Oldbury industrial site finally being developed as £1.4m public money spent on site
An eyesore former industrial site in Oldbury is being cleared ready for development after benefitting from £1.4 million of public money.
The brownfield site overlooking the Titford Canal off Mill Lane has stood empty since the 1990s but is now being transformed ready for 84 homes to be built by developer Lioncourt Homes.
The work is progressing after a deal was reached between West Midlands Combined Authority, Sandwell Council and Lioncourt Homes to clean up and transform the 5.6 acre site.
The combined authority is spending £1.4m on clearing the site, with the money coming from a £100m 'Land Fund' given to West Midlands Mayor Andy Street by the Government in 2018.
The homes will be a mixture of two, three and four-bedroom homes and 16 of them will be available on a shared-ownership basis to satisfy the clause in all WMCA grants that 20 per cent of the homes must be affordable.
Sandwell Council leader Yvonne Davies said the site had been in a "terrible condition" and had attracted a string of complaints.
"I've been a councillor for 12 years and it's been terrible since before my time," she said.
"This has been an eyesore and a magnet for problems, lots of anti-social behaviour and fires – and so almost weekly, there's been an issue.
"And local people have been desperately calling for it to be developed.
"It's going to be very high quality, brilliant homes, for people to life in – and there's already a waiting list of 1,400.
"It's extraordinary and that tells you about the need for decent housing in the area."
Previous plans to build on part of the site, which backs onto a railway line and is near Langley Green station, were approved by Sandwell Council but failed to materialise.
However in 2018 the Government gave £100m to the devolved authority to spend on buying and decontaminating brownfield sites across the region, saying the money "should deliver at least 8,000 homes".
Mr Street said the move would help alleviate pressure on the green belt.
He said: "I'm absolutely delighted because it's another example of another industrial site in the Black Country coming back into use.
"We have a brownfield first policy and it's great to be working with Lioncourt Homes to make this happen – and most importantly to build new homes.
"It's been an eyesore site and if it falls into disrepair it becomes a place where there will be anti-social behaviour.
"That doesn't reflect well on the local community and there's so many benefits to building homes here – it alleviates pressure on the green belt and it's very sustainable.
"And we're only a few minutes from the railway line so it's good this is here."
Colin Cole, chief executive of Lioncourt Homes, said: "We've not opened the show home – we do that at the end of March – and we've already got 1,400 people on the list.
"The quality of the homes on the site will be the same as everywhere else – a high standard.
"It's absolutely fantastic and people can first move into the homes from June and we're expected to be off-site in about two years."