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Green spaces help protect our mental health. They help us to bounce back from stress, reduce anxiety, ease depression and provide a valuable opportunity to escape from the worries of day to day life.
The environments we live in shape our lives and our sense of wellbeing. Having somewhere safe to live, a reliable and sufficient income and good support networks around us make a vital contribution to our lives. The importance of our surroundings also extends to our natural environment. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus how much we value and rely on green spaces to support our health and wellbeing.
It’s not just our mental health that benefits, we gain physically too. People with better access to greenspace tend to enjoy a wide range of health benefits as well such as lower levels of cardiovascular disease and maintaining a healthier weight.
Access to good quality green spaces such as parks, woodlands, and fields varies greatly depending on where we live. A growing number of people currently live in urban environments and have limited access to these types of spaces. This could potentially worsen any existing mental or physical health problems and place an even greater strain on individuals and their families.
Population growth, urbanisation and the competing demands for land use and budgetary constraints, are putting local, accessible greenspace under threat. Therefore, for the sake of our citizens, city planners and developers must take green space and sustainability into consideration when outlining their projects.
Stepping outside for a breath of fresh air or having a relaxing stroll in a local park is a common way we break away from stress, hit that reset button and leave us feeling happier.
But this isn’t simply a matter of taste or personal habit.
A growing body of research suggests that green spaces can help reduce stress, increase social interaction, encourage physical exercise, improve concentration and productivity and boost overall mental health for all members of the family.
Although scientists still aren’t entirely sure why this happens, it appears that time spent in nature activates our parasympathetic nervous system, helping to calm the body and mind.
This could be because humans evolved to spend their time in nature and did so until just a few thousand years ago when the shift to a more urban environment started. Even then, cities were nothing like the sprawling metropolises that they are today, yet our bodies and minds haven’t kept up with the changes.
Access to green space is linked to health and wellbeing in several ways. These include:
The responsibility lies on the shoulders of developers to incorporate safe, welcoming and sustainable green spaces that protect the mental health of urban citizens. Additionally, these green spaces can promote UK government sustainability efforts, improving air quality, keeping cities cool and reducing carbon footprints.
Green spaces within new developments need to balance the two, focussing on areas such as accessibility, aesthetics and use as we have with our new Curzon Wharf development. We have included features such sky terraces, winter gardens, nature playgrounds and tree-lined piazzas whilst also supporting biodiversity to make a comfortable space for residents that promotes optimal health. This will provide a significant scheme of green urban infrastructure and external amenity, in correlation with the principles of Birmingham City Council’s ‘Our Future City Plan.’
By including green spaces in their city and town design plans, developers can help support the mental health of citizens whilst providing a sustainable space for the future.
Find out more about our Curzon Wharf development and other exciting urban developments, here.
The Commonwealth Games are coming to Birmingham in July 2022 and they look set to be the biggest yet. With hundreds of events across a range of sports including diving, gymnastics and athletics, and more medal events for women than ever before, it’s truly an event that can’t be missed.
Like other similar international multisport events of this calibre, the games will bring economic and cultural opportunities to the city, allowing Birmingham to shine it’s glorious credentials brightly on the global stage.
However, this opportunity needs to be matched with continued investment, confidence, and the right urban governance to facilitate. Birmingham is working hard to implement a programme of change across the city; the Clean Air Zone is one such example. It is now operational; making a greener Birmingham a better place to live and work.
Undeniably, major sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics benefit their host cities enormously whilst taking place. This will be especially true for Birmingham in 2022 after suffering from the financial impact of the pandemic.
Firstly, the Commonwealth Games will bring visitors back to the city, filling up the city’s hotel beds and allowing tour operators and attractions to revive their businesses. This will allow the creation of new jobs in tourism and other related sectors and inject much-needed cash into the local economy. Now that vaccination is fully underway, we will be able to do this more safely than ever before.
