Wavensmere Homes has unveiled detailed plans and computer-generated images of the £150 million proposals to redevelop Wolverhampton’s Canalside South – a former industrial site benefiting from frontage onto the Wyrley & Essington Canal and the Wolverhampton Branch of the Birmingham Main Line Canal.

Over 500 eco-focused homes and a range of commercial amenities are proposed for the 17 acre site – one of the largest city centre residential development opportunities in the Midlands. The scheme is set to open up a new walkway to the city core, reducing the previous walk time by 20 minutes, and igniting investment into a commercial corridor. A public consultation process is now launched, welcoming local opinions on the plans. 

The 17 acre waterfront development opportunity 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 City of Wolverhampton Council’s former British Steel site and its land off Qualcast Road – all brought together to ensure a comprehensive development takes place.

Wavensmere Homes is proposing over 380 two and three bedroom townhouses – designed to target an EPC-A rated specification – and 140 one and two bedroom apartments. The multi-award-winning urban regeneration specialist has also published plans to redevelop and reanimate disused railway arches on the site into 7,000 sq ft of lettable commercial space.

James Dickens, Managing Director of Wavensmere Homes, said: “We are excited to reveal our plans and visuals for Canalside South, which illustrate the transformational impact this regeneration project could bring about. The £150 million of investment and different housing typologies we are proposing will be the catalyst for a new wave of ambitious city living, which is vital to see the Wolverhampton Pound spent locally. 

“Our team has a strong history of regenerating vacant land in the Black Country, and we are preparing to transform this site into a landmark development that the whole region can be immensely proud of. 70% of our existing supply chain is embedded into the Black Country, and the construction programme will create more than 100 jobs. We are keen to receive comments and input from local people about our plans to reanimate this strategic stretch of canalside land.”

Glancy Nicholls Architects and RPS have drawn up the plans for the low-rise development, which emulates the surrounding conservation area and maximises both the canalside setting and 4.4-acres of new public open space. The site is also located within a few minutes’ walk of the heart of the city centre and its award-winning £150 million transport interchange.

City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Stephen Simkins, said: “The comprehensive plans being put forward by Wavensmere Homes for Canalside South reflect the national significance of this development opportunity, which occupies one of the most historic stretches of canal in the country. The redevelopment of this prime site will enable our residents to benefit from superb connectivity, amenities, and health and wellbeing opportunities at this wonderful heritage location.

“Bringing life back to redundant brownfield sites along our canal network is critical to boosting footfall into Wolverhampton city centre, fulfilling a key objective of our Canalside Delivery Partnership with the Canal & River Trust.”

Wavensmere Homes proposes to future-proof the Canalside South site by installing electric only heating systems across the site. A range of technologies will be utilised across the development, consisting of air source heat pumps, solar panels and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR). The development plans also feature dedicated EV charging to each home, alongside an array of EV chargers for visitors.

The overall vision for the Wolverhampton Canalside masterplan is the delivery of around 1,000 homes to meet both the city and wider region’s housing needs, with sustainability and place making at its heart.

Andrew Chandler, Development Manager at the Canal & River Trust, added: “We are delighted to be working collaboratively with City of Wolverhampton Council and Wavensmere Homes to bring forward this transformational high quality canalside residential led scheme which will deliver generous well connected walkways and public open spaces. The proposed layout will transform this derelict brownfield land, connecting more people to the canals and to its rich biodiversity. 

“Canalside South has the potential to influence the quality of future development around our canals. It will also demonstrate the positive impact that water has on those who live and use the waterways, encouraging more people to engage with their local canal and at the same time help support what we do as a charity and show that life really is better by water.”

Birmingham-headquartered Wavensmere Homes has 3,500 homes on site, or currently in planning. The firm is in the final phases of the £175m redevelopment of the former Derbyshire Royal Infirmary – Nightingale Quarter consists of 925 energy-efficient houses, apartments, and community amenities on the previously vacant 18.5-acre site in Derby city centre. The company is constructing two other major brownfield regeneration schemes, located in central Birmingham and Ipswich, and has further projects – including four additional landmark schemes in Derby and Cheltenham – in the immediate pipeline. 

To view the plans and submit comments, visit Canal Side. The deadline to submit comments on the public consultation website is 5pm on Friday 28 June, 2024.