Longbridge was once the beating heart of Birmingham’s famous automotive industry. But following the collapse of MG Rover in 2005, St Modwen has been spearheading the regeneration of the area: delivering homes, employment opportunity, a college and even a £100m town centre.
Following positive discussions with officers at Birmingham City Council, St Modwen approached Cavendish to provide planning communications support on their outline planning application to redevelop both the MG and West Longbridge sites.
Together, these two schemes would deliver over 1,000 new homes and over 5,000 new jobs. This would see St Modwen make significant progress towards their ambition of delivering 10,000 new jobs and 2,800 new homes across this nationally significant brownfield site.
With a wealth of local political connections and a strong understanding of the community context in Birmingham, Cavendish were able to put forward a bespoke communications strategy that provided consistent messaging across political members and local communities.
Given the historic importance of the MG Rover site, we felt that understanding the views of local people was critical to ensuring the Longbridge regeneration feels a part of the community it sits within. Cavendish had to ensure that local people were aware of the plans and given the opportunity to feed into them at an early stage, while also responding to the health climate of Covid-19.
This took the form of a bespoke project website containing information on the two regeneration schemes, as well as information packs available by mail for those without digital access. With restrictions on face-to-face engagement, this website ensured that local people were able to effectively feed into the plans with bespoke and intelligently responding feedback forms, as well as live chat sessions with members of the project team.
The scale of both schemes meant navigating a complex network of local stakeholders -spread over five council wards and across two different local authorities, as well as an elected Mayor, Council leadership, and a local MP. In total, Cavendish engaged with over 30 local stakeholders surrounding the proposals, securing several letters of support for both outline applications.
Following continued political engagement post-submission, West Longbridge was granted approval by Birmingham City Council’s Planning Committee in February 2022, with MG Longbridge approved in December 2022.