Secondly, the games will help raise the profile of the UK’s second city and allow it to claim the recognition it deserves. It has long been a thriving multicultural hub with a multitude of culinary, cultural and historical attractions and finally can be recognised as such. Again, this can plant the seed for future economic success whilst also supporting the tourism marketing strategies currently in place.
Thirdly, sporting events encourage more investment in areas such as transport and communication which not only benefit the local population and economy but also remain in place afterwards. This raises living standards for all, creating more housing, jobs and prosperity for all.
We only need to look back at the London 2012 Olympics and the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002 to see that the benefits may not always be sustained over the long term.
London, for example, thrived during the run-up to the Olympic games and shortly afterwards. The building of Olympic Park helped to regenerate the East End, new railway lines were laid down and as previously mentioned, the city benefited financially. Although the benefits continued shortly after the games came to a close, growth stagnated.
As a 2017 report from the London Assembly’s Regeneration Committee shows, “…while the Games provided an initial focus for new investment activity, it was short-lived and resulted in mainly physical and economic gains. The gap in many quality of life indicators between the six host boroughs and the rest of London (known as ‘convergence’) is not being closed. The gap in terms of sporting or physical activity rates has got worse too.”
It could have all been so hugely different. Manchester has continued to boom since they hosted the Commonwealth Games almost twenty years ago. After a difficult post-war period and significant unemployment, the city witnessed a 41% growth in jobs in the years between 1991 to 2019, highlighting the power of these sporting events.
Birmingham is now in the process of laying down a long-term strategy for success. To do this it needs to lean on excellent leadership, visionary businesses, and those with the drive to push for economic revival.
By coming together as a city, we can make this happen. At the time of writing, the signs are good. The local economy is heading in the right direction, and the wide distribution of investments means that the city is more likely to deliver a 2022 Commonwealth Games experience that creates a lasting legacy that benefits everyone.
By making these savvy investments to support both visitors and the local population and
Having confidence in what our beautiful city can offer, we can ensure that Birmingham seizes the opportunity that lies before it.
About us: Woodbourne Group is an investment and development Group that exploits potential across all aspects of Real Estate through creative flair and entrepreneurial vision.
The world’s first mixed-use net zero carbon development in a key quarter of Birmingham city centre that could create well over 1,000 jobs has been unveiled by Woodbourne Group.
The waterfront ecosystem, to be called Curzon Wharf, will be within eight minutes walking distance of the HS2 Curzon Street Station, offering sweeping views of the city and beyond.
The masterplan development of almost one million square feet is expected to boost the Birmingham economy by at least £151 million.
The hybrid plans have been designed after five years of consultation with Birmingham City Council and a world-class team of regeneration and built-environment specialists.
Developers Woodbourne Group say it will be a “truly transformative urban neighbourhood” when completed, incorporating both the latest technology and many social and mental health lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chief executive Tani Dulay said Curzon Wharf will reinvent this 1960s site into a “newly reinvigorated, dynamic, world-class and sustainable mixed-use ecosystem” containing life sciences, a new breed of residential and student living with vast public spaces “never seen in Birmingham before”.
He said: “Curzon Wharf isn’t just a development, it’s a manifesto that will position Birmingham as UK’s leading smart and sustainable city, helping to pave the way for the UK’s Green Revolution. It reinforces Birmingham position as the UK’s second city.
“It will act as a catalyst for the wider transformation of the Eastside area, where a number of masterplans have been earmarked which otherwise would not be possible. It signposts Birmingham’s route to delivering transformational change to the city.
“It will promote social, cultural and economic exchange in a truly transformative urban neighbourhood.”
The project has been welcomed by senior civic leaders including West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, who said: “This is an incredibly exciting plan, with the potential to create more than 1,000 jobs at what will be a critical time for our region’s economy as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is brilliant to see how innovative the masterplan is, not only through being net-zero and contributing towards our #WM2041 goal, but also with the life sciences element which will help create a number of high-skilled, well-paid jobs in a key industry of the future, building on the recent investment at the life sciences site in Selly Oak.
