Land-hungry developers are predicted to compete for one of the largest council land disposals in recent times - and play a key role in transforming a neighbourhood...
Birmingham City Council is seeking a buyer for more than 30 acres of development land in Egg Hill, Northfield, in one of the largest land disposals by the local authority in recent years.
The site, which forms a major part of a regeneration and growth drive for south-west Birmingham, has been earmarked for a minimum of 500 new homes, a new park, road improvements, better shopping amenities and new community buildings.
Part of the site has also been identified for small-scale commercial or business use.
The Birmingham office of property consultancy CB Richard Ellis Hamptons International has been appointed to handle the sale of the site.
According to Simon Horan, a director at the firm, this is the biggest site released by the Council since Attwood Green, a £100 million regeneration project comprising 900 new homes, near the Five Ways/Lee Bank area of Birmingham.
"Egg Hill is a major opportunity for a developer, with an anticipated build programme phased over five years," he tells Business Property Review.
"Sites like this don't come up very often."
Birmingham City Council has cleared the Egg Hill site of its former 1950s flats and terraced housing to make way for new homes and amenities.
According to Scott Wooldridge, Birmingham City Council project manager for the regeneration scheme: "The predominance of flats and small homes previously at Egg Hill failed to address the housing needs of families, who consequently moved out of the area.
"Our aim is to revitalise the neighbourhood and address more than just housing issues through the creation of a sustainable, high- quality environment."
Development guidelines produced by Birmingham City Council, the largest social landlord in the country, propose a wide variety of housing types and tenures for the Egg Hill site.
The breakdown reads like this: one third for affordable rent, shared ownership and low-cost home ownership; one third for apartments; and one third for small and large family homes and housing for the elderly.
Developers interested in bidding for the site are asked to submit offers by 25 January.
Short-listed parties will then be invited to present their proposals to the city council. A preferred developer is expected to be appointed by June 2006.
According to Simon Horan, there is already considerable interest in the site.
"The council brought forward this exciting regeneration opportunity in April this year," he says.
"Now that the marketing has begun in earnest we expect there will be significant interest from developers."
A report by CB Richard Ellis Hamptons International's research team, A Residential Market Overview for the Longbridge Ward, has demonstrated the need for new homes in the area.
A high proportion (77 per cent) of housing stock in the Longbridge ward is either terraced or semi-detached and the social rented sector, at 35 per cent, is significantly higher than the national average of 19 per cent.
The success of the nearby £400 million Birmingham Great Park development, with more than 1,000 homes built by Crest, Bellway, Barratt and David Wilson all now occupied, also demonstrates local demand.
The proximity of the site to the M5 and M42 on the one hand, and to the greenbelt on the other, make it a desirable location.
Planning approval for a new Technology Park at Longbridge, and the proposals for the A38 Technology Belt, also suggest enhanced demand for new homes.
Birmingham City Council has produced planning guidelines for the site following a massive consultation exercise with more than 5,000 local residents.
The guidelines, together with the CB Richard Ellis Hamptons International residential market report, are available for viewing on the website.