Major canalside residential scheme breaks ground

Breaking ground at Port Loop: Badj Rahman, Places for People; James Lazarus, the Canal & River Trust; Cllr Ian Ward, Birmingham City Council; and Adam Willetts, Urban Splash.

A leading regional property developer plans to make its latest Urban Splash as it starts work on a major scheme close to Birmingham city centre.

Work has begun on the first 77 homes at Port Loop, close to Edgbaston Reservoir and less than a mile from the city centre along Birmingham’s New Mainline canal.

A joint venture between Urban Splash and Places for People will work with landowners Canal & River Trust and Birmingham City Council on its plans to build 1,150 homes, as well as commercial property and community facilities across the 43 acre site.

Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward described the scheme as “without doubt, one of the most exciting residential developments in the city for a very long time”.

Port Loop forms part of the Greater Icknield masterplan, a priority development site that is sharing in a £100m grant to boost housing schemes in the West Midlands announced by the Chancellor in the Budget in March.

Urban Splash has a long history of city centre regeneration and placemaking schemes that include Fort Dunlop and Rotunda in Birmingham and it has aspirations for Port Loop to have a similar impact.

How the Icknield Port Loop could eventually look

Adam Willetts, project director for the Urban Splash and Places for People joint venture, said: “This transformative project is a catalyst for even wider regeneration of the Icknield Port Loop area for family city living, all just 15 minutes’ walk from Birmingham city centre.

“With creative and innovative design built in, our aim is to bring huge benefits to the existing community as well as those attracted to the new development with vibrant new uses for the canals and canal-side spaces and providing a range of modern homes.”

Remediation work has been taking place on the site since the start of the year, rebuilding canal walls, clearing and recycling around 60,000 cubic metres of soil and materials, and re-engineering the site levels.

The first housing to be delivered will include 77 family homes. 40 of the properties will be created offsite by House, the Urban Splash modular brand, which allows customers to design the internal layout and composition of their own homes. The remaining 37 homes have been designed by Birmingham-based Glenn Howells Architects.