“I will support Tani and his team at Woodbourne Group as best I can as Mayor to get this scheme moving.”
Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, said: “This exciting project will put Birmingham right at the forefront of green, sustainable development and underlines our determination to tackle the climate crisis, while also creating jobs and opportunities for people across the city.
“We’ve shown with the recent launch of Our Future City Plan consultation that Birmingham has the ambition and vision to become a more resilient, sustainable and inclusive city and Curzon Wharf shows our determination to turn vision into reality.
“We want to work with the people and communities of Birmingham as we re-imagine and reshape our city, so I would urge as many people as possible to have their say in this consultation.”
The city centre site of 993,046 sq ft will provide new residential, retail, office, R&D and life sciences that is currently occupied by industrial units constructed in the 1960s.
The built-to-rent element will stand 53 storeys high making it Birmingham’s tallest building at 172m (564 feet). The purpose-built student accommodation will be 41 storeys and the co-living 14 storeys tall.
Tani Dulay said the development will include “never before seen” high quality, purpose-built student accommodation.
“Curzon Wharf will provide a sustainable, mixed-use space incorporating high quality accommodation providing up to 732 student flats, 265 residential co-living units with generous amenity space and up to 498 residential units,” he said.
In addition, it will include nearly 130,000 sq ft of office, R&D and life science space, over 3,000 sq ft of retail space, over 15,000 sq ft of leisure space, over 76,424 sq ft of new and improved public realm and 490m of new and improved walking and cycling routes.
The site is positioned on the northern entry to Birmingham on the A38 Aston Expressway just south of Dartmouth Circus – a site passed by as many as 21 million road users in a normal “non-Covid” year when entering the city centre from the north.
Planning and development consultants Turley and commercial property agents CBRE have calculated Curzon Wharf will add £2 million a year in council tax and business rates and attract a New Homes Bonus of £4 million.
Mr Dulay added: “We are creating a balance of new uses that never been seen in Birmingham before with a major area of new, high quality public realm to create a unique canalside environment with its own recognisable identity.
“We need to help power the economic recovery by facilitating investment, creating jobs and acting as a catalyst to further success. Curzon Wharf does this while catering for every residential demographic set not seen in Birmingham before.
“We have targeted the provision of amenity and public space like no other with a major emphasis on mental health and well-being. This will be the first development on this major scale to respond to the issues raised by Covid-19 and Birmingham’s newly launched high-rise green vision: Central Birmingham 2040.”
The project has also been welcomed by environmental leaders.
Tani Dulay, Chief Executive at Woodbourne Group, reflects on the impact of Covid-19 and the importance of mindset in defining better resilient socio-economies.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout doesn’t require an introduction. It’s unclear exactly what form and how long the economic recovery will take. The OBR says the UK economy could fall by 35 per cent in the second quarter. Brutal, but it also expects a very sharp bounce back with policymakers acting in unison. Actions are being taken far beyond monetary policy to cushion the demand drop and they are preventing the economy from seizing up in aggregate credit flows by keeping illiquid firms solvent.
The Department for Transport’s “notices to proceed” to the contractors on the HS2 route between London and Birmingham means the civils packages, worth £12bn, can now finally get underway without delay to ‘level up’ the country and the city. It has been confirmed the staging of the 2022 Commonwealth Games will not be impacted by the postponement of Tokyo 2020 either.
These are reminders of how resilient our city is. Its underlying strength should give hope to those whom operate within it.
We had to revaluate operations and make lateral moves to adapt. Woodbourne Group has the bandwidth to support its pre-construction activities across the development portfolio and will continue to screen opportunities. The stable, loyal and determined entrepreneurship shall be the backbone of the national perspective growth. Attitudes and psychology of the mindset plays a role in defining better resilient socio-economies. It’s often said that when the wind of change blows, some build walls, while others build windmills.
Woodbourne Group has completed the acquisition of Mill Wharf from a Property Fund managed by London-based Downing LLP. The completion reflects a wider combined acquisition of £5.5m which now extends the company’s ownership to 60,000 sq ft of mixed-use space, over 2.5 acres.
