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How retrofitting buildings for new use can help to achieve net-zero carbon targets


What tech developments are shaping the sustainability landscape?


What can we expect from COP27?


PM should prioritise net zero, says Tani Dulay

In The Press

Climate change and the floods in Pakistan


Will Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games leave a sustainable, carbon-neutral legacy?


Birmingham knowledge quarter welcomes Woodbourne Group


Woodbourne Group launches fund for new generation of entrepreneurs

In The Press

Store opens as Woodbourne Group completes £6 million scheme

In The Press

Hybrid working and its impact on the commercial environment


How biophilic design is helping to improve the built environment


Can a building ever be future proof?


Happy Gurpurab


COP26: The UK’s Role in the Fight Back Against Climate Change


Woodbourne Group Announces the Completion of First Phase of Canalside Development

In The Press

The Impact of Green Spaces on Our Mental Wellbeing


How Birmingham Can Seize the Opportunity of the Commonwealth Games


Curzon Wharf Birmingham – World’s first mixed-use net zero carbon masterplan

In The Press

Birmingham is still poised for growth

In The Press

Woodbourne Group completes acquisition of Mill Wharf in Birmingham City Centre

In The Press

Woodbourne Group agree deal at Canalside

In The Press

Acquisition of Saxon Way Industrial Estate


Birmingham’s most expensive house EVER

In The Press

Developer behind affordable homes for Wotton under Edge

In The Press

Lidl UK GmbH signs up to Battens Drive


Tani Dulay shortlisted for a NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Award

In The Press

70 new homes on way to Black Lake under £13m plan

In The Press


How retrofitting buildings for new use can help to achieve net-zero carbon targets

Ambitious net-zero carbon targets are going to require a new approach to the built environment. At Woodbourne Group, we’re embracing the challenge with our imaginative approach to regeneration.

We’re also backing entrepreneurs who are powering up the net-zero agenda and raising the bar when it comes to innovation through our Woodbourne Ventures initiative.

Net-zero targets are ambitious and if they’re to be met, then it’s going to require attention to be paid to our existing buildings. While new developments can have carbon-neutral targets embedded from the very beginning, how can we ensure our existing buildings are contributing to a more sustainable future? 

Green building framework 

The UK’s Green Building Council have been responsible for developing the UK’s net-zero carbon framework. This explains how the industry will achieve net-zero carbon for new and existing buildings by 2050. 

This framework provides goals for a building’s carbon emissions, how renewable energy usage can be used and what the options are for offsetting carbon. The framework also explores the whole life of a building and the emissions it generates. The carbon used during construction or renovation should be calculated, along with the carbon generated through the use of the building.

In practical terms, this means a reduction in energy demand and consumption should be prioritised over all other measures with on-site renewable energy, such as solar being maximised. Any additional energy required should be supplied via off-site renewables. Any remaining carbon should then be offset using a recognised offsetting framework and the number of offsets should be made publicly available.

Re-use where possible, rebuild sustainably where not 

As developers, we understand that sometimes buildings need to be demolished to allow for the building of new ones that are better suited to contemporary needs. Many old buildings, particularly ones built during the building boom of the mid-20th century, were not built to last or are difficult to bring up to modern standards.

Older buildings may lack suitable insulation and adequate ventilation, or fire suppression and containment measures that meet the current building fire regulations. Windows can need replacing to ensure the highest levels of energy efficiency, and heating systems may be outdated, inefficient and carbon hungry. Add to this the cost of cosmetic and aesthetic upgrades and renovation can quickly become financially unviable

Time hasn’t been kind to many buildings, and the cost of repurposing them for modern use while ensuring they meet the highest sustainability standards would be counterproductive. In some cases, new is better.

However, many older buildings can be viably repurposed in a realistic and affordable way with sustainability in mind. This may include adding insulation to walls and roofs, upgrading windows and doors to improve insulation and prevent drafts, and improving ventilation systems.

Renewable energy sources such as solar panels or wind turbines can also be installed to provide power for the building. In addition, water-efficient measures can be implemented, such as low-flow faucets and rainwater harvesting systems. Upgrading to energy-efficient lighting and appliances can also make a significant difference.

For many decades, office and commercial buildings weren’t built for longevity. This practice has been changing for some time, with older buildings being repurposed for new use, and ambitious UK net zero targets have given it a new impetus.

Net zero has forced all sectors of the economy to take a hard look at their emissions and increasingly, developers are now looking to create buildings that will last for a century, perhaps even longer. 

