The bulk of the famous Goodyear tyre site in Wolverhampton is to be transformed into a new urban village - if a £150 million scheme unveiled yesterday by regeneration specialist St Modwen Properties gets the green light.
St Modwen, which has its headquarters on Quinton Business Park, near Birmingham, plans to build 625 homes, shops, a park and a school on vacant land on the 88-acre site.
The long awaited project, which Wolverhampton City Council will consider shortly, will provide homes for more than a thousand people and safeguard hundreds of jobs at the slimmed-down tyre factory, off Stafford Road, where Goodyear will lease 18 acres from St Modwen.
Goodyear, which has reduced its workforce from a peak of 7,000 to around 500, is to take a ten-year renewable lease on its new operations site.
Under the redevelopment plan, Goodyear is moving to the east of the site, freeing up space the size of 19 football pitches for homes. The firm says that a minimum of 450 people will continue to be employed at its operation.
Two and a half acres have been earmarked between the factory and the housing by St Modwen for the possible development of a school to replace a nearby primary school, with shops proposed on an adjoining one and a half acres.
A neighbourhood park will be formed on 12 acres alongside the existing sports and social club, which is to be retained.
John Dodds, regional director of St Modwen, said: "The regeneration of this major former employment site for mixed use development will bring major new investment in jobs, housing and community facilities into the area.
"We are looking forward to working with Goodyear, Wolverhampton City Council and the local community to bring the scheme to fruition."
St Modwen, which is also involved in a number of other major regeneration projects in the West Midlands, hopes to get the green light for the scheme in March, with demolition work expected to start in the summer.
The proposals were welcomed as "eminently sensible" by Black Country Chamber of Commerce.
"It is welcome news that jobs are to be secured," said a chamber spokesman. "But these proposals at the Goodyear site also fit in quite nicely with the creation of a new technology corridor between Wolverhampton and Telford.
"The corridor is not all about business. The people working with companies located along it will need homes to live in and schools to educate their children. The mixed use redevelopment of former industrial sites such as this are emininently sensible."
Aside from Wolverhampton, St Modwen is redeveloping the former Alstom train making site at Washwood Heath, Birmingham.
It is also developing a £100 million mixed use scheme at Castle Hill, Dudley, and owns the bulk of the former MG Rover site.
About 500 jobs are expected to be created in the first phase of development, seen as the forerunner of a high-tech industrial belt stretching along the A38 from Aston Science Park in the centre of Birmingham to its counter-park at Malvern.
The first phase access road is currently being built and St Modwen has planning consent for the first two buildings on the technology park.