Investment deal unlocks site for new Digbeth homes

Stone Yard brownfield site to deliver nearly 1,000 homes.

A landmark development scheme for Digbeth has been unlocked thanks to investment of over £5 million from the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Stone Yard will deliver 995 homes on 1.37 hectares of brownfield land in the centre of Birmingham with work set to start on site in 2022.

The deal announced recently will pay for the clean-up of the site, which has stood vacant in recent years, so it can be brought forward for residential development. The scheme will include 20% affordable housing, using the WMCA’s unique definition of affordability, which is linked to real world local wages rather than property prices.

The investment has been made possible under the WMCA’s ‘brownfield first’ policy, which unlocks derelict industrial sites for new development, helping to protect green belt land in the process.

Within a five-minute walk of the future Curzon Street HS2 Station and a number of existing rail links including Moor Street Station, the new development has excellent transports links and is located in the heart of Digbeth.

Known as Stone Yard, the project is the largest ‘build to rent’ scheme in Birmingham and built across seven blocks, with the tallest standing at 32 storeys, offering new residents fantastic views of the city skyline.

Without this critical investment by the WMCA, using housing and land funds it has secured from Government, the Stone Yard scheme could not have proceeded.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair or the WMCA, said: “It really is brilliant news that another 995 homes on brownfield land are to be built in the region, creating more local jobs and helping to protect precious greenbelt land.

“I am particularly pleased that this development is in Digbeth, which is undergoing a radical transformation. With new housing, HS2, an expanded Midland Metro, the BBC relocation, and Stephen Knight’s film studios all on the way – along with so, so much more – Digbeth is fast becoming one of the real jewels of the West Midlands.

“Despite the pandemic the WMCA has continued to use the money we have secured from Government to unlock and transform brownfield sites, helping to build new high-quality homes that people need whilst protecting precious greenbelt land. That is exactly what we are doing once again with this Stone Yard development.”

The multi-million-pound investment, from the WMCA’s Land Fund, will support the construction of a range of much needed housing types alongside amenity space for residents.

Cllr Mike Bird, WMCA portfolio holder for housing and land and leader of Walsall Council, said: “Stone Yard will be one of the largest projects the WMCA has supported to date.

“Its regeneration is the latest in a series of WMCA investments that have continued throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, helping to provide market confidence and put in place the building blocks required to drive the region’s post-Covid-19 economic recovery plans.

“The proposals will regenerate a key city centre brownfield site bringing much needed homes and helping to complete the regeneration of the southern side of High Street, Deritend, historically used for trade counters and car dealerships.”

Hundreds of local construction jobs will be created throughout the building phase and on completion the housing operator will become a new employer in the region, bringing in staff to manage the buildings.

The scheme will be built around two landscaped courtyards and is being led by Birmingham-based residential developer Court Collaboration. The housing is designed by Glancy Nicholls Architects, alongside services consultant Couch Perry Wilkes and structural engineer CWA.

Anthony McCourt, CEO of Court Collaboration, said: “We’re delighted to have secured this investment from the WMCA and look forward to starting on site in the coming months.

“The Stone Yard is one of several fantastic developments coming forward in the heart of Birmingham and we’re immensely proud to be at the forefront of ambitious, innovative and thoroughly modern development in our beloved city.”

The Stone Yard will also include around 30,000 sq ft of commercial space for uses such as a gym, cinema and co-working space. With planning permission already given, the project is aimed to complete by 2026.

The scheme will deliver transformational placemaking, affordable housing and innovative construction techniques. It will also address growing city centre housing demand with mixed tenure options.

Stone Yard will provide the opportunity to utilise modern methods of construction alongside the WMCA’s new Design Charter, ensuring quality design is embedded in all WMCA funded projects.