The developers behind plans to build a £750 million new town on the site of the former MG Rover car plant are confident they can resolve differences with the city council which brought a public inquiry into the scheme to a halt.
A planning inspector suspended the hearing after it became clear that St Modwen and council chiefs were at odds over funding for the infrastructure which will surround a 2,000-home estate and business park in Longbridge.
Both parties, along with regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands, have been locked in talks for six weeks and say they are hopeful of thrashing out an agreement.
Local MP Richard Burden said he was expecting progress to be made on December 3 when the inquiry in to the Longbridge Area Action Plan (AAP) resumes.
His comments came as both the city council and St Modwen said they were committed to coming up with new figures for the Community Infrastructure Levy which will determine how much St Modwen contributes to transport, community facilities and open spaces.
Mike Murray, senior development manager for the developer, said: “We have been fully co-operating with the city council teams throughout the process to create the right plan for the area.
“St Modwen and Advantage West Midlands have been actively working together with Birmingham City Council to provide the planning inspector with the additional information requested.
“We remain committed to an Area Action Plan that provides the right infrastructure that allows us to regenerate the area and deliver the future of Longbridge.”
A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said: “We are optimistic that we will reach a positive outcome.”
Blueprints mapping out architects’ stunning visions for a futuristic village centre on the banks of two rivers, landscaped parks and an £84 million college were unveiled in May – three years after MG Rover went bust with the loss of 6,000 manufacturing jobs. The development would create up to 10,000 jobs and mix modern houses with parkland.
Initial plans projected that it would take at least 15 years to complete the biggest regeneration scheme ever seen in the West Midlands but St Modwen bosses told the hearing that a slump in land and property prices meant they could give no guarantees about delivery of the scheme within a specific period.
Mr Burden (Labour, Northfield) said: “The stakes are too high for the AAP to fail so I sincerely hope that any misunderstandings or disagreements that led to the postponement will be resolved.
“The major players in this must consider the community. The public must have a real say on the future of Longbridge.”