Located just off the A38 and Dartmouth Circus, the property occupies a prominent position in Birmingham City Centre, with the Birmingham Curzon Masterplan Area for HS2, and in close proximity to the city’s University Quarter. The site also benefits enormously from the waterside amenity afforded by its canalside location.
Tani Dulay, Chief Executive of Woodbourne Group, commented: “Successfully acquiring the Mill Wharf investment on the open market is a demonstration of our ability to conclude deals within a timely manner.”
Nick Lewis, Partner of Downing LLP, commented: “Having recently re-geared the lease with the occupier JTL, which included bringing in the adjacent car park owned by the tenant, now was the opportune time for a disposal of this asset and Woodbourne Group were an obvious buyer. Woodbourne Group acted quickly and enabled a swift transaction to take place.”
James Madill, Partner of Gateley’s plc acted for Woodbourne Group. DWF and MK2 Real Estate acted for Downing.
Developer Woodbourne Group has agreed a deal with Sanctuary for the construction of 70 new homes at Woodbourne Group’s award-winning Canalside development.
The deal is the latest in a series of development milestones at the site, it received support from the Local Enterprise Partnership, MP Adrian Bailey and was recommended for the SBD Gold Award.
The properties will all be delivered for affordable rent and construction is set to start on the scheme this month. Demolition work has already taken place on the part-derelict industrial estate to make way for the new homes.
Tani Dulay, Chief Executive of Woodbourne Group, said: “The deal is a testament to our ability to exploit value in areas that others would shy away from.”
Woodbourne Group is building an order book of more than £100m in its dedicated housing partnerships division.
Woodbourne Group has successfully completed the acquisition of Saxon Way Industrial Estate in Birmingham for an undisclosed sum.
The property is a multi-let industrial estate located 14 miles east of Birmingham City Centre and close the M6 at Junction 4 providing easy access to the M42.
Tani Dulay, Chief Executive, commented: “In an ultra-low interest rate environment the cash flow benefit of higher yielding multi-let industrials is obvious but most investors are put off by the smaller lot sizes and the level of asset management required. The estate offers significant reversionary potential and scope for future redevelopment”.
Birmingham’s first £4 million house is set to be built in Edgbaston – where it will boast seven bedrooms and ten bathrooms.
Woodbourne Group has been given planning permission for the property at 46 Westfield Road.
Aiming to mix traditional values with a modern vision, the home on a 0.75 acre site will also boast a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, gym, cinema, squash court, table tennis and snooker room and a luxury garden building.
Seven of the ten bathrooms will be en-suite and the home will also include a drawing room, reception room, family room, dining room, kitchen diner, dedicated laundry room, utility rooms, cloak store, an entrance hall and a tandem garage.
Due to complete in early 2018, if the home does realise its market potential, it is set to be the most expensive residential property in the city’s history.
Its current estimated value of £4.1 million would be half a million pounds more than city’s current record holder at 4 Woodbourne Road which was sold in 2011.
The council’s consent for the property marks the first stage in a multi-million-pound pipeline for Woodbourne Group. Based on Harborne Road in Edgbaston, the company recently re-launched its development arm after nine years. Its new expansion plan is being spearheaded by Tani Dulay, a 24-year-old entrepreneur:
“46 Westfield Road, whilst a significant project in it’s own right, is just a small step in the right direction for the company.””
Mr Dulay, who is a mentor to the Business School students of University of Wolverhampton, added:
“Experience across the board culminated with our start up mentality positions us well to deliver in a post-Brexit landscape. The UK still has the foundations for a boom in house building and we remain committed to meeting these needs.”
Work has now started to build ten affordable homes in Synwell, Wotton under Edge, on the site of the former Full Moon pub.
Stroud District Council has contributed towards the project that will see affordable housing provider Two Rivers Housing acquire ten completed 2 and 3 bedroom houses from developer Woodbourne Group, all of which be available for shared ownership. Homes England has also contributed to the cost of the project.
