Solihull Council is seeking views on its emerging masterplan for Chelmsley Wood town centre.
A four-week public consultation, launched today, will explore what future investment and development in the town centre might look like while seeking to identify priority areas for improvements.
Already a popular and well used local centre this work will aim to provide a blueprint for delivering a phased plan of redevelopment over the coming years. This will help to ensure Chelmsley Wood town centre continues to thrive and serve the needs of the local community as we witness the role of town centres changing locally and nationally.
When the town centre was first built in the late 60s and early 70s it represented some of the latest thinking in urban planning and design. However, as the way people use and enjoy their local centres has changed many of the buildings and much of the layout has been left feeling dated and impractical. The town centre has enjoyed significant investment and development over the years and received a welcome boost in 2008 when a new Asda supermarket opened, however in a survey carried out last year visitors highlighted their desire to see a range of improvements, including a broader variety of shops and facilities, better quality public realm and green spaces as well as restaurants and evening uses.
Plans for redevelopment are focused initially on the Northwest Quarter of the town centre, where the Job Centre and former library site are currently located. This key part of the town centre is currently underutilised and physically cut off from the rest of the centre. Solihull Council has begun working with stakeholders to develop a series of deliverable masterplan options for this area. The Police building will remain unless an alternative location can be found in the town centre.
A set of consultation material has been drawn up which sets out proposals for features that could be included in future development, such as new residential use, improved community facilities and a new food retailer. It also presents ideas for delivering new attractive public realm and better connections with the existing town centre and surrounding neighbourhoods, incorporating key feedback from last year’s Chelmsley Wood town centre visitor survey.
The consultation material and accompanying survey can be found on the Council’s website at: www.solihull.gov.uk/chelmsleywoodtowncentremasterplan. The proposals can also be viewed in-person at the Solihull Recruitment and Training Centre and at Chelmsley Wood Library, where the consultation material will be left on display from next week.
The project team will also be hosting two drop-in sessions, at Chelmsley Wood shopping centre on Thursday 3 March from 10am to 2pm and on Saturday 12 March, 12pm to 3pm, where residents can ask questions about the redevelopment plans and share their views. A series of online public webinars will also be held, details of which can be found on the Council’s website.
While any physical redevelopment work is still likely to be a couple of years away, residents and visitors to Chelmsley Wood town centre are encouraged to get involved at this early stage. Their views will help shape a draft masterplan that best meets everyone’s aspirations for the town centre whilst remaining realistic and deliverable. The consultation will close on Thursday 24 March.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council and Portfolio Holder for the Economy, said:
“The regeneration of Chelmsley Wood town centre seems like a daunting task but is one that I have been keen to see since I first became a Councillor. I am delighted that the Council is today taking the very first steps towards a series of phased improvements that will secure the future vibrancy of this well used town centre.
“This is another major scheme, alongside the Kingshurst redevelopment, that could unlock new opportunities for people in the north of the borough.
“The way people use town centres has changed dramatically over the last 50 years, and this has only been accelerated by the impact of COVID-19. It’s important our local centres reflect this. As we chart our way out of the pandemic, I am keen to ensure that Chelmsley Wood Town Centre continues to thrive.
“We are still in the very early stages, but I would encourage all local residents and visitors to get involved and share their views. Your feedback will be crucial in helping to shape a draft masterplan that meets your needs.
“This will be a difficult scheme to deliver and could take a number of years to complete, but we will work closely with stakeholders and landowners to provide the right solution for residents and secure the future vibrancy of Chelmsley Wood Town Centre.”
Residents can sign up to the Council’s new ‘Chelmsley Wood Town Centre Masterplan’ Stay Connected bulletin to receive updates on the project.