Rolfe Street regeneration plan approved by Sandwell Council -what it will look like

The Rolfe Street masterplan was approved this week by councillors at Sandwell council’s cabinet in a move to bring up to 600 houses to the area

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Plans to regenerate Rolfe Street, one of the most significant areas of brownfield urban renewal in Europe, have been approved by councillors.

The Rolfe Street masterplan was approved this week (21 June) by councillors at Sandwell council’s cabinet in a move to bring up to 600 houses to the area.

The masterplan includes a public square; new green spaces linking up existing canals in the area; and new connecting points between the train station and the Midlands Metropolitan hospital.

The area – identified for residential led mixed use development since 2008 – was awarded £2 million from the Towns Fund to help facilitate the development.

Rolfe Street is located at the western end of Smethwick towards Birmingham – once a cradle of the industrial revolution. The area includes a large number of buildings and structures of significance, including the Grade II* listed engine arm aqueduct.

New neighbourhoods at Port Loop, on the borders of Edgbaston, Soho Loop, near Birmingham city hospital, and the Midland Metropolitan University Hospital nearing completion, are all signs of major development in the area.

The draft masterplan was sent out to consultation for members of the public between February to March this year.

Rolfe Street Masterplan. Copyright Sandwell council.Rolfe Street Masterplan. Copyright Sandwell council.
Rolfe Street Masterplan. Copyright Sandwell council.

Sandwell Council say the consultation generated 41 responses to the online questionnaire although not all respondents replied to every question. There were no paper copies of the questionnaire received.

One respondent said: “I hope that the fire station and Rolfe House are not going to be demolished under the new plans, both buildings are part of Smethwick’s proud history and could with some regeneration be attractive and useful buildings. Smethwick lost a lot of historical buildings during the middle of the last century, I hope this will not happen in the 21st century.

Another praised the plans ambitions to retain “strong historical links” to Smethwick.

“I also like that there are green spaces where the community can come together have been included on the plans. The current area is very run down, it doesn’t help that a lot of the buildings are old and don’t appear to be looked after.

“In its current state it feels like a no-go area for pedestrians. This is the part of Smethwick that is letting down the area.”

One of the main concerns raised by members of the public related to car parking. Councillor Hughes told councillors while reducing parking spaces to advocate for active travel was “aspirational”, further reasoned justification and evidence would be needed.