Birmingham & Black Country

Black Country Garden City to get 45,000 new homes

Timber-framed homes in Walsall Image copyright Black Country LEP
Image caption The proposed homes will be eco-friendly

Plans to build more than 45,000 new homes in the Black Country have been unveiled.

It is claimed The Black Country Garden City will be the biggest regeneration of brownfield sites in the country, spanning over 31 different areas.

The design would see pockets of housing built across the boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Development will begin this year and is due to be completed by 2025.

The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership hopes this will help boost the region, which is to the west of Birmingham, by as much as £18bn over the next decade.

Garden cities are characterised by their layout, which include a lot of green space.

Two years ago, the coalition government announced plans to build three garden cities to help deal with the housing shortage. These were in Ebbsfleet in Kent, Bicester in Oxfordshire, but the third was not named.

Four locations have been earmarked for this project: Lye in Stourbridge, an area close to Dudley Port station near Tipton, Willenhall and the Canal Quarter (around the former Crane Foundry on Bailey Street) in Wolverhampton.

Image copyright Black Country LEP
Image caption Artists impression of new homes in the Canal Quarter in Wolverhampton

If you are imagining a new town with green spaces, parks and waterways, then think again.

This isn't a new town, nor is it like the garden cities of the last century, but it is about the regeneration of the 30 or so existing towns in the four Black Country authorities.

There will be thousands of new homes which will be built along garden city principles. That means planners will have to avoid the vast homogenous housing estates of the past.

Future projects must include better transport links, more green spaces, and allow for small and medium sized businesses to be part of the new developments.

They will also incorporate the Black Country's heritage, especially the canals.

Image copyright Black Country LEP
Image caption Houses proposed near Dudley Port station in Sandwell will be incorporated with the existing housing estates

The Black Country LEP identified spaces for 45,000 new homes.

However, David Tittle, who was the chief executive of Made, a design based charity that developed the plans, admitted it would not be a single city but described it as a "concept to help get investment in the Black Country".

"It's already an attractive place with green infrastructure, canals and industrial heritage. We want to show its a great place to live and invest."

Communities Secretary Greg Clarke said: "The Black Country Garden City symbolises the region's ambition. It will deliver modern, new housing that will be a magnet for business investment, notably in advanced manufacturing and construction, which will boost the local economy and supply the houses local families want."

The garden city is part of the region's wider housing plan to build 85,000 new homes in the next 15 years.

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