The Leader of Solihull Council has been joined by the borough’s two MPs and West Midlands Mayor in throwing their full support behind a key funding opportunity for Solihull’s Kingshurst community.
As the Government opens applications to the second round of its £4.8 billion levelling up fund (LUF) it is hoped that £12m of additional funding can be secured to help deliver exciting Council led plans for the wholesale transformation of Kingshurst village centre.
Detailed planning permission for the ambitious Kingshurst scheme was secured in May this year following extensive consultation and ongoing conversations with local residents, businesses and stakeholders, including health sector and community partners. The latest plans for Kingshurst aim to build on the success of previous nearby schemes at Chelmund’s Cross and Smith’s Wood to transform the area by radically redesigning the village centre.
Based on the Kingshurst Masterplan and approved planning application the new village centre will include:
- 78 sustainable homes all built to LifetimeHomes standards
- New vicarage for St Barnabas Church
- 1,600 m2 community, health and wellbeing hub, including GP, pharmacy, dentist, library service and community café
- 1,500 m2 modern retail space, including an anchor convenience store and opticians
- High quality public realm and enhanced links to Kingshurst Park and Kingshurst Primary School
- Car parking to support the new local centre, community spaces and the Church
- New internal road layout linking Over Green Drive and Colling Walk
- Sustainable Urban Drainage (SuDS) and landscaping throughout
The redeveloped centre will help ensure that Kingshurst becomes a more sustainable, better integrated community with greater potential to benefit from its proximity to the economic opportunities at the airport, NEC and the rest of the UK Central Hub.
The project has already received significant backing from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and was identified as a priority in the West Midlands Mayor’s 2021 Manifesto. This support has been used to develop the current proposals and to help consolidate ownership of the site under Solihull Council. Last year the project team were also successful in securing a further additional £1.81m of Estates Regeneration Funding from the Government’s Brownfield Land Release Fund which has been used to complete acquisitions of land and property and support some early demolition and infrastructure works. With plans at an advance stage and early works underway this latest tranche of funding could be a huge boost in enabling the next stage of delivery to get underway. Officers at Solihull Council, who are driving the project, will continue working with partners and external funders to identify and access additional funding streams as and when required.
Adding their support to the Council’s LUF application both Solihull MPs have written to the Secretary of State to back the scheme and make the strong case for why Kingshurst should benefit from the LUF which is intended to support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets across the country.
Cllr Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council and Portfolio Holder for the Economy:
“The redevelopment of Kingshurst is a once in a generation opportunity to create a high quality, community focussed centre at the heart of this important Solihull neighbourhood.
“With planning permission already in place and efforts to appoint a developer partner well underway the project is building real momentum. I’m delighted that our hardworking MPs, who have both championed this scheme from the start, have thrown their full support behind our latest funding application.
“This has been a complex scheme from the start but, with support from our colleagues at the West Midlands Combined Authority, we’ve already done so much of the heavy lifting required to get it off the ground. Securing LUF funding would help us to finally get it over the line. Schemes like this clearly have the potential to change lives and rebalance economic opportunities afforded to our residents in Solihull. This is a fantastic opportunity to really put levelling up into action.”
Saqib Bhatti MP, Meriden Constituency
“As the MP for Meriden, I want to ensure that all of our town and local centres enjoy the highest standard of housing, transport and access to services. Having worked closely on this project with Solihull Council, my constituents and other key stakeholders it’s obvious there is a real enthusiasm from everyone involved to get on with unlocking Kingshurst’s full potential. The plans for a completely reimagined local centre will offer local residents new high quality housing alongside a range of key services and will play a strong role in building further social capital and local pride.
“This ambitious scheme will make a huge contribution to the regeneration of North Solihull as a whole and is a top priority for me and my colleagues at Solihull Council.
“I think we have put together a really compelling bid and shown that we more than meet the criteria for this vital Government funding. We have an exciting and well thought through scheme in Kingshurst just ready for delivery.”
Julian Knight MP, Solihull Constituency
“The enormous impact this funding could have in Kingshurst is clear to see.
“Coalescing around the forthcoming HS2 interchange, the UK Central hub area is a key engine for economic growth in the region. It’s only right that the communities surrounding this strategically important area are able to share in this opportunity. Plans for levelling up here not only benefit those living in and around Kingshurst but will bring wider benefits for the whole of the Solihull borough.
“Last year £1.7bn was awarded to 105 successful projects across the UK as part of the fund. That money is already delivering some fantastic and worthwhile schemes across the country. Now I want to see the same support targeted here in Solihull. That’s why I am backing this bid.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands
“I’m so pleased to lend my support to the transformation of the Kingshurst Village Centre site - a scheme which really embodies Levelling Up in action and is hopefully a prime prospect for future funding.
“I commend Solihull Council for their proactive leadership and for rising to this redevelopment challenge in a way that prioritises health and inclusive growth for local residents - keeping a sharp focus on enabling the Kingshurst community to thrive.
“Across the West Midlands, we need to build 215,000 new homes by 2031 and the regeneration of Kingshurst will help us to deliver on this ambitious goal. I look forward to seeing this scheme take shape.”
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