'Longbridge island, The Factory', pictured in 2005 prior to its demolition less than two years later
Longbridge shown within the West Midlands
|Population||24,865 (2001 Population Census)|
|- Density||34.8 per ha|
|OS grid reference|
|Metropolitan county||West Midlands|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||West Midlands|
|UK Parliament||Birmingham Northfield|
Since 1905, the area has been dominated by the Longbridge plant, which produced Austin, Nash Metropolitan, Morris, British Leyland, and most recently MG Rover cars. The factory became dormant, and some parts of the older sections of the site were demolished after MG Rover fell into administration in April 2005. The company, renamed MG Motor (owned by MG Rover's would-be partner Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation) resumed full MG TF sports car production at the factory in August 2008 and in late 2010 started final assembly of the MG6.
- 1 Situation
- 2 Development
- 3 Politics
- 4 Population
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
To the immediate south-west lie the Lickey Hills, a favourite recreation spot for the people of southern Birmingham. From the south-east the railway line from Barnt Green divides Longbridge off from the Bittell Reservoirs: Longbridge railway station on the Cross-City Line stands opposite the Longbridge plant, near the Bristol Road (A38). The Austin Sports and Social Club is one of the many social clubs in the area.
The famous service tunnel/bridge (pictured), used to carry vehicle bodyshells across the Bristol Road, was demolished on the night of 4 August 2006. Other parts of the huge MG Rover factories on the site were demolished during that night and later in 2006 and the land to be used for future redevelopment. At the moment much of the original site still lies unused awaiting development. Less than half of the original Longbridge site has been retained for carmaking.
Longbridge Technology Park
Situated where the Bristol Road meets Longbridge Lane, the Longbridge Technology Park was completed in late 2007. The buildings are meant to be 95% let, with businesses at the park including a firm supplying to Dell and IBM. It was announced after the construction that there were plans to build another 2 buildings of the same style, however once the recession kicked off these plans were temporarily shelved with a view of construction when things begin to pick up.
After the collapse of MG Rover group the old XPower building was transferred to EH Smiths Builders Merchants, PRG lighting also took over a large warehouse/factory unit and 2 other Warehouse/Factory units were constructed on the site.
2000 new homes are due to be built on various parts of the site; the first development along Lickey Lane called Park View due to its proximity of Cofton Park, had government approval for home start funding to construct the first of 115 homes on the site. When the coalition government took over this was one of the schemes to face the axe in the budget cuts. However, the developer found the cash to put forward to build the homes, and work commenced in late 2010. According to press releases the homes are selling far better than imagined and planning permission has been applied for Longbridge East, the former Powertrain plant. This land will house 725 new dwellings, built in phases with phase one consisting of 229 of the homes. There will also be a community centre and children's play area and new associated access and road works. The River Rea like the town centre will be bought back to surface out of its current culvert and incorporated into a park. Work will begin on site early 2012 providing planning is granted.
Bournville College at Longbridge
Bournville College of Further Education have also taken part of the former factory site just off the Longbridge Lane/Bristol Road, over the road from the Technology Centre. The site incorporates a gold-clad conference suite, a turquoise/blue clad sports hall, motor vehicle workshop and construction workshop and a main 6 storey gradual sloping building clad in blue going from dark to light as it nears the top.At the back of the building which will lead on to the Austin Park it is clad in a shiny white cladding with big wooden beams stretching out and forming the wrap around a glass rectangular building which houses the library and learning resource centre. The campus will incorporate Bournville College's current 3 sites into one and allow for 15,000+ students, and relieve the old campuses for redevelopment. The new site is now open for the academic year.
Longbridge Town Centre
Outline planning application was put forward to Birmingham City Council for the town centre, including 25 new shops and restaurants with a major supermarket (Sainsburys) with underground car parking. Retail stores will account for over 150,000 sq ft. An Austin Memorial Centre, The River Rea being bought back to the surface as a focal point in the centre of a newly formed 2 acre park called Austin Park, surrounded by the Bournville College campus and the new retail outlets and supermarket. The public were consulted in the autumn of 2010. The Sainsburys supermarket is earmarked to be built and up and running for Easter 2013. There will also be a 75 bed hotel and 40 apartments overlooking the new park. The town centre will contain a total of nearly 700 parking spaces. A lot of interest has been shown in the retail outlets, including high end retailers given the proximity to affluent areas such as Barnt Green.
