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Ventura South

THREE CAR dealerships, two drive-thru restaurants and seven industrial units could be on their way to Ventura Park if a proposal gets the go-ahead.

Aucott, the landowners,  and LSH Auto Properties (UK) Limited are proposing to develop ‘Ventura South’, Tamworth, south of Ventura Retail Park, which will sit south of the A5.

The proposal is for a new Mercedes- Benz car dealership, another two car dealerships, two drive-thrus and seven light industrial/warehouse/storage units on the same site.

Local residents have until 21st December to make comments on the proposals before the full planning application is submitted to Tamworth Borough Council.

Artist Impression of the Mercedes-Benz dealership.

Artist Impression of the Mercedes-Benz dealership. Credit: Indigo

The proposal for the Mercedes-Benz dealership is for 2 buildings, both two storeys in height with some parking on the roof level. The car dealership will provide a number of services including:

  • Showroom;
  • Vehicle workshop;
  • Vehicle valeting facilities;
  • Vehicle storage and handover centre

It is expected that the proposals will see 82 car parking spaces for staff at roof level; and 510 car parking spaces for visitors, staff and customers.

LSH Auto Properties (UK) Limited is part of the Lei Shing Hong  (LSH) Group, an international company that was established over 45 years ago and is the world’s largest Mercedes-Benz retailer.  The group operates over 140 Mercedes-Benz dealerships across China, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Cambodia, and more recently has expanded to Europe, including Germany and the UK.

In the UK, LSH acquired the Birmingham and Manchester businesses in July 2016 and now operates nine Mercedes-Benz dealerships in these areas.  Its current site, in Mile Oak,  was built in the mid-1980s and Mercedes-Benz outgrew the site and its buildings many years ago.  Several support sites have been acquired over time by the business across the areas of Fazeley and Tamworth to plug the gap and the search for a new site has been ongoing since 2004.

The developers say that Ventura South would provide the perfect opportunity to grow the business, allowing for both the relocation and expansion of LSH’s operations.

They claim that over 100 full-time equivalent jobs will be supported and created by the proposed development, which will be a landmark building and of exemplary design, providing a destination centre for LSH customers in the Birmingham area.

Moorgate old school buildings

STAFFORDSHIRE County Council has given outline approval for the former Moorgate School on The Leys in Tamworth, to be developed as a Voluntary and Community Hub.

After exploring a number of options, the panel agreed that retaining the historic building for community use was their preferred option if sufficient funding can be secured to make the building fit for purpose.

Support Staffordshire, a local umbrella charity, and formerly operating in Tamworth as Tamworth CVS, has brought together more than a dozen local community groups, charities and social enterprises, to explore the venture.

Support Staffordshire Chief Executive, Garry Jones said: “We are delighted that the initial support from the council has now been confirmed. We still have a lot of hard work to do, to raise money and fully understand the need and viability of a community hub, but this is a great first step.”

Local Community Group, Moorgate Action Group (MAG) conducted a survey of residents, locally and in the wider population, to provide evidence of what people want the site to be used for.  The results of the survey can be seen here.

MAG says that they will continue to be involved in the future of the site, to ensure that the proposed hub meets the needs of the people of Tamworth.

Support Staffordshire has also been working closely with local residents to ensure local residents are fully involved as the project develops.

The next step is to develop the business plan, secure funding and talk further with local community groups and residents.

“We want to thank everyone for their support so far, especially Moorgate Action Group and Council officers and members; it’s been a real partnership effort”- said Mr Jones.

Local county councillor Ben Adams said: “I welcome the news that the county council is exploring every option regarding the future of the buildings including working with Support Staffordshire and its plans for community use. The former Moorgate school buildings are a valued part of Tamworth’s heritage.”

hs2

STAFFORDSHIRE County council has pledged to continue to get the best deal for Staffordshire and its communities by championing their cause in Parliament.

Members of the council today agreed to lobby on Phase 2a which will run from the West Midlands to Crewe to mitigate the impact of the high-speed line.

Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, said: “From the outset the county council has been committed to get the best outcome from HS2 for the county, for communities and for businesses in terms of mitigation, compensation, improved connectivity and a share in any economic benefits the project delivers.

“As part of our lobbying on Phase One we achieved the lowering of five miles of the route in Lichfield, bringing significant environmental mitigation, and it is only right that we continue to do everything can to get the best deal for Staffordshire in this next phase.

“We also secured the inclusion of the Handsacre Link, which will allow Staffordshire residents to benefit from high-speed travel via the hub at Stafford.”

