UP TO 1,000 more homes than previously expected could be built at a huge housing development around the planned HS2 Interchange station.
It would bring the total for a proposed ‘Garden City’ to more than 5,000 homes.
Cabinet member for managed growth, councillor Ian Courts, last Tuesday (November 20) approved a bid to the government’s Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) for funding to accelerate ambitious plans.
A council officer’s report states: “The UK Central Hub Growth and Infrastructure Plan (HGIP) estimates that the UK Central Hub could provide up to 4,000 homes, making a significant contribution to the housing needs of the borough and reducing the pressure for further green belt release for residential development.
“Since the publication of the HGIP further work has identified the potential to increase this number to up to 5,000 new homes.”
The HGIP is a plan to develop and build new homes and infrastructure around the HS2 Interchange, Jaguar Land Rover’s Lode Lane factory, Birmingham Airport, the NEC, Birmingham Business Park and the Arden Cross site – an area known as the Hub.
The NEC is bringing forward a master plan which has outlined the possibility of another 1,000 homes, Coun Courts says.
The Garden City – part of the Hub – would be built near to the M42, close to the NEC and the HS2 Interchange.
The creation of ‘garden communities’ is part of a government programme to provide support for applicants who will contribute to building a further 300,000 homes by 2025 in a sustainable way – protecting greenbelt land.
At this stage the council is trying to attract investors to buy into the vision, if the bid is successful.
Eventually landowners and interested parties would be expected to submit a planning application to the council.
Coun Courts says the garden city will be built almost entirely on brownfield land but does involve the loss of some green space.
Coun Courts: “We know that new housing is needed, the region needs it and the country needs it.
“We want to achieve good green space areas, good connectivity, places that are better for people to live in and work in.
“What this bid is about is getting financial support to make our jobs a lot easier – if it fails it will mean the task will be more difficult.
“The garden community could be a showcase for the region.”
The council officer’s report states the initial bid could be for a package in the region of £1.8million.
Coun Courts says the garden city plans will not use taxpayers money and will be reliant on grants from external sources.
MP for Meriden Dame Caroline Spelman, who supports the plans in principle, said: “We need infrastructure around the railway.
“The HGIP says the Hub can be a mix of new housing, offices and other infrastructure.
“This will also connect to Chelmsley Wood and benefit the community with new jobs and amenities becoming available.
“It will also see green corridors preserved while protecting the borough’s greenbelt.
“My constituents are broadly supportive but those south of the A45 in Hampton in Arden are concerned about the size.
“We want it to be sustainable – economically, environmentally and socially – and benefit the local people.”
The council will discover if it has been successful between March and January next year.