PRZOOM - /newswire/ -
Aston Science Park, Birmingham, United Kingdom, 2007/01/22 - The business and retail centre of Chelmsley Wood is to receive a £9 million boost from regional development agency Advantage West Midlands to help fund a £60 million transformation.
The £60 million revamp of the 1960s central shopping centre is the first step towards regenerating the whole of the North Solihull area.
The proposals include a comprehensive revamp of the existing shopping centre – which officially opened in April 1970 – by owners the Fordgate Group which will help to create or safeguard more than 400 jobs.
Advantage West Midlands’ £9 million funding for the redevelopment will be delivered through the East Birmingham and North Solihull Regeneration Zone and work is expected to start this year.
Included in the redevelopment scheme will be:
• A large ASDA store and non-food unit on the existing library site;
• Refurbishment of the public malls within the shopping centre and a new, improved northern entrance;
• Improvements to the current infrastructure, including additional car parking and a new bus interchange;
• Replacement Council accommodation within the shopping centre to include the library, social services, register office and housing office;
• Additional accommodation for a new Solihull Connect facility and town centre office space.
The redevelopment is part of the wider, 15-year £1 billion housing, schools programme being led by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, which is one of the biggest regeneration projects in Britain.
Mark Pearce, Advantage West Midlands Corporate Director for Economic Regeneration, said: “This is tremendous news as it will give Chelmsley Wood a town centre fit for the 21st century.
“Our investment will help enable the development by Fordgate to progress, improving the appearance of the centre for shoppers, making it easier to get to and from and, by bringing in a major foodstore, increasing the number of people coming here.
“The transformation of Chelmsley Wood into a prosperous commercial centre will be a powerful symbol of the wider, long-term transformation of North Solihull.”
Graham Edwards, Chief Executive of East Birmingham and North Solihull Regeneration Zone, said: “This is a huge step forward for Chelmsley Wood, providing local businesses and shoppers alike with a high quality town centre.
“These major changes will substantially increase the area’s potential to attract future inward investment and provide opportunities to connect local people to local jobs in ward where unemployment rates are far too high.”
Cllr Ted Richards, Leader of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, said: “We are extremely pleased with the funding announcement from Advantage West Midlands, which is a huge step forward for this scheme and a major catalyst for the wider regeneration of North Solihull.
“We are committed to breathing new life into Chelmsley Wood town centre and will now be finalising the necessary arrangements before the project can begin.”
Chris Wyman, Director of the Fordgate Group, said: “After years of preparation and planning involving a dedicated team of people, we are delighted to see the regeneration of Chelmsley Wood Town Centre finally get the go-ahead.
“This could not have happened without the funding support from Advantage West Midlands and we look forward to delivering the improvements to the residents of North Solihull.”