A milestone in the redevelopment of the former Goodyear tyre factory site in Wolverhampton will be reached when Birmingham-based regeneration specialist St Modwen carries out the much-anticipated demolition of the factory chimney a week tomorrow.
The controlled explosion of the chimney will complete an eight month demolition programme of the 85-acre site and will make way for the development of a £150 million urban community scheme, which includes 660 new homes.
This week, St Modwen hosted a competition with the children from the local Oxley Primary school asking them to guess how many bricks made up the chimney. On the day, the winning child will have the honour of pushing the “final button” together with a Goodyear employee; whose name will be drawn as part of a raffle supporting Macmillan nurses, the tyre manufacturer’s chosen charity.
Peter Rudd, development surveyor at St Modwen, said: “The chimney demolition signifies a major step forward in the redevelopment of the site which, over a period of five years, will be turned into an attractive urban community of 660 homes, retail accommodation, a new park with sports facilities and a school.
“St Modwen are now cleaning up and preparing the site ready for the first houses to be built in 2010.
“The chimney will be exploded at exactly 11am. Any local residents who wish to witness the event first hand are welcome to do so and should arrive at the Stafford Road site entrance strictly between 9.30am and 10.30am, from where they will be guided to a special viewing area.
‘‘Due to safety regulations, anyone arriving after 10.30 will not be allowed access to the site. There is a very limited amount of parking on site, so we would ask all those interested in coming along to arrive on foot, which will also allow them to exit the site quickly following the demolition.”
James Bailey, corporate communications manager for Goodyear, added: “Goodyear Dunlop has a proud history in the West Midlands, with long established plants at Fort Dunlop and in Wolverhampton and we employ over 1,000 people in the region.
“We are delighted that we have been able to work with St Modwen in redeveloping the Bushbury site in a way that promises new investment and employment in Wolverhampton. The redevelopment of this part of the site has allowed us to reinvest in our plant on the adjacent site, which continues to play a key role in our global manufacturing operation, in making tyre compounds and specialist truck tyres for export to Goodyear Dunlop’s sister plants and markets around the world”.
St Modwen acquired the 85-acre site from Goodyear in 2002 and has subsequently obtained outline planning permission for 38 acres of housing; a 16-acre neighbourhood park for general local use;· 2.5 acres for a school, plus 1.5 acres of neighbourhood retail.
Goodyear has retained 18 acres, on which its factory still makes tyre compounds and specialist truck tyres for export.