A blueprint for the £750million town to be built on the old MG Rover site at Longbridge was finally agreed.
Birmingham City Council and developers St Modwen reached a dramatic stalemate this year when they failed to see eye to eye over funding for the infrastructure which will surround a 2,000-home estate and business park in Longbridge.
But after six weeks of negotiations and a six-hour meeting with the planning inspector yesterday, the council, St Modwen and regional development agency Advantage West Midlands have agreed on a way forward.
The main sticking point was over the figures for the community infrastructure levy, which would determine how much St Modwen contributes to transport, community facilities and open spaces.
Ian Dove QC, representing Advantage West Midlands, said: “It was imperative that we came to an agreement over the tariff to stop the need for negotiations every time a planning application was put in for the site.
“We have now made some minor wording changes to the plan so there is increased flexibility to accommodate for the challenging times we are in and the changing situation we may face in the plan’s lifetime.”
Blueprints mapping out architects’ stunning visions for a futuristic village centre on the banks of two rivers, landscaped parks and an £84million college were unveiled in May – three years after MG Rover went bust with the loss of 6,000 manufacturing jobs.
The development is expected to 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 seen in the West Midlands but St Modwen bosses said that it could take longer due to a slump in land and property prices.
Mike Murray, senior development manager for St Modwen, said: “St Modwen remains committed to the regeneration of Longbridge – we have already invested several million pounds to clear the way for future development – and we now await the planning inspector’s report.”
A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said: “The final day of the examination exploring the implementation of the plan went extremely well, with all the main parties agreeing a unified way forward.
“All parties are now looking forward to the adoption of the plan and a speedy implementation of the proposals.”
MP for Northfield, Richard Burden, added: “Whatever disagreements we may have had, the main priority was getting this plan through.
“I still have some concerns regarding a lack of on-going engagement with the community and the future of Longbridge station.”
The planning inspector is expected to publish her final report on the Longbridge Area Action Plan next month.