In total the county council had approximately 100 petitioning points on Phase 1 of HS2, which ranged from major changes to the vertical alignment of the railway to points of technical detail concerning the Environmental Statement.

The High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill was deposited to Parliament in July and a second reading is expected in the House of Commons in early 2018.

At this stage the county council and other parties will be able to petition on the impact along the 33 miles of the route and key petitioning points identified by the county council include:

  • The potential to lower the vertical alignment of the railway as it passes by Kings Bromley on viaduct
  • Proper assessment of the potential to join Whitmore and Bar Hill tunnels, avoiding a range of impacts including loss of ancient woodland
  • Ensuring maximum mitigation for the railhead/maintenance depot at Stone, including consideration of noise, visual impact, and transport planning issues
  • Petitioning on alternative or improved construction routes where these are unacceptable in safety or capacity terms
  • Ensuring proper mitigation and restoration for the borrow pits proposed in Lichfield and Newcastle
  • A range of ecological, archaeological, landscape and Public Rights of Way matters

In total, the high-speed rail line will run through 45 miles of Staffordshire in Phase 1 and Phase 2a with the route to Crewe due to open in 2026.

hs2

STAFFORDSHIRE is in great shape and in a great place to capitalise on a HS2 hub to help share in any economic benefits and drive the growth of the economy – that was the view of the county’s leader when he spoke on Thursday.

Following the launch of HS2: Getting the best out of Britain, County Council Leader Philip Atkins said the county was already well placed to maximise on improved connectivity and the drive to create more highly skilled jobs to meet the demands of a modern economy.

Philip said: “From the outset, we have made it clear that we were determined to get the best deal on HS2 for the whole of Staffordshire, our communities and our businesses in terms of mitigation, compensation, better connectivity and a share of any economic benefits.

“While we continue to champion the cause of communities along the route, it is important that Staffordshire and neighbouring cities, towns and villages share in shorter journey times and better connections via HS2 Stations and the HS2 hub at Stafford, which the construction of the Handsacre Link will allow.

“In Staffordshire, we have been at the forefront of harnessing the combined powers or research, intelligence and digital technology and the unique collaboration with partners in the Keele Innovation and Science Park a prime example of this.

“I am pleased that this report, once again recognises the huge wealth of experience and potential outside London and, today it is not just cities but counties which can be the driving force in growing not just a regional, but a national economy.

Today’s report by HS2 Limited’s Chairman Sir David Higgins, drew on evidence from over 100 employers, local authorities and universities and says that world-leading skills and research in the Midlands and the North can match that of London and the South East. Cities and regions in the Midlands and North account for 32 percent of the UK’s research staff working in universities with high-quality research, compared to 35 percent in London and the South East.

Philip added: “In our role with Midlands Connect, which will deliver strategic infrastructure and transport projects for the Midlands Engine and with the Constellation Partnership to the North we have an unparalleled opportunity to improve transport links across our regions.”

In total, Phase One and Phase 2a of HS2 will see the high-speed train route run through 45 miles of Staffordshire, with HS2 compatible trains running via Stafford from 2026. The county council petitioned on Phase One, which resulted in five miles of the route being lowered in Lichfield.

Tamworth Assembly Rooms plans

A MULTI-million pound project to transform Tamworth Assembly Rooms into a modern theatre fit for 21st century audiences is about to get underway in earnest, with construction work due to start in the next few weeks.

Although much work has been carried out internally to survey and prepare the Grade II listed building for its £4.8m makeover, the construction phase of the project can now finally begin.

The £3.38m building contract to refurbish, extend and modernise the 128-year-old theatre has been awarded to Novus Property Solutions who will be working as part of a project team made up of architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and a project manager.

Novus Property Solutions is an award-winning property maintenance, refurbishment and new build contractor based in Stoke-on-Trent which has a history spanning back almost as long as the Assembly Rooms building itself.

Their task includes modernising and extending the building including the creation of a café bar and exhibition space, a new box office, glazed double doors at the front and a brand new glass extension on the side of the building, which will be used as a studio space.

The theatre’s windows – which have been covered over for a number of years – will be opened up to allow natural light into the auditorium and to complement the new glass frontage to Corporation Street.

Accessibility will be enhanced with a new access ramp outside and an improved layout throughout and the current tiered seating will be replaced with new state-of-the-art retractable seating to create a contemporary and flexible theatre space. Backstage areas will be improved for performers and the building will be decorated throughout.

