Major development set to clear next hurdle

A long-awaited £100 million transformation of derelict contaminated land to create more than 1,000 jobs looks set to clear another hurdle.

The derelict Phoenix 10 site in Walsall.
The derelict Phoenix 10 site in Walsall.

Members of Walsall Council’s planning committee are expected to grant full permission for the demolition of existing buildings and structures, as well as carrying out more clean-up operations on the Phoenix 10 site.

They are also being recommended to give outline approval for the erection of new buildings, access roads and landscaping of the former James Bridge Copper Works land.

The project, being delivered by developers HBD, Walsall Council and Homes England, will see the 620,000 sq ft of employment space created on the 44-acre site.

It is anticipated that, once complete, the redevelopment could generate more than 1,100 new jobs in the area.

Phoenix 10 has been a long running saga with the land sitting empty for more than 20 years. Walsall Council started trying to clean up the site 10 years ago.

Earlier this year, HBD and the council exchanged contracts for the delivery of the scheme which will be funded by the partners as well as Black Country LEP and West Midlands Combined Authority.

It is hoped that remediation work to clean up the heavily contaminated land, caused by previous industrial uses, will begin later this year.

The proposal did attract some objections from residents during the consultation phase with concerns including traffic and parking issues, dust pollution from work on the site and loss of trees and green space around the site.

Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust also objected due to the habitat loss, calling for more mitigation to be put in place.

But planners said conditions could be put in place to address concerns and the benefits of the scheme far outweigh any negatives.

A report to the planning committee meeting on Thursday is recommending permission be granted.

It said: “The proposal creates the potential for a derelict and degraded site of strategic importance to be transformed into a new gateway to the Black Country from Junction 10 of the M6 motorway.

“It represents a significant step towards bringing forward the largest single supply of employment land in the borough, and the largest employment development within the Black Country, in a highly accessible location close to the M6 Motorway.

“In line with the assessment and reasons set out in the preceding report it is therefore recommended that subject to the imposition of conditions and the submission of detail designs that would satisfy the matters reserved, the development would on balance not create harmful impacts that would outweigh the benefits that could be created by the scheme.

“Taking into account the above factors it is considered that the application should be recommended for approval.”

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