Tom Keighley

Member Article

Future of Bilston Urban Village discussed

Black Country businesses have been focusing on unlocking the barriers to development on a key regional site.

Together with the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the Black Country LEP co-hosted a workshop which looked at development finance, innovative cross-sector funding models and application to schemes, including that at Bilston Urban Village.

Since the site was transferred to HCA from Advantage West Midlands last year, the agency has brought together partners from across the public and private sectors.

Regeneration bosses from Wolverhampton City Council were at the session as well as senior managers from leading real estate, law, architect and professional services firms.

Representatives from Colliers International, Associated Architects, EC Harris, Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Wragge & Co.

The experts discussed obstacles currently stalling development land and the new ideas will be considered by the team driving delivery from Wolverhampton.

Anne-Marie Simpson, Head of Midlands Central for the HCA said: “We recognise that there have been many barriers and challenges facing the development sector over recent years, including market conditions and availability of finance.

“Our role is increasingly about leveraging in more private finance, maximising value for money for our investment and delivering more for less.

“This event was about bringing key institutions together to look at how we do this in an innovative way, using Bilston Urban Village as a current example.”

Simon Eastwood, private sector lead on planning for the Black Country LEP, said: “It is excellent that senior management from a number of leading firms from various fields have come together to look at ways of bringing forward development on this site.

“The Bilston site, which is well connected to the M6 at junction 10 and also to Birmingham City Centre via the Midland Metro, is key not only to Wolverhampton and the immediate surroundings but also to the Black Country as a whole.”

Morrisons Supermarket in Bilston, currently stands at the corner of the site, and The South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy school is due to open in September on another part of the site.

There will still be around 38 hectares of land prime for development on the site, which sits adjacent to the Black Country Route.

Simon Eastwood, private sector lead on planning for the Black Country LEP, said: “It is excellent that senior management from a number of leading firms from various fields have come together to look at ways of bringing forward development on this site.

“The Bilston site, which is well connected to the M6 at junction 10 and also to Birmingham City Centre via the Midland Metro, is key not only to Wolverhampton and the immediate surroundings but also to the Black Country as a whole.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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