Although the theatre is being significantly refurbished and updated, its ornate historic features will be conserved.

left to right: Dean Povey of Novus Property Solutions, Andrew Newell of Rider Levett Bucknall, Tamworth Borough Council Cabinet member for Regeneration, Cllr Steve Claymore, Chairman of the Staffordshire and Stoke LEP David Frost CBE and Stephen Pitt-Francis of Brownhill Hayward Brown chartered architects.

left to right: Dean Povey of Novus Property Solutions, Andrew Newell of Rider Levett Bucknall, Tamworth Borough Council Cabinet member for Regeneration, Cllr Steve Claymore, Chairman of the Staffordshire and Stoke LEP David Frost CBE and Stephen Pitt-Francis of Brownhill Hayward Brown chartered architects.

Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Regeneration, Cllr Steve Claymore, said: “It’s great news that the building work can finally get underway in earnest. It may feel like it’s been a long time coming, but lots of statutory investigation and survey work has taken place behind the scenes, along with the tendering process, design work and everything else that had to be put in place before work could start.

“We are dealing with a very iconic and historic building and this project represents a significant investment in its future for the people of Tamworth and beyond to enjoy, so it’s important we get it right.

“That being said, we are now entering a very exciting phase of the project and I’m really looking forward to seeing the transformation taking place. Novus Property Solutions is an award-winning company with a strong track record and I’m confident they will be able to deliver a new theatre that the whole town can be proud of.”

The Assembly Rooms refurbishment is part of the wider Enterprise Quarter project, which is a joint initiative between Tamworth Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council.

The overall £6.1million scheme includes the creation of Tamworth Enterprise Centre, a new restaurant in the Carnegie Centre and ‘public realm’ open space. It is being funded by the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent LEP’s Single Local Growth Fund (£2.95m), the Heritage Lottery Fund (£903,400), Arts Council England (£365,000) and the remainder from Tamworth Borough Council.

David Frost CBE, Chairman of the Staffordshire and Stoke LEP, said: “The refurbishment of the Assembly Rooms is an important step forward in the transformation of Tamworth. Creating a vibrant and attractive town centre will increase visitor numbers, boost the local economy and create jobs, benefitting both Tamworth and the wider area.”

Novus will imminently begin setting up the site and carrying out asbestos surveys of the building. They will then start making preparations for the new extension, which has been designed to complement the existing character of the building.

The construction phase is expected to take around 14 months and this will be followed by further internal and technical work. If all goes to plan, the theatre should reopen during 2019, but further updates will be issued as the project progresses.

Dean Povey, operations manager for Novus, said: “The Assembly Rooms are an iconic part of Tamworth’s history and landscape. We’re looking forward to working closely with Tamworth Borough Council to bring the theatre up to date for the 21st century while ensuring it remains true to its heritage. Our team are all highly experienced in working with historic listed buildings like the Assembly Rooms and are committed to delivering a high quality of finish.”

Other members of the project team include Brownhill Hayward Brown Architects, who have worked on the designs for the landmark building, Keelagher Okey Klein quantity surveyors, Cundall structural engineers and mechanical and electrical engineers BWB Consulting.

The whole project is being managed by Rider Levett Bucknall UK.

Adam Ellis-Morgan, managing partner of project managers Rider Levett Bucknall Birmingham, said: “Tamworth Assembly Rooms plays such a vital role in the town’s history. It’s iconic for most residents. Working in partnership with Tamworth Borough Council, Novus and the whole project team, we’re helping to shape the future of this key heritage building and reviving it for the 21st century. Through project-managing the whole re-development, our goal is to revitalise the Assembly Rooms to their former glory.”

Adrian Mathias, Director of BHB Architects, said: “We very much look forward to starting this project with Novus and seeing the proposals take shape on site. Tamworth Assembly Rooms holds so many memories for the people of Tamworth and wider Staffordshire and it’s great to be part of the push to bring this building into the 21st century with the improved and extended facilities that are proposed.”

An artists view of Kerria Shops plans

PROPOSED designs for the new Tinkers Green and Kerria Centre housing estates have been revealed to members of the public at two community engagement events this week.

The £21.5million regeneration project to build new council homes on both sites took a major step forward earlier this year with the appointment of developers Keepmoat Regeneration, part of the ENGIE group.

Since their appointment, the developers have been busy working on the layout and detail of how the new estates might look and have drawn up plans for 141 new council homes to be built across the two sites.

These plans have now been shared with members of the public at the community engagement events, including layout, elevations and computer-generated images. The events gave residents living near the sites in Wilnecote and Amington a first look at the plans ahead of the formal planning application and consultation process, which will begin once the official detailed planning application has been submitted in the coming weeks.

