Project Information

Discover more about the Friar Park Urban Village site, key project information, and the development process.


The site is previously developed land (brownfield) in a sustainable location which has a long-standing allocation in the Council’s Development Plan (the Sandwell Site Allocations and Delivery Development Plan Document, 2012) for residential use. This means that the site is acceptable, in principle, for residential development and would help to meet Sandwell’s housing needs.

This brownfield site suffers from the legacy of past industrial uses which has led to contamination and other poor ground conditions. The proposals from West Midlands Combined Authority and Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council are a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reclaim this land for use that will benefit the local community and environment.

Given its large size at 27 hectares (67 acres), Friar Park presents a significant opportunity to contribute toward the delivery of much-needed housing as well as provide open space and community benefits for Friar Park as a whole. The draft masterplan focuses on high quality design and attractive placemaking and aims to integrate any new development with existing communities.

West Midlands Combined Authority and Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council are developing a masterplan which sets out a vision for the future development of Friar Park Urban Village. The masterplan will be used as part of the selection process to appoint a development partner(s). It will also provide the design guidance for the developer(s) enabling them to provide solutions that fully support the aspirations for the site within future planning applications.

Remediation of historic contamination affecting the site will be carried out in accordance with standards set by relevant legislation/guidance and monitored by the Environment Agency.

A preliminary remediation strategy has been prepared and this has been used to develop the draft masterplan. The final strategy will be produced by the developer appointed by WMCA and SMBC. Currently, remediation is likely to involve the bulk excavation of material from within the central landfill areas. The material will be processed and treated if required to allow reuse on site in the creation of landscaped features which will also provide screening and also to deal with changes in site levels where needed.

One of the primary aims of the remediation strategy will be to minimise off-site disposal to landfill which is a costly and unsustainable solution.

By carrying out these comprehensive remediation works, the site will be made safe and suitable for new homes and associated areas of open space, thereby improving the local environment and providing recreation facilities for the wider Friar Park community, as well as residents of the new urban village.

To inform the development of the draft masterplan initial technical surveys have been undertaken. These include; topographical surveys, noise monitoring, air quality surveys, a baseline transport survey, ground investigations, tree survey, and ecological assessments. These were carried out between June 2021 and October 2022.

The site lies within Flood Zone 1, an area shown to be at less than 0.1% chance of flooding in any year, this is sometimes known as having a 1 in 1000 year chance. Areas of Flood Zone 2 and 3 are located to the north of the site beyond the site boundary.

A pre-development enquiry received from Severn Trent Water confirmed that foul water and surface water run-off generated by the development can discharge to the public drainage system.

In line with good practice and council policy, our drainage strategy includes three water features located throughout the development, linked by a swale running along the ‘Boulevard’ street connecting a central pond to a larger pond in the south-east corner. These will also support biodiversity on the site. Any existing flooding within the eastern part of the site will be addressed with site raising activities to minimise any potential flooding. 

The proposed development consists of housing only. No retail or commercial development has been included within the draft masterplan. This is because it is considered that the site is already well served by existing shops and commercial uses. There are also concerns about the potential commercial viability of such uses in this location.

Once the masterplan has been finalised a viability appraisal will be carried out to refine the likely scheme costs. Until final technical details are known the costs will be best estimates. The scheme is planned to be delivered using a mix of private investment (from the developer/ housebuilder for example) and public funding (from the West Midlands Combined Authority or other public sector agencies).  


The draft masterplan has been designed to maximise the availability of publicly accessible open space which residents of Friar Park can enjoy. The draft masterplan proposes a net increase in open space which is integrated carefully into the development and strategically spread along the key routes, stretching into the wider natural areas.

The open space has several important functions:

  • To enhance the residential environment and amenity of the new neighbourhood.
  • To contribute to biodiversity.
  • To provide valuable recreational space.
  • To utilise contaminated land in a safe, functional and beneficial way for all.
  • To provide a barrier between the railway and motorway, screening against visual and noise impacts.
  • To frame key pedestrian and cycle routes and accommodate sustainable urban drainage features, such as swales and attenuation pond.


To ensure the needs of local people, research on the local residential and wider development market was carried out to inform our plans and determine what types of houses and tenure are best suited to the area.

Friar Park Urban Village will set a new benchmark for quality, sustainable homes in Sandwell where people will want to live long and healthy lives. A comprehensive mix of housing types will ensure that the area is accessible and attractive to the residents of Sandwell and will allow people to better choose a home that suits their individual needs.

