The Academy for Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club needed to construct new facilities to meet the standards of the Football Association (FA). The only viable options for the club were to expand onto the adjacent land, which was occupied by St Edmunds School, or look for space outside of the city.
St Edmunds School already had plans in place to relocate to the grounds of the University of Wolverhampton. However, the school ran out of government funding to complete this move. The University also had plans to vacate their Compton Park campus, which once housed over 1,000 students, as well as the business school.
In addition, there were a number of issues with the surrounding land including contamination, and ecologically complications, including habitat and tree preservation orders.
As a greenbelt site, there was a covenant in place that meant only buildings of educational use could be built.
Redrow, as part of a joint venture, submitted a planning application in August 2011 for residential development and, in order to defend an appeal, removed the Public Consultation Section. Redrow included a report that outlined how this would provide a scheme for the Academy, the school, and the university. In just 4 months, the council approved the plans, granting Redrow permission to build 55 houses under special circumstances. This meant that Redrow could provide a viable scheme that would free up the old school site and support their funding on the university ground.
This led to a unique collaboration between the University of Wolverhampton, the Archdiocese of Birmingham and Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves) Football Club, together with Redrow Homes and Inspire (Wolverhampton Building Schools for the Future).
The Academy acquired the former school site and built a new indoor training pitch, improved the outdoor pitches, and provided ancillary support facilities in a £6m investment that created a new single site Football Academy at Compton Park.
Redrow demolished the existing University Halls of Residence and erected 55 four and five bedroom two storey dwellings, garages, car parking, access roads, and open space. The homes featured Redrow’s New Heritage Collection of high specification interiors designed for modern living.
The housing was deliberately low density to allow the retention of a high proportion of the best trees on site and provide excellent screening from neighbouring area.
Redrow worked with the school to provide new sports pitches and a balancing pond/suds area with a boardwalk for local students to use as an educational area.
Redrow also arranged for the university radio station to be relocated to the university college facilities.
This unique scheme enabled the Academy for Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club to build its new grounds, St Edmunds School to relocate onto the university site with £12.9m raised from the proceeds of the residential site, the University of Wolverhampton to receive additional funding for their National Centre for Brain Tumour Research, and the gifting of the indoor area at Aldersley Leisure Village to the Wolves Community Trust.
The proposals are for £50m investment in education and sport with community benefits for all of Wolverhampton, creating 150 jobs directly in construction and an additional 250 jobs in the supply chain. The scheme has created full-time jobs and attracts a higher wage earner to live in Wolverhampton, bringing its own economic benefits. The creation of the balancing pond also saved the school an additional £100k.
Redrow chose Compton Park to launch its Premier Heritage Housing, which was opened by the local Mayor, and ex Footballer Steve Ball (who also bought one of the houses).
Since the launch in January 2013, over 50% of the homes have sold. The site is due to complete in 2015.
Shortlisted in the 2013 Sunday Times British Homes Awards: Best Family Home category.