An artists view of Tinkers Green plans

Artists view of Tinkers Green plans

Around 80 people attended the two events, where they were also able to consider new street names and vote on equipment choices for the new play area to be built at Tinkers Green.

The project represents the biggest house building programme by Tamworth Borough Council since the 1970s, with 136 houses, bungalows, flats and maisonettes being replaced with 141 new modern homes fit for the 21st century.

The proposals are to build 97 homes compromised of two, three and four bedroomed houses and one and two-bed apartments on the Tinkers Green site, plus a new play area, and 44 homes, comprised of two and three bedroom houses and one and two-bed apartments on the Kerria site, as well as a supermarket retail store.

Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Regeneration, Cllr Steve Claymore, said: “The redevelopment of Tinkers Green and Kerria is the biggest council housing programme in Tamworth for a generation and it gives us the opportunity to provide much-needed affordable homes that are fit for the 21st century.

“The community events went really well with lots of people taking the opportunity to have a look at the proposed layout and design of the new estates. The new designs look great and will provide stylish, modern council homes for current and future generations.”

Suggestions for street names are being reviewed and will be revealed in due course.

An artists view of Kerria Shops plans

An artists view of Kerria Shops plans

David Mellor, Regional Director of Keepmoat Regeneration, said: “We had a really good turnout at the consultation events and it was great to share the site plans with local residents. We had positive feedback all round and look forward to moving onto the next stage of pre-development.”

Residents will continue to be consulted throughout the development process, with the next stage being the submission of the formal planning application in the near future. Anyone who has any questions about the regeneration project in the meantime can contact Tamworth Borough Council’s  Housing Conditions and Supply Team on 01827 709709 or via email at [email protected].

Matalan at ventura park

TAMWORTH’S Matalan store is to close its doors for a number of months to make way for construction works.

Planning permission has been granted for an extension to the side of the store and the introduction of a mezzanine floor.  This means that the retail floor space will be spread across both the ground floor and first floor.

The plans for the Matalan store are part of wider plans for a face-lift and modernisation of Ventura Retail Park.

Tamworth Informed first reported on the plans in January when the application was submitted to the planning department at Tamworth Borough Council.

At this time, Matalan has not responded as to when the store is due to close and for how long.

Further Developments

Permission has been granted for the units on that phase of the Park to have new cladding to the outside and to modernise the look. The units look will be sticking to the appearance of Next. The plans show that the new frontages of the stores will be predominantly glazed and use new, modern materials.

In addition, units 2, 5 and 6; currently occupied by Halfords, Mothercare and Toys ‘R Us are to have Mezzanine floors installed.  In the case of Halfords, extended.

The car park will also see a facelift, with extra spaces added and an improved access road; moving the main road away from the front of the stores to increase safety to pedestrians.  An additional 146 parking spaces will be created.

An artists impression of the new look stores.

An artists impression of the new look stores.

The planning statement which was prepared by the developers at the time of application stated that the whole development would bring significant economic benefit to Tamworth with the creation of around 66 jobs based on the additional floor space and the assumption of one full-time employee per 90m of floor space.  This could add around £2.5 million to the local economy.

It is hoped by developers that the plans will ensure the major retails brands remain in Tamworth for years to come, securing existing employment.

A reminder that this work is being funded by a private company, J.B. Auctott, and not Tamworth Borough Council.  The proposals, securing employment and big names is surely a good thing for the town!

Yes, as residents, we would love investments from big names in the Town Centre, but we cannot force the hands of the big names, they choose where they want to do business.

What do you think of the plans?

The planned parking layout

The planned parking layout

hs2

COMMUNITIES affected by the construction of Phase One of HS2 are set to benefit from almost £3 million extra investment in road safety schemes, as part of a £30 million cash boost announced today.

The funding has been awarded to Staffordshire County Council to support road safety and cycle schemes along the Phase One line of route, which runs from London to the West Midlands, including 12 miles through Lichfield to Handsacre.

The county council will now be able to work with local communities to prioritise schemes with the funding, which is expected to be available until 2026.

Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet members with responsibility for HS2, said:

The high-speed rail line will run through 45 miles of Staffordshire in total and from the outset we have been committed to getting the best deal for Staffordshire and our communities in terms of mitigation, compensation, access to faster journeys via the Stafford HS2 hub and a share in the jobs and wider economic benefits.

The HS2 project is likely to be the biggest national transport scheme we will see delivered in our lifetime and the impact of the construction and operation of HS2 will be significant in the coming years, so I am pleased this fund will allow us to invest in schemes which will help keep our roads even safer for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

We will now work with both communities and HS2 Limited to prioritise those schemes in the Phase One area which will bring the biggest safety benefits to local communities.”