A Design Code, found within the draft masterplan, will guide development design on the site following permission being granted. It will set out key architecture and urban design principles for developers related to matters including scale, layout, open space and density.

Some key features of the proposed housing are as follows:

  • The majority of the development will be two storeys in height, with 2.5 storey and three storey buildings used along key routes, key frontages and to defined landmark buildings.
  • There will be a mix of two, three and four bedroom housing.
  • Density of development will be in line with family house types.
  • Building materials will have a strong and coherent character across the site, while at the same time providing subtle variations for visual interest, using high quality materials that will age and weather well.
  • Parking will generally to be provided on plot or to the front of properties so cars do not dominate the street.
  • The new development will have to be built to satisfy relevant standards regarding energy efficiency and insulation.
  • A minimum of 25% of the housing will be affordable housing.

Detailed building design would be subject to further development between the appointed developer, WMCA and SMBC.

The purpose of this Design Code is to set design requirements and principles against which future applications can be assessed, ensuring they comply with the Code. It is a tool for designers, developers and planners to use at all stages of the design process, from the overall layout to on-plot details.

The overarching aim of the Design Code is to ensure that the development is of high quality and contributes to healthy and sustainable placemaking which ties the landscape and built form together. The Code focuses on key design requirements and principles to ensure that the important elements are fixed without stifling innovation and creativity during the detailed design stage.

We are proposing that a minimum of 25% (around 157 homes) of the housing provision will be affordable housing.

We envisage there could be a mix of tenures/ownerships on the site. Planning policy requires a minimum of 25% affordable housing. These could be affordable homes provided by registered providers of social housing, they could be council homes, or a mix of both.


Once planning permission has been granted for residential development, the council’s Children & Education Department will build this into their projections for future school places, within town and Borough wide projections. For a housing development of circa 630 properties, Government guidance indicates that approximately 230 school aged children may reside in the new housing.

Current school population trends and projections for the forthcoming years indicate that the local area will see an overall reduction in the number of school places required from existing housing, which will provide sufficient capacity for any new families that move into the area.

The site is covered by the Black Country Integrated Care Board (BCICB), (previously Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commission Group (CCG)). There are currently ten GP surgeries and five dentistry practices within two kilometres of the proposed site, the nearest being the Tame Valley Medical Centre on Friar Park Road and Crankhall Lane Dental Practice and The Village Medical Centre.

The Integrated Care Board (ICB) has confirmed that there is scope to expand other existing facilities in the catchment area and there is not a requirement to provide a new facility as part of the development. Additional capacity would be funded either via a commuted sum secured through s.106 planning agreement or, if the scheme is proven unviable, would be funded from the NHS directly.

The design code for the site will incorporate key aspects of secure-by-design and other design principles to deliver homes and spaces which are safe and secure. Including increased natural surveillance between spaces, dense planting for security, appropriate lighting and restricting access at key points, making opportunities for fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour significantly more difficult.

Options are being considered for how the community growing areas would operate and be managed. The public consultation will help inform future direction of the areas available for growing. The preference would be for the community growing areas to be community owned and managed by the residents, so that groups can gather and foster a sense of community.


A primary aim of the vision for Friar Park Urban Village is to encourage walking and cycling. Several green routes will link the development with the community park, village green and eastern boundary to provide sustainable transport links to the railway station. These will be a key part of the walking and cycling routes around the development.

Two primary corridors are proposed which prioritise cycle and pedestrian movement across the site. The routes are well connected and can be accessible via several points and provide excellent opportunities for dog walking and leisure.

There are no formal Public Rights of Way within the site but there are a number of long-used footpaths used by dog walkers and recreational users on publicly accessible parts of the site. The draft masterplan aims to enhance  access into the new development and open space areas, both for pedestrians and cyclists, thereby integrating the scheme into the wider area.

The path from Kent Road and Friar Park Road – known as the ‘Black Path’ – will be maintained and possibly re-aligned so as to integrate better with the new development.  It will also provide increased surveillance, possible new lighting and better access for pedestrians moving to, from and through the development, and surrounding areas. This will align fully with our proposed open space strategy for the site.

The street network has been designed to be accessible from the surrounding road network but discourage rat running from the Kent Road area to Friar Park Road. Although there is a through connection, this is not one straight road, and drivers will have to stop and turn right at the Village Square, slowing them down.

