L-R: Mayor Andy Street, Ed Bradburn (FDC), Sean Duffy (A&H Construction), Dan Powers (A&H Construction) and Ben Moore (Chancerygate)
The site, off Holbrook Lane, had been home to Meggitt until the company, whose customers include aviation giants Airbus, BAE and Boeing, started moving operations and staff to new headquarters in nearby Ansty two years ago.
Now, more than five acres of the former Meggitt Facility is being transformed thanks to WMCA investment with the construction of the new Holbrook Business Park which is expected to generate around 200 jobs once completed.
The investment into the business park, which is being built by developers Chancerygate, is the latest to be made by the WMCA as part of its nationally leading brownfield regeneration programme. The combined authority’s ‘brownfield first’ policy is transforming hundreds of acres of former industrial sites across the region with high quality, affordable homes and modern premises for job creating businesses.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, visited the Holbrook Lane scheme to see the work underway.
He said: “It’s heartening to see that the former home of one of our most successful companies will once again be providing quality jobs for local people thanks to the WMCA’s cash.
“Throughout the pandemic the WMCA has continued to invest in the regeneration of brownfield land, and it is these investments that not only create new jobs and energy efficient, affordable homes for local people, but also reduce the pressure to build on our irreplaceable greenbelt.”
The Chancerygate scheme, which will feature 17 light industrial units, sits on one part of the 65-acre former Meggitt site. Planning permission was granted earlier this year for 500 new homes on another part of the site.
Despite most of its operations being moved to Ansty, Meggitt has kept a small carbon brake facility at Holbrook Lane and the company’s sports fields are being retained as open space.
Mark Garrity, Chancerygate development director and head of the company’s Birmingham office, said: “We are very pleased that work is underway at Holbrook Business Park. The initial phase of a high-quality urban logistics development will support the strong demand for industrial space in the West Midlands.
“We look forward to delivering a scheme that will serve the needs of businesses in the region, as well as create new jobs.”
Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change with Coventry City Council said, “We were really pleased to be able to support Meggitt’s growth plans and now its good that more new jobs will created on the site which will combine employment alongside new homes.
“Jobs will also be created in the construction phase – providing opportunities for local people straight away.”
Cllr Mike Bird, WMCA portfolio holder for housing and land and leader of Walsall Council, added: “This commitment from the devolved housing and land funds that the WMCA has secured from Government is just the latest example of how the region is continuing to invest in brownfield regeneration to support economic recovery.
“It is also helping to encourage new construction and investment in the West Midlands which had been the UK’s fastest growing region before the pandemic struck and has been hit harder economically than many others over the last 18 months.
“But the rate of investment we are now seeing across the region shows that our recovery is now well underway and the WMCA will continue to invest in this way to help drive new homes and jobs.”
The Holbrook Lane deal follows a series of landmark funding commitments over recent months for the regeneration of derelict industrial land, often referred to as brownfield, and is part of the WMCA’s trailblazing brownfield regeneration programme.
This includes an integrated approach for urban regeneration and ensures good design is embedded on all its projects through the WMCA design charter launched last year.
Access to funding was provided by Frontier Development Capital Ltd (FDC), a fund manager working closely with property developers to arrange investments from the WMCA’s Collective Investment Fund (CIF), Revolving Investment fund (RIF) and Brownfield Land and Property Development Fund (BLPDF).