Partnership will boost vital regeneration in Walsall and create 2,000 jobs

(l-r): Simon Lloyd, Head of Industrial & Logistics at Cushman & Wakefield in Birmingham; Tom Westley, Enterprise Zone Chairman for the Black Country LEP; Councillor Lee Jeavons, Deputy Leader of Walsall Council; Jonathan Turner, Head of Development Consultancy at Cushman & Wakefield in Birmingham

Leading real estate company Cushman & Wakefield has been awarded a major contract to help a local authority breathe new life into a number of key development sites in the vicinity of the M6 motorway around Junction 10.

The contract is with Walsall Council, which is spearheading the regeneration of sites in the Darlaston element of the Black Country Enterprise Zone (BCEZ). Development of these sites is a key priority for the council and the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership and it is hoped they will bring 2,000 new jobs to the borough in the coming years.

Councillor Lee Jeavons, Deputy Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Regeneration said: “Jobs are of the utmost importance in the borough, which has been hit hard over the years by the decline of traditional industries. The Council has been playing a vital role in the regeneration of Darlaston and Pleck during the past two decades, and now the results of this are starting to come to the fore.”

Cushman & Wakefield’s development consulting team is to assist the council in accelerating the development of the sites, and also play a key role in attracting developers, investors and occupiers.

All of the sites located within the Junction 10 cluster, which form part of the wider BCEZ that also includes sites at i54 and Wolverhampton North, are to be marketed to companies operating in a number of Black Country LEP priority sectors, including: advanced manufacturing, transport, construction, environmental and building services.

The Darlaston sites occupy some 40 hectares of land, the largest of which is Phoenix 10, which is situated in close proximity to both Junction 9 and Junction 10 of the M6.

Phoenix 10 extends to 44 acres. The site was formerly the location of an IMI refinery and has been derelict for a number of years.  Once developed, it could accommodate up to 60,000 sq m of floorspace, and its regeneration could help spark the development of other sites in the local area.

Cushman & Wakefield is currently leading on the procurement of a development partner for the Phoenix 10 site in conjunction with Walsall Council and the Homes and Communities Agency, with the aim of the site being fully developed by 2022.

The other sites, under various ownerships, that are being brought forward include Aspect 2000, Gasholders, Boxpool, Parallel 9/10, Central Point and Tempus 10.

Walsall Council has been investing heavily in improving the local infrastructure around the various sites to improve regional and local access for Black Country businesses.

Notably, there has been the recent completion of the £26m Darlaston Strategic Development Area Access Project (DSDA), a series of highway improvements to provide better traffic access to key Darlaston employment sites.

The council is also working in partnership with Highways England on the £60 million Junction 10 capacity improvement scheme to reduce congestion and to improve the attractiveness of the local area for business and investment.

The development of sites has also been aided by a relaxation of planning procedures within the Darlaston area, and also by a number of financial inducements within the BCEZ, including a business rates discount for five years.

Cushman & Wakefield has already been working with Walsall Council on the BCEZ sites, and the new contract will continue the relationship for a further three years, with the potential for this to be extended.

The company will support the council in delivering development of the various sites, by providing a range of commercial property advice and various other expertise, including analysing the market in order to target potential occupiers and generate interest in the sites.

Jonathan Turner, Head of Cushman & Wakefield’s development consulting team in the Midlands, said: “We are really pleased to be continuing our relationship with Walsall Council and supporting the council’s efforts in delivering jobs and growth in the BCEZ area.

“We have a long standing role providing strategic delivery advice in respect of the BCEZ, and a strong track record in the procurement and delivery of large-scale commercially led public and private regeneration and property projects.

“The delivery of the Enterprise Zone sites will be the catalyst for the further development of the wider area. At present, there is a lack of supply of land for development in the Black Country, and this is constricting the further growth of the local economy. We are hopeful our work will help resolve that.

Tom Westley, Enterprise Zone Chairman for the Black Country LEP, said: “Economic growth and job creation are our main priorities, and these sites in Darlaston are an important part of the Black Country Enterprise Zone, and have the potential to make this area one of the UK’s most significant in terms of attracting major investment.”

Other members of Cushman & Wakefield team include Claire Evans, associate director, development consulting; Simon Lloyd, senior director, industrial agency and logistics; and Kathryn Hemingway, graduate surveyor, development consulting.