Birchfield towers dismantled to make way for family homes

By on 09/02/2010 in News

Birmingham City Council is demolishing three council tower blocks in Birchfield, North West Birmingham, to make way for potential developers to build affordable family homes.

Birchfield Towers

As they were- Birchfield Towers

The council is working in partnership with Urban Living to demolish the 16-storey towers as part of its ambitious 15-year regeneration programme of North West Birmingham.

The council will shortly be marketing the site via a development brief which is currently being worked on and agreed with residents.  The site, which is just under 6.5 acres, will seek to achieve a high quality, sustainable, mixed tenure development that contains affordable family housing.

Aston_Demolition1

Demolition work begins on first tower

The site offers an exciting opportunity to enhance this gateway to the city.  Working with CABE (Commission of Architecture in the Built Environment) and local residents through the local resident group, BERRG, (Birchfield Estate Resident Regeneration Group), the council is empowering residents to shape the development brief for the site.

As part of its continued drive to support the construction industry during these challenging financial times, the council is carrying out initial site investigation on behalf of developers which will reduce their abortive costs within the pre-planning phase, allowing them to quickly and accurately assess the opportunity at a saving.

Four local young people have also been given apprenticeships during this phase of the project which will give them on-the-job training and equip them with skills that will boost their confidence when entering the job market.  It is hoped that as the project moves through to the construction phase this will increase further thus continuing to assist local people into work.

Cllr John Lines, Cabinet Member for Housing said, “I'm determined to provide affordable family homes on this site for our people and once these towers are demolished we are keen to work with developers to make this a reality.

“I understand the risks that developers will have to take up front which is why the council is doing all it can by carrying out initial site investigations, which minimizes their up-front costs and risks.

Adnan Saif and Cllr Lines

Adnan Saif and Cllr Lines

“Overall we have re-housed over 350 residents who formerly lived in these blocks and the surrounding maisonettes.  We've also demolished unused garages that were causing anti social behaviour problems and are working hard to improve existing properties on the estate.

“We are proud of the way we have worked in North West Birmingham to help the housing market back on its feet.”

Adnan Saif, Chief Executive of Urban Living, said, “The clearance of these outdated tower blocks will make way for better quality of housing which people will choose to live in. This will make all the difference to the overall improvement of the neighbourhood making the area more attractive and sustainable.”

The council and Urban Living are working together with a long term vision to create mixed communities, improve neighbourhoods where problems of low-demand housing are most acute and create a vibrant and sustainable housing market in North West Birmingham.

The towers will be demolished over the next few months.

To download images of towers visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/birminghamnewsroom/sets/72157623273413247/

Ends

Notes to editors
1. Birchfield is a large area within the Urban Living Pathfinder, it is split into East and West by the Birchfield road. This corridor takes a large amount of traffic out of the city centre North to the M6 and the city suburbs. It also offers great opportunities for access to the city centre through rapid bus transport. As such, Urban Living is providing funding to masterplan the area this year, with a view to ensuring that any new development will be co-ordinated and targeted to the renaissance of the area as a whole.
2. Urban Living is one of nine Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder areas in the UK set up and funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG). The Pathfinder covers substantial areas within Birmingham City Council and Sandwell MBC, who are the two local authority partners.
3. Developers interested in the site have been tasked with ensuring a proportion of housing is reserved for social housing tenants and shared ownership options. 

Further information from Belinder Kaur Lidher on 0121 303 6969

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