As part of plans to unlock future growth potential, Solihull Council has voted to adopt a refreshed Masterplan which could see the delivery of nearly 1,200 homes and bring over 4000 new jobs to the town centre.
Providing a framework for future investment and development in the town centre, the refreshed Masterplan seeks to maximise the area’s economic opportunities while capitalising on its existing assets, setting out a clear vision for Solihull in 2036 as a thriving, vibrant and visionary town.
With the current climate of uncertainty that is facing all local centres, a refreshed evidence based Masterplan for Solihull Town Centre is more important than ever. The Masterplan has been informed by extensive consultation, engagement and research and responds to the known strengths and challenges facing the town. Looking ahead diversification of town centres could be the key to future success, and the masterplan identifies various opportunities to modernise and diversify the current leisure and ‘experience’ offer.
The Council’s Masterplan effectively acts as a blueprint for future developments and infrastructure improvements ensuring that the growth of the town centre is properly planned, coordinated and promoted. It also ensures that future developments respond to, and complement the Council’s priorities, particularly around the themes of economic growth, health and wellbeing, sustainability, climate change, transport, safety and security.
Delivery of the bold new Masterplan in full would see 1,178 new homes built, along with the potential provision of up to 50,000 sq. m. of office floor space and 40,000 sq. m. retail, leisure and active ground floor space in the town centre.
Economic assessments show that the proposals have the potential to deliver significant economic benefits. It is estimated that the Masterplan could lead to £395m Gross Capital Expenditure and up to £150m GVA in the construction phase, provide over 4000 new jobs and produce £200m in GVA.
Key features of the Masterplan include:
- Redevelopment of Solihull Station to create a modern ‘integrated transport hub’ that includes upgrades to the public realm and green space surrounding the station and creates a high quality gateway into the town centre.
- Traffic management interventions and enhancements to the public realm around Blossomfield Road Roundabout, including improvements to the pedestrian and cycle connectivity between the town centre and the station.
- Grade A town centre office development at Westgate to enhance the town’s employment offer and provide an attractive new gateway to the town centre’s commercial and business quarter.
- Brand-new civic and community hub on the Council owned Eastgate site that incorporates: high quality accessible public spaces, new retail and leisure uses and connects well with the existing town centre. This development will also include a new residential neighbourhood providing modern, sustainable, and attainable homes in a town centre setting to increase the town’s residential population and add vibrancy.
- Guidance on the possible future redevelopment of Mell Square to create a diverse and high quality mixed use space. This area could offer the optimal balance of residential, leisure and commercial use set amongst high quality public realm to create an attractive, vibrant, and modern destination in the heart of the town centre.
- An attractive new north-south pedestrian and cycle link between the southern gateway of the town including the Monkspath Hall Road site, and the Business and Commercial Quarter and the core of the town centre.
- Potential new car parking solutions located on Monkspath Hall Road to support the wider use of this site that could accommodate a range of development uses including housing, commercial, leisure or education.
Those behind the Masterplan believe it’s ambitions scope is essential in order to capitalise on the future potential of the town centre, guaranteeing its resilience and ensuring that it can meet future challenges through ‘managed’ growth, whilst retaining the character which makes Solihull so popular.
An earlier Masterplan, was drawn up in 2016 informed by a range of visioning studies, property market reviews and extensive stakeholder engagement and consultation activity.
The latest refresh builds on this work but has been updated over the summer to ensure it considers and responds to recent strategic decisions; local, regional and national policy and best practice; land and property development that have occurred in the intervening four years; and current economic conditions including the impact of COVID-19.
Cllr Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council and Cabinet Member for the Economy said:
“Our bold and visionary Town Centre Masterplan sets out an ambitious blueprint for the next fifteen years. By taking a wider view of upcoming developments and investment opportunities we can ensure that we are effectively planning for the future of our town centre ensuring that we deliver managed economic growth while aligning this growth to other key strategic objectives, such as our climate change goals of Net Zero carbon emissions by 2041.
“There are significant challenges facing all sectors of the economy at this time but our Town Centre Masterplan sets out a roadmap for the continued prosperity of the town centre, helping attract future inward investment and build on Solihull’s position as a key regional wealth creator.
“Solihull Town Centre benefits from a proven track record of attracting international occupiers and investment, supporting a strong commercial and residential market. The Council is determined to support our retail and commercial centres by being an active partner in their future. This is more important than ever in the current climate as all sectors plan their reset and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We know that key factors such as its economic dynamism, well-balanced sector profile, and highly-qualified workforce mean that Solihull Town Centre is well placed to lead in this recovery. That is why we are prioritising bold and exciting town centre developments such as Eastgate, which are about looking ahead and planting the seeds for our future prosperity.”
Cllr Courts will be discussing the Town Centre Masterplan, along with a range of other upcoming projects, with an audience of investors at the Midlands UK Forum for Growth virtual event later this month.
Detailed consultation will be undertaken on individual development sites and infrastructure projects as they come forward.