Tani Dulay, Chief Executive of Woodbourne Group, commented: “Developers are tasked with the enactment of national policy imperatives; building the homes this country needs. We take this seriously and look forward to making a positive contribution to the Stroud District”
The first homes are due to be completed in April 2019 and the whole project finished by the end of June 2019.
Woodbourne Group has put forward plans to build a new store for Lidl UK GmbH (“Lidl”) on a prime retail site in Redditch. Lidl have signed up to a 25-year lease.
Battens Drive is located adjacent to the roundabout junction between the B4497 Battens Drive and the A4023 Coventry Highway.
NTU alumnus Tani Dulay, (MSc Real Estate 2014), has been shortlisted for two categories in this year’s NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards’; Young Entrepreneur of The Year and Family Business Entrepreneur of The Year.
Tani Dulay beat off tough competition in order to make the regional shortlist, with over 1000 entrepreneurs entering the awards nationally across the wide range of categories.
Now in its fifth year, the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards, which acknowledge the hard work and inspiring stories of British entrepreneurs and businesses in Great Britain, has celebrated some amazing entrepreneurs over the years, many of whom are now household names.
Speaking about the nomination, Tani Dulay said: “It’s an honour to be nominated and I’m fortunate to be here. Finalist selection was made possible by the commitment of team players who work hard to turn our vision into reality.”
Creator of the Awards, Francesca James, said: “This year has seen a record number of entrants and we’ve been absolutely blown away by the strength of applications. We cannot wait to celebrate entrepreneurship across Great Britain with them and put a spotlight on the incredible talent within the British entrepreneur ecosystem.”
Developer Woodbourne Group has this week submitted a planning application for a 70-unit home scheme at West Bromwich’s Black Lake.
The planning application seeks permission to demolish the part-derelict industrial estate to make way for a £13m project. If the application is approved, the demolition work is likely to start at the end of this summer.
The high-quality and sustainable housing scheme will compromise of 53 houses and 17 apartments.
The estate will sit next to the Black Lake tram stop which has an average of 1300 weekday boarders and a journey time of under 19 minutes to Birmingham City Centre. It is also likely to benefit from High Speed 2 (HS2), the UK’s new high speed rail network.
In February, the Government released its white paper, Fixing our broken housing market, which sets out a broad range of reforms that Government plans to introduce to increase the supply of new homes.
Tani Dulay, CEO of Woodbourne Group, supporting the Government’s white paper on housing, said:
“Notwithstanding current increased market uncertainty following the snap election, Woodbourne Group remains in robust health to capitalise on a continuing benign land market with £10m under offer on sites in the region and a pipeline now close to £50m.”
“The number of households in England is projected to increase at an average of 210,000 a year between 2014 and 2039 according to government figures released last summer. The housing market fundamentals remain strong with high demand from home buyers, good availability of affordable mortgages, ample land supply and cross-party political support to build more homes in the UK”.
He explained: “For a long time, Black Lake has remained a part-derelict estate. This exciting opportunity will help breathe new life into this area. One that is well-connected to communities by car, public transport, cycling and walking”
Adrian Bailey, Member of Parliament for West Bromwich West said:
“I welcome the news of Woodbourne Group’s new build scheme at Black Lake as it is projects like this that can add even greater value to the geographical area but can also give a boost to the local economy.”
Dr Chris Handy OBE, Black Country LEP Board Member reiterated his support to the young entrepreneur:
“We support the planning application for Black Lake which will bring 70 new homes to the area and we will work with partners like the Woodbourne Group to ensure the project shares the same principles as the Black Country Garden City project.”
The Black Lake scheme will also provide charging points for EV vehicles and offer bicycle storage. Woodbourne Group is also supporting “Secure By Design”, or SBD, a police initiative which encourages the business industry to adopt crime prevention measures in development design in a bid to help prevent crime, but also to help reduce the fear of crime, creating a safer and more secure environment for everyone to work and live in.
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