Ambitious plans for the wholesale transformation of Kingshurst Village Centre have cleared another major hurdle.
Councillors received a comprehensive update on the project last night with a report being presented to Cabinet detailing the progress made so far. Permission was granted for the Council to progress to the Compulsory Purchase (CPO) phase. This follows the approval of an Outline Planning Application in September.
Kingshurst is the final local centre set for regeneration in North Solihull, and aims to build on the success of previous schemes at Chelmund’s Cross and Smith’s Wood to transform the area by radically redesigning the village centre. The new centre will offer high standard modern family housing along with a range of local services, amenities and healthcare provision.
The current plans contain a number of key features including up to 86 new homes, the majority of which will be social rented housing, an improved road layout linking the village centre to the surrounding area, as well as open green space and a wide footpath linking Kingshurst Park to the school and the heart of the development. The plans also show an anchor convenience shop along with six smaller retail units and health and community assets including a purpose-built GP surgery, pharmacy, dentist and community space.
Discussing the scheme at Cabinet, Councillors heard how those delivering the project plan to develop new buildings to exemplar standards in terms of flexibility, environmental performance and energy efficiency.
The site earmarked for regeneration is complex, with property held by a range of different land owners. Using vital funding secured from the West Midlands Combined Authority the Council has been working to acquire all of the properties and land interests within the village centre in order to redevelop the whole site. This has been one of the biggest barriers to the development of Kingshurst so far, and it is one of the reasons it has taken longer to progress this scheme than other similar projects in the borough.
Working alongside local residents and business owners, good progress has already been made in acquiring the necessary land without the need to use CPO powers. However, yesterday’s approval to use CPO powers will allow the Council to take the next step forward in taking control of the entire site, ensuring the wholescale redevelopment of Kingshurst can be delivered.
The timetable for work to begin is still being reviewed but it is expected that the main construction will commence in Summer 2022. Working closely with Solihull Community Housing, advice and support will be made available to residents directly affected by the scheme, about moving either permanently or temporarily next year, well in advance of construction works. Housing officers will be able to help explain the process and, where necessary, provide support in finding alternative accommodation.
With Outline Planning Permission granted, the scheme is now moving into the detailed design phase of the masterplan with further community engagement activity planned in the new year.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council and Portfolio Holder for the Economy said:
“This marks another major step forward in the delivery of this important scheme. Over the past twelve months, significant progress has been made with residents and key stakeholders in negotiating the acquisitions that are required to deliver the scheme. However, approval to progress with the CPO means we expect to be able to finally draw a line under the current phase of the project and set a date for acquiring all remaining land interests within the Kingshurst Village Centre Masterplan boundary. This will ultimately enable us to deliver our ambitious vision for the wholesale transformation of the village centre.
“The really important thing for residents living within the boundary of the scheme is that this shouldn’t be a cause for concern. We will continue working alongside SCH to ensure local residents feel informed and supported throughout this process.
“This scheme represents a once in a generation opportunity to create a high quality, well integrated, community focussed new centre at the heart of a Kingshurst with sustainable low energy homes that are adaptable to changing needs. Yesterday’s decision brings us one step closer to realising this exciting vision.”