Kingshurst Primary School project, a further nine new extended primary schools will be created in the area, injecting a total of £60million into the education of children aged from three to 11. In addition, the Building Schools for the Future project - which North Solihull is privileged to be in receipt of the first wave of funding for - will deliver inspirational secondary schools for all, marking an additional £84m of investment in learning.

"This intensive investment injection in new educational facilities in one concentrated area has not been seen in the UK since the 1960s. We have a remarkable opportunity in North Solihull to transform education and raise achievement, and we recognise that in doing so, this project will command not only national but international attention."


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

Notes to editors:

Architects Design Partnership has extensive previous experience in creating award winning, inspirational schools, such as Riverhead Infants School in Kent, which won a national award for its grassed roof, a commendation from the Civic Trust, and was awarded 'Building of the Year' in the Kent Design Awards 2003. Furthermore, the School was given the 'Outstanding' score in its recent Ofsted inspection.

For more information on Architects Design Partnership contact Glenda Frazer: 0121 234 6440

Lend Lease Projects has developed a considerable reputation in the education sector, managing the delivery of schools projects as well as faculty buildings, sports facilities, lecture theatres, learning resource centres and student accommodation for colleges and universities, across the UK. 

For more information on Lend Lease Projects contact Andrew Isherwood: 020 8271 8348