HS2 Minister Paul Maynard announced the funding as part of National Road Safety Week and said the investment will allow a legacy of road and cycle safety improvements for people who live and work along the HS2 route between London and the West Midlands.

Once local authorities have agreed plans for projects, they will agree the release of funds with HS2 Ltd. Authorities must ensure that schemes deliver long-term safety benefits.

Phase One of the scheme was given Royal Assent in February 2017. Although the route has been confirmed, details for the timing of works and access for construction traffic have still to be confirmed.

Tinkers Green from the sky

PROPOSED designs for the new Tinkers Green and Kerria Centre housing estates will be revealed to members of the public at two community engagement events this month.

The £21.5million regeneration project to build new council homes on both sites took a major step forward earlier this year with the appointment of developers Keepmoat Regeneration, part of the ENGIE group.

Since their appointment, the developers have been busy working on the layout and detail of how the new estates might look and have drawn up plans for 141 new council homes to be built across the two sites.

These plans will be shared with members of the public at the community engagement events, including layout, elevations and computer-generated images. The events will give residents living near the sites in Wilnecote and Amington a first look at the plans ahead of the formal planning application and consultation process, which will begin once the official detailed planning application has been submitted in the coming months.

As well as having the opportunity to ask any questions, residents will also be able to make suggestions for new street names on both estates and vote on equipment choices for the new play area to be built at Tinkers Green.

Details of the community events are as follows:

  • Tinkers Green plans: Monday, November 27, 5pm-8pm: Wilnecote High School, Tinkers Green Road, Wilnecote
  • Kerria Centre plans: Tuesday, November 28, 5pm-8pm: Presentation suite, Landau Forte Academy, Amington

The project represents the biggest house building programme by Tamworth Borough Council since the 1970s, with 136 houses, bungalows, flats and maisonettes being replaced with 141 new modern homes fit for the 21st century.

The proposals are to build 97 homes compromised of two, three and four bedroomed houses and one and two-bed apartments on the Tinkers Green site, plus a new play area, and 44 homes, comprised of two and three bedroom houses and one and two-bed apartments on the Kerria site, as well as a supermarket retail store.

Residents living near both sites will continue to be consulted throughout the design and development and the planned community engagement events are the next phase of that consultation process.

Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Regeneration, Cllr Steve Claymore, said: “The redevelopment of Tinkers Green and Kerria is the biggest council housing programme in Tamworth for a generation and it gives us the opportunity to provide much-needed affordable homes that are fit for the 21st century.

“It’s great to see the plans and designs taking shape and I’m confident that Keepmoat Regeneration will deliver new housing estates that everyone in the Wilnecote and Amington areas can be proud of.

“Consulting with local residents was a key part of the tendering process and we want those living near the developments to view the plans and have their say as the opportunities arise. People will also be able to leave a lasting impression on the estates for future generations by helping to determine the new street names, so I would encourage people to pop into one of the forthcoming events if they can.”

David Mellor, Regional Director of Keepmoat Regeneration, said: “It’s very important to consult with local residents when developing new housing schemes, especially ones of this scale, as it gives us an insight into how the development might impact the existing community.

“As a business, our goal is to build communities where people want to live and work. We look forward to sharing the plans with all those who attend the events and welcome their input.”

Anyone who has any questions about the regeneration project in the meantime can contact the Housing Conditions and Supply Team on 01827 709709 or via email at [email protected].

The previously approved outline planning applications can be viewed via Tamworth Borough Council’s planning portal at www.tamworth.gov.uk/planning, using the application number 0110/2015 for Tinkers Green and 011/2015 for Kerria.

Roadworks upper gungate

RESIDENTS from Riverside in Tamworth are to benefit from around £250,000 worth of investment to improve footpaths on the estate.

Staffordshire County Council’s highways crews will be carrying out resurfacing work on footpaths in Chartwell, Godolphin, Glyndebourne, Kentwell, Lorton and Gawsworth.  The work is expected to start on 20 November 2017 and take around 19 weeks to complete.

Helen Fisher, Cabinet Support Member for Highways and Transport at Staffordshire County Council said: “The investment and improvement work here is great news for people in the area and I am sure residents will notice a real difference in the condition of the footpaths once the work is complete. As always, I would like to thank people for their patience and co-operation during the works.”

Access to properties and businesses will be maintained as far as possible but may be restricted at times depending on works progress, residents will be notified of any temporary closures.

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