The street hierarchy has been designed so that the ‘Boulevard’ street ends at the Village Green and from here streets are lower priority encouraging slower speeds through design.


A Phase 1 Habitat Survey has been undertaken to understand the ecology on site which has informed the draft masterplan proposals. Mitigation measures will be required during works to ensure wildlife on site is protected in line with both relevant legislation and local policy requirements as far as practicable. As an example, this will include fencing off of sensitive areas as required and retention of important trees by protection of their root zones.

The works will also remove some invasive species from the site such as Japanese Knotweed, Japanese Rose and Himalayan Balsam.

The new development will provide a variety of new habitats to encourage wildlife to establish on the site. The development will also include measures such as bat boxes, hedgehog routes, and areas designed to have limited public access to enable wildlife to thrive.

Recent legislation means that from November 2023 all developments of this scale will need to protect site biodiversity as far as practicable and, where development would result in loss or degradation of habitat, provide at least 10% biodiversity net gain.

The objectives for Friar Park Urban Village are to build a sustainable place that minimises its impact on the environment and is resilient to change. The draft masterplan has been designed to optimise habitat creation whilst balancing the need for accessible open space and green infrastructure for the community.

Tree and planting species selection to prioritise; species tolerant of the changing climate; species beneficial to insect population and pollinators; native species. The draft masterplan proposes increased tree coverage across the site to provide shelter during high heat and heavy rainfall.

Sustainable urban drainage to be incorporated into the design of streets and open spaces, in the form of swales, SuDS, rain gardens etc., and to houses where appropriate.

Pedestrian and cycle movement will be prioritised over vehicles to discourage car use where possible, which is aided by the presence of the railway station.

Housing will be built in line with the building, environmental and zero carbon standards as set out in the SMBC’s Residential Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document and in accordance with the WMCA’s Advanced Manufacture in Construction (AMC) and Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) standards.

Consideration will be given at detailed design stage by the appointed developer to orientation and the opportunity to maximise solar gain to add heating and cooling of the new homes.

The remediation work for the site involves the remodelling of the ground levels to reduce the height of the central area. This will create a new bund feature adjacent to the eastern boundary, closest to Bescot railway sidings. The bund will be designed to help reduce any noise from rail activities and the M6 motorway and will also be planted and laid out as public open space for use by residents of the development.


West Midlands Combined Authority and Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council has an aspiration to begin discussions with a potential developer partner early 2023 to commence delivery of this development in 2025. The length of construction period is difficult to define at this stage. It will depend on many factors yet to be considered and the appointment of a developer(s).

The Planning Application that will be submitted by the appointed developer will be accompanied by an Environmental Statement. This document will identify any significant environmental effects likely to arise from the construction and occupation of the development. It will also put forward proposals to mitigate any adverse effects, including those that may arise from construction activities and related traffic movements. All these activities will have to comply with industry standard best practice requirements.

We will work with the appointed developer(s) to provide local opportunities for local people during the development of the site. 


Understanding the views of the local community and stakeholders is key for us to create a development that meets the needs of existing and future residents. This will also help ensure the site fully integrates with, and enhances, the surrounding communities. Friar Park has the potential to create a distinctive and desirable place in which to live and support a thriving community. It will act as a catalyst for further positive change and regeneration across a wider area.

To ensure the consultation is open and accessible, a range of on and offline communication channels will be used to provide notice of the consultation phases, public information days and development proposals details. This will be done via social media posts, emails, adverts and posted information. You can also register below to receive email updates.

Email, freephone and freepost channels have also been created to facilitate local feedback and questions (see below).

Public and/or online events will be held in appropriate local venues / platforms, that are convenient for stakeholders. These events will be at times that take into account school holidays and the constraints of the working day.

To ensure the consultation is open and accessible, a range of on and offline communication channels will be used to provide notice of the consultation phases, public information days and development proposals details. This will be done via social media posts, emails, adverts and posted information. You can also register below to receive email updates.

Email, freephone and freepost channels have also been created to facilitate local feedback and questions (see below).

Public and/or online events will be held in appropriate local venues / platforms, that are convenient for stakeholders. These events will be at times that take into account school holidays and the constraints of the working day. This is dependent on current COVID-19 guidelines. Public health and safety remain of paramount importance and appropriate safeguards will be put in place.

Phase 2 Proposals

Project Timeline