A new development scheme with the potential to create thousands of houses in Solihull has been put back on the table.
The masterplan would see surplus car parks at the NEC campus turned into housing after discussions commenced to resurrect the plan which was last mooted in 2018.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has revealed that talks are now under way with a view to formally submitting the site for regeneration.
The plans are light on detail at the moment but previous proposals have suggested more than 2,000 residential units could be built there.
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Mr Street said: “This is a game-changing proposal from the NEC which could see an enormous new brownfield housing site in the West Midlands, right in the borough which faces the biggest greenbelt challenge.
“Our region is leading the country in reclaiming brownfield sites for housing but Solihull borough is almost exclusively in the greenbelt. Finding brownfield sites here is a challenge which is why this offer from the NEC is so exciting.
“If we can make this happen, this site will be an important contribution to meeting Solihull’s legal obligations to provide housing land and would secure the long-term protection of a significant amount of greenbelt.”
A statement from the NEC Group added: “Discussions are taking place with Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Birmingham City Council and the mayor’s office on how we can continue to support the protection of the greenbelt while supporting the ambitious development plans for the region.”
The NEC masterplan, published three years ago, called the project ‘NEC City’ and set out initial proposals for residential development.
“Contemporary apartments provide an attractive place to live in a unique setting and will bring a new community at the heart of NEC City,” said the document.
“There is potential to accommodate up to 2,500 homes dependent on market conditions. A mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments is envisaged.”
These ambitions are also referenced in the council’s Draft Local Plan which will set the blueprint for future development over the next 15 years.
Sixteen out of 18 of the “allocated sites” in the Draft Local Plan are within the greenbelt so this NEC site would be seen as a way of helping reduce the use of Solihull’s greenbelt for construction.