The new homes will seek to deliver low-carbon housing with low energy environmental design while exploring modern methods of construction.


Glenn Howells Architects has unveiled plans for a 5,000-home masterplan around the National Exhibition Centre in Solihull, east Birmingham

The new ‘urban village’ will be built on more than 27ha of surface-level car parking and surplus land, and will include a new hotel, restaurants and cafés, a primary school, 35,000m² of commercial space and 14,000m² of event space.

The scheme is being developed by the NEC Group, which is owned by Blackstone, a New York-based asset manager that looks after $650 billion (£482 billion) of funds. It is being built on the NEC Campus, on land owned by Birmingham City Council.

NEC Group said the plans will ‘establish an inclusive, diverse and prosperous community for over 11,000 people,’ adding that the new settlement will work ‘in harmony with the existing mature woodland and hedgerow landscape’ and ‘promote nature-focused and active lifestyles’.

The plans also include a new ‘grand plaza’ for the NEC Campus, to improve the visitor offer. This will be surrounded by restaurants as well as the new hotel and will provide a ‘dynamic outdoor event space’.

NEC Group said the plans would create a total of 3,500 new jobs.

There will also be a new ‘urban boulevard’ which will connect the site with the HS2 Interchange station and the Arden Cross development around it. The boulevard will be lined with commercial buildings with ground-floor retail space.

The masterplan will be subject to a six-week consultation running from 10 November to 24 December. After this it will be updated before a developer for the first phase of the scheme is procured.

Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: ‘This is an exciting moment for Birmingham and the wider West Midlands, as this transformational masterplan is published. Birmingham is attracting record levels of investment and the NEC Masterplan is testament to that.

‘Over the coming years this project will provide much-needed new homes and high-quality jobs for people from our region and I encourage people to make their thoughts known through the public consultation.

‘I believe that we are at the beginning of a golden decade for Birmingham, with the Commonwealth Games taking place next year and the arrival of HS2. The NEC Masterplan will connect the site with Arden Cross and the High Speed 2 Interchange, which together will transform this area, creating thousands of jobs, and building thousands of homes.’

Architect’s view

Our approach to the NEC Masterplan in the UK Central Solihull Hub Area is an ambitious vision for what will be a new urban village within an established blue and green infrastructure on the edge of the Forest of Arden.

The existing infrastructure that serves the NEC Campus and the excellent transport links, including Birmingham Airport, Birmingham International train station and the new HS2 interchange, provides the ideal opportunity for the regeneration of this brownfield site to help meet the housing needs of the region.

We believe the matured landscaping, lakeside setting, and nearby woodlands will help to create a healthy and active environment for residents and visitors alike.

The masterplan will provide amenities, a range of communal uses and a primary school to meet community needs and build on the principles of the 15-minute neighbourhood.

What’s also exciting is the range of typologies on offer that will deliver homes to a wider demographic of society from young families to professionals and those in later life. The new homes will seek to deliver low-carbon housing with low energy environmental design while exploring modern methods of construction.’

Dav Bansal, partner, Glenn Howells Architects


Source: Architects Journal

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