As part of the work plan for 2018/2019, the Scrutiny Board requested a report on Kingshurst Village Centre Regeneration focussing on how the programme is building in the future opportunities for all parts of the community to benefit.
6. KINGSHURST TOWN CENTRE
The UK Central Project Manager provided Members with a PowerPoint presentation. The principle points highlighted through the presentation are summarised below.
Cabinet had identified the requirement to demolish The Parade, Kingshurst. Extensive community consultation had been undertaken regarding the development proposals for Kingshurst centre. Key findings arising from community engagement demonstrated there was a need to review the proposed red line scheme boundary to determine the extent of land required to deliver a transformational project and, secondly, there was a requirement to review the schemes planned commercial floor space in order to deliver a sustainable offer. The Kingshurst development site was recognised as a constrained site in its existing form, which had led the Council to consider potentially extending the development site boundary.
Existing key challenges were identified as:
• Land assembly.
• Ensuring the return of existing tenants post development.
• Working with local businesses.
• Working with local NHS services.
• Determining whether a Compulsory Purchase Order was required.
To progress the scheme proposals, the Council was in the process of addressing the following:
• The pace and scale of change in the retail market sector, especially over the past two years. The Council recognised that the redevelopment scheme must be transformational for Kingshurst and to support longer term community needs over the foreseeable future.
• The extended red line scheme boundary had been identified.
• Issues of connectivity (highway and footpath) in Kingshurst centre.
It was recognised that Kingshurst required regeneration, but the case for delivering regeneration had to be made to the clear in the Panning Brief. The planning consultation had been scheduled from 18th February to 18th March 2019. The Kingshurst Planning Brief identified key components included:
• Healthy Living: Is viewed as a Unique Selling Point of the scheme proposals and recognised to be a local priority.
• Provision of an anchor store, supported by a further six retail units.
• Provision of a commercial centre located in the north of the site between the Church and Primary School.
• New residential development
Members were advised three key options for future site development were currently under consideration:
• Option 1- Marston Drive: To use the existing road lay out for Marston Drive was viewed as the most deliverable option, but would not provide the transformational change sought for Kingshurst centre. New retail units would be located on Marston Drive. However, access to the park would be effected and, nor would any linkage to the Church or school be provided in the north-east quarter of the site.
• Option 2- Linking Church Close to Colling Walk: This option would support the establishment of a high street on the site. A high street could also service the Church and school. Scope would be made available for further improving links to the school. There was the option available to pedestrianize Marston Drive, with the railings removed from the park area to open up the space further. However, alignment with Church Close and bus access would be problematic in the event of this option being progressed.
• Option 3 - Provision of a new road through the middle of development site: This is the preferred, optimal solution, which would provide a strong and flexible high street. Negatives associated with the option are that there would be a requirement for some demolition, but there would be the option of re-provision of any units initially lost.
Members received a verbal presentation from the Consultant in Public Health, Places and Communities addressing the public health element of the Kingshurst development proposals. It was reported a detailed health assessment for the scheme had been undertaken, with key issues identified as:
1. Key Health Needs
Kingshurst was recognised as having a young population. Addressing the needs of children and young people was recognised as key to breaking the cycle of deprivation. Mortality and premature death rates were high, with pulmonary, liver and lung conditions prevalent. Lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol consumption, poor diet and lack of exercise were seen as significant contributing factors to the prevalence of such conditions.
2. Mental Health
Higher rates of depression related illness had been reported.
3. Wider Health Needs
A range of wider health needs had been identified requiring further review, including:
• Pre-school child development
• Parental isolation
• Lack of volunteering
• Higher incidence of crime
• High anxiety and fear of crime
• Overcrowding in private rented housing stock
• Fuel poverty
• Lower employment levels for 18 – 24 year olds.
Sources and examples of national Best Practice to address the above had been identified via Public Health England, the Town and Country Planning Association and Transport for London (Healthy Streets Guidance).
4. Proposed Next Steps
• Workshops: Councillors and Kingshurst residents were scheduled to meet through workshops to discuss the suitability / possible application of the best practice examples identified.
• Further engagement with G.P.’s in the area regarding primary care provision.
• Maximising the use of existing community facilities.
• Production of a plan between the Council and local residents to address the above issues.
Members received a verbal presentation from the Assistant Director (Stronger Communities), through which Members were advised that:
• A Kingshurst Community Development Action Plan was to be produced by the Council.
• The Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Stronger Communities and Partnerships Decision Session scheduled for March 2019 was due to address working arrangements with the voluntary sector, which would have some bearing on arrangements for supporting the Kingshurst development proposals.
• Volunteering opportunities and community project arrangements in Kingshurst were to be explored further.
• Community assets and any gaps in provision were to be addressed.
• Working with Kingshurst community leaders and community cohesion was to be addressed further.
• Work was in progress to develop destinations and activities in the Kingshurst locality.
• Work was being undertaken by the Council to develop a Needs Assessment to identify the Kingshurst community profile (building on the Place Survey and Strategic Community Assessment).
