£188 million industrial project to create 1,000 jobs moves a step closer

A near-£200 million transformation of disused land that will see more than 1,000 new jobs created in Walsall has moved a step closer. A ‘reserved matters’ planning application for the first phase of the £188 million Spark scheme, which will see new industrial space being created, has been given the green light by Walsall Council planners.

It means permission has been granted for the first three buildings of the development to accommodate storage and distribution, industrial and manufacturing companies. The site, off Reservoir Place, was previously known as Phoenix 10 and was once home to the James Bridge Copper Works

The area is riddled with gases and contaminants from its previous industrial uses although these are not harmful to anyone in the surrounding area. A clean-up operation is ongoing and is anticipated to be completed this summer, with construction work hoped to begin soon after.

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Spark is being delivered by HBD in partnership with Walsall Council, Homes England, West Midlands Combined Authority and Black Country LEP. The first units are expected to be ready for occupation in 2025.

In the application, AJA Architects said: "The redevelopment of the James Bridge Copperworks will be an employment led development of strategic importance, not only locally, but also regionally. It is therefore critical that the proposals are of the highest quality, with the site master planned so that it maximises the benefits for the occupiers, users and neighbours alike.

"Key to this objective has been the considered siting of buildings within a well-designed and appropriately landscaped estate road infrastructure, which will combine access by all available modes of transport, giving high priority to pedestrians." The site has been empty for more than two decades and it is hoped the new development will play a major role in attracting investment to the borough.

Justin Sheldon, Head of Region, HBD, said: "Spark is one of the most significant regeneration schemes in the Midlands, particularly in terms of the inward investment value and job creation. It's extremely well-located, which has helped to drive strong interest from potential occupiers which is very positive."

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