Council to reveal new preferred developer after closure of modular homes factory

City of Wolverhampton Council is set to announce a preferred developer for its Canalside South scheme after the factory in Yorkshire where hundreds of homes were due to be built was lined up for closure.

The council last year announced Legal & General (L&G) as its preferred developer for the scheme of around 400 modular homes but L&G said in May this year it would halt new production at its loss-making modular housing factory near Leeds whilst it reviewed the future of the business.

Now, the council and its landowning development partner Canal & River Trust, said they have evaluated the developer selection through a best and final bid process.

Cabinet will now be asked at its meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) to approve the preferred developer prior to entering into a new exclusivity agreement and pre-planning application engagement in advance of contracts being exchanged for the 17.5-acre site.

The Canalside South scheme sits on the eastern edge of the city centre and is made up of the Canal & River Trust-owned former Crane Foundry site and the council’s former British Steel site and land off Qualcast Road – all brought together under a collaboration agreement designed to ensure a comprehensive development takes place.

Wolverhampton Council has been contacted for comment on who the developer is, with no immediate response received.

Commercial partners Avison Young have supported the marketing of the site.

City of Wolverhampton Council’s Stephen Simkins said: “Developer appetite remains strong to deliver a transformational project in this part of the city.​

“Following due diligence and a lot of hard work we have moved quickly to find an alternative preferred developer for this large and exciting opportunity at Canalside South and, through our Canalside Delivery Partnership with the Canal & River Trust, we are determined to realise its potential.

“Strong partnership working is delivering billions of pounds of investment across Wolverhampton – and by pooling our resources with the Canal & River Trust we believe we can bring about a nationally significant development on one of the most historic stretches of canal in the country.

“It will enable our residents to benefit from superb connectivity, amenities and health & wellbeing opportunities at this wonderful heritage location.”

Bill Hughes, chair of the L&G modular homes board, said: “We are reluctantly proposing to reduce business activity and cease production of new modules at the factory.”

Hughes said L&G remained “deeply committed” to the UK housing sector, after building 15,000 homes overall over the past three years.

“As such, we are continuing to actively explore all options available to us and will retain a select workforce to ensure high quality delivery and aftercare services for our existing customers, whilst engaging with each of our partners regarding ongoing modular projects.”

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