Former sewage works to be transformed by 750-home development

A huge swathe of former industrial land in is to be turned into homes after lying derelict for decades.

Mayor Andy Street (right) and Sandwell Council leader Yvonne Davies (second left) celebrate the deal
Mayor Andy Street (right) and Sandwell Council leader Yvonne Davies (second left) celebrate the deal

The equivalent of more than 32 football pitches at Friar Park in Wednesbury will be transformed into 750 new homes after an old sewage works was snapped up by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

The former works, which have been bought from Severn Trent, covers just under half the overall 26.4 hectare site, with the remaining majority of the site owned by Sandwell Council.

The deal, a joint venture between Sandwell Council and WMCA, unlocks the biggest brownfield housing site in the region, which bosses say will help to reduce pressure on the green belt.

It is the latest WMCA land deal aimed at re-invigorating run-down sites and help deliver some of the thousands of homes needed over the next decade.

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

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, who chairs the WMCA, 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.”

Sandwell Council leader Yvonne Davies 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.

“We are proud as an authority to be providing a national exemplar of partnership working to drive forward growth and opportunity in our borough.”

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