THE REDEVELOPMENT of the former ‘West Works’ on the former MG Rover site is set to go ahead after the Government announced £24million to fund brownfield regeneration across the West Midlands including Longbridge.
The West Midlands has won £24million of the £40million Urban Transformation Fund available nationally.
The region put Longbridge as the centre-piece of its bid for this funding, although the detailed allocation of the £24million now needs to be formally agreed by the West Midlands Combined Authority.
The derelict site in Longbridge – empty since the car maker’s collapse 15 years ago – should be the centrepiece of a new wave of brownfield projects, where former industrial sites are cleaned up for housing and commercial use.
And Northfield MP Gary Sambrook, who lobbied Government Ministers and in the House of Commons for funding, said he was delighted, saying regenerating Longbridge was his ‘top priority’ after being elected a year ago.
“Now, more than ever, it is vital that this site is brought back to full use again – creating and sustaining good quality jobs for people.”
The site, the largest part left of the former factory, will be redeveloped by St Modwen.
It will create construction jobs at first and then long-term good quality jobs at the nearly 1million sq ft of business units on the site.
It is estimated the investment will unlock thousands of new jobs in research and development, manufacturing, technology and offices.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, who led the region’s bid, said: “As someone who grew up in Northfield, I understand what a huge blow the loss of Rover was and what a huge wound it has left.
“It’s why I’ve been determined as Mayor to get the whole site redeveloped and supporting decent jobs again.”
He said it was a great example of working together – local campaigning, regional backing, Government support and private sector investment.
“We are bringing this approach to projects across the region, but this is a really important one to me personally.”