More than 500 residents in north Solihull will today have received hand delivered letters informing them their properties will either no longer be developed or demolition plans will be delayed as part of a £1.8 billion regeneration project to transform the area.
Another 130 households will be told their properties will not be affected as developers behind the scheme, this week, announced plans to scale back the project because of the national recession.
North Solihull Regeneration Partnership was launched in 2004 to breathe new life into north Solihull, an area whose residents are statistically more likely to die younger than their neighbours in the south of the borough.
The partners include Solihull Council, Bellway Homes, Whitefriars Housing Association and regeneration specialists Inpartnership.
The investment would have seen 8,000 new homes, 12,500 more improved, new health care facilities, ten new primary schools and five village centres in Chelmsley Wood, Smith’s Wood, Kingshurst and Fordbridge within 15 years.
But now a review of the North Solihull Partnership’s business plan has meant the scheme’s completion date has been extended to 20 years.
Ian Cox, the partnership’s programme director, said: “North Solihull, like many regeneration areas up and down the country, has been affected by the national recession. The changing economic climate has forced us to review our proposals and this means that some tough decisions have had to be made about the housing plan and what is realistically achievable in North Arran Way, Kingshurst and Babbs Mill.”
Solihull Council’s Cabinet will decide on the way forward at a meeting at the end of this month.
“Our commitment to improving North Solihull remains. A lot has been achieved over the last four years including the delivery of two brand new school, hundreds of modern new houses, the rehousing of nearly 350 council tenants and improvements to green spaces.
“We appreciate that this is not an ideal situation and have great sympathy for residents affected.”
Around 160 tenants in low-rise homes of Solihull Community Housing will now have repairs to their homes in line with Decent Homes initiative while another 120 tenants in high-rise tower blocks, Girton House and Gonville House, will be consulted regarding redevelopment. A further 71 private properties which were originally to have been purchased and demolished will now not be a part of the plans and homeowners will be consulted individually.
And 174 homes will not be demolished for between one and two years.
Matt Cooney, chief executive of Solihull Community Housing, said: “We understand that the recession means that North Solihull Regeneration Partnership is not in a position to demolish as many council homes as it had intended.”