Birmingham: A report detailing the extensive progress already made on delivering the Perry Barr Regeneration Scheme (PBRS) and the measures needed to ensure the project’s successful completion is due before Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet on March 17.
The council has delivered at pace on the PBRS – an almost £500million+ investment into one of Birmingham’s most deprived neighbourhoods – since the original full business case was approved in the summer of 2019.
Over 90 per cent of the required land is now within the council’s control and the necessary processes are in place to secure the remainder.
Contracts are also signed to deliver 72 per cent of the 6,500 bed spaces needed during the initial use as the Commonwealth Games Village, with that figure set to soon reach 97 per cent through identified proposals, with a solution for the remainder (184 beds) managed through effective scheduling of sporting activities at Games time.
But in order to mitigate pressures which have arisen over the last year, including construction cost inflation, the revised full business case (RFBC) for the PBRS has been drawn up following detailed consideration of nine potential options.
The preferred option will ensure the council meets its commitments for Games-time accommodation as well as maximising benefits of the scheme for the people of Birmingham as a housing legacy project – a total of 1,400 much-needed homes for citizens, as the first phase of a long-term scheme to build 5,000 new homes in north-west Birmingham.
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The redevelopment of Perry Barr and the surrounding area is one of the council’s most important projects.
“It will lead to major benefits for existing and future residents, enabling Perry Barr to become one of the most vibrant, dynamic and well-connected parts of Birmingham.
“Through this revised full business case we clearly demonstrate the substantial progress made on reducing financial pressures, whilst honouring our commitments to the Commonwealth Games, the best possible athlete experience and to the people of Birmingham, in terms of the Games having no detriment to the taxpayers of the city.”
In summary, the revised full business case reduces a range of costs with significant mitigation strategies. The council is committing £35.7 million of funding to the project through the RFBC (£15.7million from existing capital contingencies and £20million from windfall capital receipts) which is levering an investment into Perry Barr of over £500million.
To further de-risk the scheme, it is proposed that options are explored with partners to identify suitable funding solutions that increase the level of contingency for the project to a level suitable for the size and complexity of the scheme.
The RFBC also reiterates the reasons why the planned A34 highways improvements are of critical importance pre-Games.
These include the point that the existing local highways infrastructure would be unable to accommodate the improved public transport facilities required to support the wider regeneration of Perry Barr, leading to a reduction in the environmental credentials of the PBRS.
Additionally, it says the retention of the flyover would lead to a failure to deliver over 200 new homes earmarked for post-Games development, which would remain locked within a busy traffic island.
Cllr Ward added: “The importance of this scheme cannot be underestimated. It is a catalyst for many improvements in Perry Barr, which would have been delivered at a much slower pace or not at all if it were not for the investment the Commonwealth Games is levering into Birmingham.
“As with all major projects, we will continue to robustly monitor progress and work collaboratively with our delivery partners to enable a successful Commonwealth Games and the meaningful legacy these plans and the hundreds of millions of pounds that are being invested into the city will deliver.”
The RFBC can be viewed on the Birmingham City Council website.