Biggest brownfield housing agreed in West Midlands

A new deal between the West Midlands Combined Authority and Sandwell Council will unlock the biggest brownfield housing site in the region.

The equivalent of more than 32 football pitches at Friar Park in Wednesbury will be transformed into a 750-home community following the purchase of an old sewage works by the WMCA, with the former works covering just under half the overall 26.4 hectare site, with the remaining majority of the site owned by Sandwell Council.

The combined authority will fund a major clean-up of the land, which has been home to a hospital and iron foundry in the past. The WMCA will then work with the council on an ambitious masterplan for the site, with full community consultation, before bringing on board development partners.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “This prominent site, one of the biggest in the Black Country, has sat derelict for more than 30 years with no developer taking it on. It cannot be right that our green belt is being targeted for new homes while major sites like this are left untouched year after year. The WMCA is embarking on a ‘brownfield first’ policy for this exact reason, and I am delighted that we have been able to strike this latest deal alongside Sandwell Council and Seven Trent. Together, thanks to this landmark deal, we can ease the pressure on greenbelt land whilst also delivering good quality homes for local people.”

Yvonne Davies, Sandwell Council leader, said: “The Friar Park deal will see the combined authority and Sandwell Council working together to secure new homes that are of a high design quality, energy efficient and affordable. There will also be provision for homes built using modular construction techniques. The scheme will also include on-site apprenticeships and training for local people so they can learn the construction skills needed to build the new homes. This supports a key priority of the Sandwell Inclusive Economy Deal. We are proud as an authority to be providing a national exemplar of partnership working to drive forward growth and opportunity in our borough.”