The redevelopment of the former MG Rover ‘West Works’ in Birmingham is set to happen after the Government announced £24 million to fund Brownfield regeneration across the West Midlands including Longbridge. The West Midlands has won £24million of the £40million Urban Transformation Fund available nationally.
The region put Longbridge as the centre-piece of its bid for this funding, although the detailed allocation of the £24million now needs to be formally agreed by the West Midlands Combined Authority.
The huge derelict site in Longbridge – which has been empty since the collapse of the carmaker 15 years ago –should be the centrepiece of a new wave of Brownfield projects, where former industrial sites are cleaned up for housing and commercial use.
Northfield MP Gary Sambrook MP, who lobbied Government Ministers and in the House of Commons for the funding said:
“I am delighted we have succeeded in winning this funding for the area. Completing the regeneration of Longbridge has been my top priority since becoming an MP a year ago.
Now, more than ever, it is vital that this site is brought back to full use again – creating and sustaining good quality jobs for people.”
The site is one the largest remaining part of the former car factory still to be redeveloped. Now the site will be redeveloped by St. Modwen, creating construction jobs at first and then long-term good quality jobs at the nearly one million square foot of business units on the site.
It is estimated the investment will unlock thousands of new jobs in Research and Development, manufacturing, technology and offices.
As someone who grew up in Northfield, I understand what a huge blow the loss of Rover was and what a huge wound it has left. It’s why I’ve been determined as Mayor to get the whole site redeveloped and supporting decent jobs again.
This is a great example of how we are able to work together – local campaigning, regional backing, Government support and private sector investment. We are bringing this approach to projects across the region, but this is a really important one to me personally. With this funding bid won, I look forward to Longbridge formally receiving their share and the go-ahead.
Rob Flavell, Senior Director of Regeneration (Midlands and North) at St. Modwen, said: “We are grateful for the support of West Midlands Combined Authority to help drive forward Longbridge.”
“Funding for West Works is a major step in the regeneration of Longbridge. Progressing the site infrastructure will unlock 5,000 new jobs, 350 new homes and 25 acres of fabulous public realm along the River Rea.
“This investment highlights the importance of Longbridge to deliver major economic outputs and as a sought-after location with beautiful green spaces, fantastic access to transport routes, and a vibrant and bustling town centre location.”
St Modwen has spearheaded the £1 billion regeneration of the Longbridge site, which aims to provide 9000 new jobs and 4000 new homes.
So far, the rebirth of Longbridge has included a £70 million town centre, over a million square feet of commercial floor space and more than 1,450 homes.
The site also includes medical accommodation for the Ministry of Defence, and a 260-apartment retirement village, the 60,000 sq ft Longbridge Technology Park and the £66 million Bournville College.
The West Works development would be a 75-acre employment led, mixed-use Regional Investment Site. St Modwen says Longbridge Business Park offers an ideal environment that meets the needs of fast-growing hi-tech, life sciences, manufacturing and R&D companies.
A residential development area is also included in the site.