The Senior Development Officer (Housing Policy) provided a verbal presentation for the Scrutiny Board, addressing the housing development opportunities presented through the Kingshurst development.
Members were advised that the objective for Kingshurst Town Centre was to create a new, vibrant and sustainable centre with retail and medical facilities, which was accessible through a range of public transport modes. The scheme also sought to provide 40% affordable housing and mixed tenure in the town centre itself. The Council was keeping the choice of delivery vehicle open at this time e.g. private developer or registered housing provider. This was an area the Council’s Strategic Housing Framework addressed, in identifying different delivery vehicles for housing development that would better support the objectives of the Council going forward.
Housing provision for disabled residents was being taken forward through the Council’s Local Plan via the Lifetime Homes Standards, which would be delivered through the Kingshurst development.
Key challenges to delivering a successful Kingshurst town centre development were identified as:
• Acceptance and support for the proposals by the local community.
• Delivery of Solihull Council Plan priorities.
• Land Assembly
• Property Assembly
• Potential use of CPO powers
Following receipt of the PowerPoint and verbal presentations, Members asked a series of questions in relation to the report, summarised below.
Members endorsed the approach of positioning health outcomes at the centre of the wider town centre development objectives. In respect of social housing provision and the number of units to be delivered, it was envisaged that approximately 100 new properties would be delivered, with final numbers dependent on the schemes final red line boundary. The extent of the final scheme boundary would also influence the assumptions made in terms of the numbers of new housing units to be provided as well as having a significant bearing on the schemes overall costs.
The Scrutiny Board was informed that the driver for the development proposals was the provision of a new and improved town centre. The Scrutiny Board commented that irrespective of the final scheme boundary or final option taken forward to delivery, the Council should ensure that there was no net loss of housing units arising from implementation of the Kingshurst town centre scheme.
It had been recognised that community space was an integral component of the development for local community and voluntary groups to use and would be provided as part of the Kingshurst town centre development, but the location and scale of space to be provided had yet to be confirmed.
Project phasing was recognised as a key component for successful delivery of the Kingshurst development. It was the Councils intention to keep local businesses open during the town centre development, as it was acknowledged that it would present a significant challenge to draw businesses and customers back to the Kingshurst town centre area after any extended period of closure for local businesses. The Scrutiny Board welcomed the recognition that the Council had given to the importance of business continuity.
Embedding health aspects in the planning process and addressing social determinants of health in Kingshurst would be developed further. The potential for locating retail units next to the Kingshurst Primary School, and the potential negative public health impact on children this may have had been recognised and would be considered further by the Council.
Members commented that expectations around volunteering in the wider Kingshurst community may be unrealistic in light of the age profile for the area, as well as recognising that many residents may have responsibility for young children, be acting as informal carers for family members and working full-time or engaged in multiple employment roles. However, the Scrutiny Board did support the ambition for increasing participation through volunteering activities and for on-going work to support the voluntary sector in Kingshurst.
Scrutiny Members welcomed the provision of adapted properties for disabled residents and the work being undertaken to provide housing in general for residents recognised as vulnerable. The Scrutiny Board noted that all new build properties would be built to comply with recognised technical housing standards. Homes would also be designed for potential adaptation for wheelchair access. A decision would be taken once new housing units had been constructed as to how many of the units would be converted for wheelchair access.
The Scrutiny Board Chairman raised comments on behalf of Councillor Cole (Ward Member for Kingshurst and Fordbridge), which in summary included:
• It was important to connect the voluntary sector with the town centre.
• Library provision should be retained as part of any Kingshurst town centre redevelopment.
• Post Office provision should be retained as part of any Kingshurst town centre redevelopment.
• Positioning the Parish Church and Primary School in the centre of Kingshurst would be very positive development.
• Provision of G.P. and dental services in the town centre would be beneficial for the Kingshurst community.
• Public transport planning and connectivity for Kingshurst should be addressed as a priority, as current public transport accessibility was poor.
The Scrutiny Board raised the prospect of community engagement models which would allow residents to contribute to the Kingshurst neighbourhood planning. Members were advised that a project sub-group was already in place which focussed on the ‘community offer’ as a dedicated Kingshurst development work stream.
Finally, the Scrutiny Board was informed that the Kingshurst project was at stage two of a six stage Gateway Process, which was continually under review. The next project stage entailed producing an outline business case. Options would be refined leading to submission of a Planning Application in late 2019. The outline business case would be submitted through the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) before submission of the full business case.
Having considered the Kingshurst Town Centre report, the Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board:
1. To note the progress made towards the regeneration of Kingshurst Town Centre;
2. To note the findings and recommendations of the Kingshurst Health Needs Assessment;
3. To note the identified opportunities to strengthen links to the local voluntary and community sector in Kingshurst;
4. To note the proposed approach to housing development opportunities; and,
5. To endorse the strategic approach and objectives detailed in the Kingshurst Village Centre Planning Brief and to engage further with the Kingshurst Village Centre scheme through the Scrutiny Board’s annual work programme for 2019/20.
The Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board meeting closed at 8:15 p.m.