After lying derelict for nearly a decade, the site of Walsall’s former Harvestime Bakery has finally been transformed into a thriving new community.
Work on the 88 new homes has just been completed and many of the properties on the site of the former sliced bread factory are already occupied by families and other tenants.
The Mayor, who also chairs the WMCA, said: ““Brownfield sites like Harvestime are notoriously difficult to develop, which is why they’ve remained derelict for so long. But with the funds we’ve secured from Government, we’ve been able to intervene and clean up the land, making it ready for new homes and commercial spaces while simultaneously creating local jobs and helping to protect our precious greenbelt.
“This work to unlock some of the region’s most complex industrial sites for development has continued even through the pandemic, and Harvestime is yet another example of this.”
Adam Sharpe, preconstruction director at Vistry Partnerships West Midlands, added: “This represents a significant contribution to the new-build local housing market in the area and were delighted to be able to work with the WMCA, Gatehouse Bank and WHG on bringing this mixed tenure development forward.”
Of the 88 new homes on the site, 66 have been made available for private rent through Gatehouse Bank and 22 are classed as affordable.
All housing schemes that receive WMCA investment are required to make at least 20% of the new homes affordable under the combined authority’s own locally applied definition, which is linked to real world local wages rather than property prices.
A focus on house building on brownfield sites is a key part of the region’s Covid recovery plans. Throughout the Covid pandemic the WMCA has continued to press ahead with its multi-million-pound investment programme to unlock and transform scores of brownfield sites like Harvestime, provide market confidence and help drive the region’s post-Covid-19 economic recovery
Cllr Mike Bird, leader of Walsall Council and WMCA portfolio holder for housing and land, said: “Without the WMCA’s investment, these sites would stay undeveloped, and Harvestime would have remained a derelict plot in the centre of Walsall.
“But this development shows that with the right investment we can breathe new life into local communities. Yet this is just one of dozens of former industrial sites we are transforming for new homes and jobs and it demonstrates why the WMCA is a national leader in brownfield regeneration.”
Written by: David Watkins