Next to Bournville college there is new Sainsbury's Supermarket store(85000 sq ft) which opened on the 28th August 2013. More than 300 jobs are being created in the area. There is a rumour of new Marks and Spencer store as well. Food outlets recently opened include Greggs and Costa Coffee. Budget hotel chain Premier Inn also recently opened. There is also a Beefeater next to the Premier Inn. Hungry Horse are opening The Cambridge on Monday 11th November 2013. So far on the Longbridge Lane side of the Town Centre is the following: Cure Hair, Autism Birmingham and Queen's Fish & Chips Restaurant (opening soon).
The new Austin Park development now has a gate on the Bristol Road allowing access to the local community.
The Factory Young People's Centre
A youth centre was built on the land by the Austin social club and the nursery. The youth centre will house IT, media and music suites, a dance studio, sports hall, conference suites, arts space, workshops and outdoor AstroTurf and games area. The centre is complete and opened in the summer of 2012.
Bristol Road South Reconfiguration
Following the announcement of Bournville's intention to take part of the site, an outline application was drawn up for new road access. The reconfiguration of Bristol Road South was also investigated. It was found that the roundabout at the junction of Bristol Road and Lickey Lane caused traffic to slow down at this point, and it was decided, along with the road access and other associated roadworks with the new town centre and college, that Bristol Road South would be realigned to incorporate a smooth curve, keeping the traffic moving. This is likely to result in the demolition of the former MG Rover training and learning development centre, currently held by Bournville College as a temporary construction campus. The old Longbridge railway station, tickets and parcels building is also likely to be lost. John Sisk & Sons were appointed contractors for the work, which began in the summer of 2010. Longbridge railway station is a listed building so the plans were to be revised with a view towards keeping the existing layout.
A major development aimed to improve the Longbridge ward was the Great Park development in Rubery by Corporate Land Developments Ltd. The 200-acre (0.81 km2) site just off junction 4 on the M5 Motorway has been developed into a community with offices, houses, industrial units, Empire Cinemas, Hollywood Bowl, Premier Inn, Brewers Fayre, Morrisons, Gala Bingo, Green's Fitness and an area of public open space.
The housing developments were undertaken by Crest Nicholson, Bellway, Barratt Developments and David Wilson Homes and provided a variety of homes. This was completed in 2002. Leisure facilities provided include a cinema, bowling complex, restaurants, health and fitness centre, social and bingo club, a day nursery and a 60 bedroom hotel. An all weather pitch, funded by the developers, was also created and is in the possession of Birmingham City Council. In June 2000, a 52,000-square-foot (4,800 m2) manufacturing unit was completed for Draexlmaier Automotive UK. A further four industrial units are to be constructed to individual occupiers' requirements.
In March 2007, Mark Kent was employed as Town Centre Manager to oversee the redevelopment of Longbridge as a community following the closure of the MG Rover factory. Kent's role is to implement the integration of the new factory units being constructed with the existing Longbridge town centre and suburbs. The 13 acres (53,000 m2) of land which has been freed up following the demolition of more than half of the former MG Rover factory floorspace (now owned by SAIC) has been allocated for a new town centre for the once bustling and soon to be redeveloped area.
As a result of the development 1,500 jobs will have been created at a total cost of over £400 million.
Richard Burden (Labour) is the Northfield constituency's Member of Parliament, and the councillors elected to represent the ward of Longbridge are Ken Wood (Conservatives), Ian Cruise (Labour) and Andrew Cartwright (Labour). Longbridge has adopted a Ward Support Officer currently held by Bob Barr.
The 2001 Population Census recorded that there were 30,964 people living in Longbridge with a population density of 3,789 people per km² compared with 3,649 people per km² for Birmingham. Longbridge has a small ethnic minority population: only 6.8% (2,117) of the ward's population consists of ethnic minorities, unlike more centralised areas such as Aston, Handsworth and Small Heath.
- Austin Memories
- Photos from inside the Longbridge Plant
- Birmingham City Council: Longbridge Ward
- Birmingham City Council: nature reserve Ranger Service in Longbridge
- Longbridge Birmingham
- Longbridge Life
- Longbridge Technology Park
- Longbridge MG Rover plant pictures