Plans are focused initially on the Northwest Quarter of the town centre, where the Job Centre, former library site and Police Station* are located.
This key part of the town centre is currently underutilised and physically cut off from the rest of the centre. It is hoped that this will be the first step in a phased plan of redevelopment which could see the town centre completely transformed over the next ten years.
When Chelmsley Wood town centre was first built in the late 60s and early 70s it represented some of the latest thinking in urban planning and design. However, as the way people use and enjoy their local centres has changed, many of the buildings and much of the layout has been left feeling dated and impractical.
The town centre has enjoyed significant investment and development over the years and received a welcome boost in 2008 when a new ASDA supermarket opened. However, in a recent survey, visitors highlighted their desire to see a range of improvements, including an enhanced selection of shops, bars, and other leisure and entertainment outlets, as well as a community hub, more green spaces, and improved connectivity within and around the town centre.
Last year Solihull Council began public consultation on its emerging masterplan for Chelmsley Wood town centre. This exercise explored what future investment and development in the town centre might look like while seeking to identify priority areas for improvements. Working with stakeholders a series of deliverable masterplan options for this area were drawn up.
Over the past 12 months, the Council has continued working with architects from BDP and key stakeholders, to further develop and refine these options into a Preferred Option Masterplan which was approved at Cabinet last night. Key features contained within the first phase of this preferred option include:
- Establishment of a discount food store on the former library site facing east, with an office block along the eastern edge, providing an attractive frontage to Kingshurst Brook.
- Creation of a new town square and enhanced public space. This includes a pedestrian link from the existing upper-level shopping precinct to connect with this area.
- Establishment of a small commercial pavilion next to the discount food-store fronting the new town square (potentially for café use).
- Treatments to the front of the former postal office sorting facility to create a more attractive frontage.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council and Portfolio Holder for the Economy, said: “The regeneration of Chelmsley Wood town centre seems like a daunting task but is one that I have been keen to see since I first became a councillor. Having a masterplan in place for the Northwest Quarter marks the first step towards a series of phased improvements that will secure the future vibrancy of this well used and much-loved town centre.
“We enjoyed some really positive engagement with local residents, businesses and shoppers in Chelmsley Wood when we presented some of our early proposals last year and I’m hoping this will continue. We are planning some pre-application engagement before preparing our outline planning application and there will be plenty of other opportunities to help shape this exciting project as it progresses.
“This will be a challenging scheme to deliver and could take a number of years to complete, but we will work closely with stakeholders, landowners and external funders to provide the right solution for residents and secure the future vibrancy of Chelmsley Wood town centre.”
* The Police building will remain in place until funding and details for a replacement are agreed.