Work has started in Kingshurst to build 25 new sustainable social rented homes.
The net-zero carbon-regulated houses are being built on the site of the former Mountfort pub as part of a much wider regeneration scheme to completely transform Kingshurst Village Centre. Set to be delivered in phases, the final scheme will provide a new mix of sustainable housing and modern retail space, centred around a brand-new community health and wellness hub.
Solihull Council have appointed national contractor Willmott Dixon to deliver this initial phase of housing development, which will include three and four-bedroom family homes as well as one-bedroom maisonettes, helping to meet the specific needs of the Kingshurst community.
Prioritising energy efficient materials in what’s known as a ‘fabric-first approach’, the modern homes will be built using timber-frames with a high air tightness score and low U-value windows for maximum thermal efficiency. This will ensure the new homes are both well insulated and economical to heat. Each property will also utilise air source heat pumps instead of traditional gas boilers and will be fitted with integrated solar PV panels to provide additional power. Once built the new homes will be managed by Solihull Community Housing (SCH) on behalf of the Council.
This exciting latest step marks a major milestone for the Council-led regeneration scheme and will make a significant initial contribution to the 78 new homes envisioned in the Kingshurst Masterplan.
Linked to this phase of the scheme, the contractor will be helping to deliver a Kingshurst Construction Training Hub, unlocking opportunities for local residents looking to take their first steps into the construction industry.
Training delivered through the Hub will combine construction work practice, classroom-based learning and employability support, providing learners with the basic skills and experience needed to begin an exciting career in construction. This Council initiative is being funded through the West Midlands Combined Authority and will be delivered in partnership with Willmott Dixon and Solihull College & University Centre and RMF Group.
Elsewhere in the village centre, the first significant stage of demolition, which included dismantling the entire body of the main shopping parade, was concluded in August. Prior to this, key shops and businesses, including the local co-op, were successfully relocated to nearby buildings outside of the initial demolition area. This temporary arrangement is allowing important local services to continue operating throughout the regeneration scheme, reducing the disruption to local residents.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council and Portfolio Holder for the Economy, said:
“This is a huge day for Kingshurst as this first phase of construction officially gets underway.
“It marks an important first step in delivering on a much wider scheme that will totally transform Kingshurst, while also helping to address the current shortfall of affordable housing in Solihull and bring the long vacant former Mountfort pub site back into use.
“This has been a complex scheme from the start, but one we are committed to making sure we get right. The 25 new homes being built here have been designed with the highest energy efficiency standards in mind and will serve as an exemplar for what can be achieved for the rest of the scheme and elsewhere across the borough.”
Fiona Hughes, Chief Executive at Solihull Community Housing, said:
“We have worked closely with Solihull Council, local residents and key stakeholders to help shape the vision for a redeveloped Kingshurst Village Centre. It’s really exciting to see that vision start to be realised with the delivery of much needed, high quality sustainable and affordable new homes in Kingshurst.
“I’m proud of the efforts being taken to ensure they are as energy efficient as possible while utilizing renewable and low carbon energy solutions. As we continue to see uncertainty in the energy market, measures like these will help protect our residents from the threat of fuel poverty while ensuring they have high quality, warm and efficient new homes.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:
“Advancing the regeneration of Kingshurst village centre has been a key priority for me as Mayor – and of course a really important scheme for Solihull as well as the wider region.
“That’s why it’s wonderful to be able to congratulate Solihull Council on their leadership of this project – ensuring suitably sensitive redevelopment of the site, prioritising high quality housing that is both sustainable and affordable, and keeping a clear focus on enabling the Kingshurst community to thrive.
“Right across our region, we’re on track to build 215,000 new homes by 2031 and the regeneration of Kingshurst is helping us to deliver on this ambitious goal. I cannot wait to see this scheme come to life.”
The new homes on the Mountfort site are due to be finished by August 2024.