Net-zero – retrofitting old buildings for new use 

Approximately 40-45% of the UK’s carbon emissions come from buildings. This represents both a challenge and an opportunity as tackling the carbon footprint of our buildings could help us move quickly towards our net zero targets.

A significant proportion of the commercial building stock that will be in use in 2050 has already been built, which means that improvements cannot come from improving the efficiency of new buildings alone.

Reusing old buildings for new purposes often requires fewer resources than knocking them down and starting afresh. Existing structures already contain the embodied energy of the original construction, meaning that much of the energy that would have been used to produce new building materials is already embedded in the structure.

Some of the common upgrades include insulation of walls, roofs, and floors, upgrading or replacing windows with double or triple-glazed ones, installation of energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, and the use of renewable energy sources like solar panels or wind turbines.

Larger buildings may potentially also provide power for the neighbourhood or back to the grid. The use of natural materials and incorporating passive design strategies like natural ventilation and shading can also improve the building’s energy performance.

The retrofitting process can also involve the integration of smart technologies to control energy use and improve occupant comfort. These upgrades can significantly reduce the energy consumption and carbon footprint of old buildings, making them more sustainable and cost-effective over their lifetime.

Whether it’s 19th-century factories, mid-20th-century office blocks or old warehouses, existing buildings are being reimagined and effectively repurposed for new times. 

Raising the bar with new developments

In some cases, demolition and rebuilding is the best option, giving developers the chance to expand what’s possible in sustainability terms on a particular site.

Our game-changing Curzon Wharf development does just that. It will see the creation of the world’s first truly carbon-neutral skyscraper. The design has been led by Cundall Johnston & Partners, a global multidisciplinary engineering consultancy and a founding signatory of the World Green Building Council’s Net-Zero Carbon Commitment.

High noise levels at the site have precluded the potential for natural ventilation, so the team have developed a solution that meets the ambitious low-carbon targets of the project. Energy demand has been driven down through a high-quality, optimised thermal envelope in line with Passivhaus principles. This has enabled fossil fuels to be eliminated from the site with heat pumps satisfying all heat demands. This energy is further offset through roof and façade mounted photovoltaics.

The building’s operational carbon emissions will be offset through a combination of renewable energy production and carbon offsetting, to achieve carbon neutral status.

This transformative project will see new residential, retail, office and research space in an area currently occupied by industrial units built in the 1960s. This will not only be a huge asset for a regenerated Birmingham but will also set the net-zero standard for urban development in the UK and beyond.

At Woodbourne Group, we’re excited about the challenges ahead as we look to play our part in building a carbon-neutral future for the UK. Whether it’s our own developments or working with the visionaries of the future via Woodbourne Ventures, we’re always looking for new ways to create a more sustainable built environment for everyone.


What tech developments are shaping the sustainability landscape?

Tech innovation is at the forefront of our development approach here at Woodbourne Group. To drive sustainability in our projects we use pioneering technology to achieve the type of legacy that we want to leave behind.

Through our Woodbourne Ventures initiative we champion the tech innovators and the burgeoning entrepreneurs looking to make their mark and unleash the potential that tech gives us.

In the race to create a more sustainable future and to develop a circular economy, much is dependent on the development of new technologies.

There are a range of existing technologies and new ones in the development stage which are likely to be key to delivering practical solutions. Cities, regions and nations are already embracing some of these technologies to deliver more sustainable services and help build coherent local economies that work for people and the planet.

Let’s explore some of these developments.


Electric public transport 

There are now over 160 electric and hybrid vehicle models available to individual vehicle owners, and that number is growing. As well as private vehicles, public transportation is increasingly shifting towards electric alternatives.

China has been leading the way with over 300,000 electric buses in services across the country. This example has not gone unnoticed, with European cities moving towards electric buses and electric transportation systems.

Electric buses have higher upfront costs due to their battery prices, but their total cost of ownership is lower than diesel buses. They also have considerable public health benefits in the removal of dangerous particulates from urban atmospheres.


Energy storage 

While the UK produces a growing amount of wind and solar energy both in large-scale generation sites and through micro-generation, it isn’t always generated when people need it most.

The new age of electric vehicles has driven an expansion in the market for lithium and cobalt batteries which, in turn, has driven down the price. This has expanded the market for batteries overall. With prices for batteries dropping rapidly they are increasingly being used as energy storage solutions for industry and utilities.

Alongside short-term energy storage, companies are developing longer-term storage solutions that can store energy for weeks and months. For example, Antora Energy is building a low-cost thermal battery for grid-scale energy storage. And Lightsource, which is backed by BP, is adding storage to solar developments.


Smart buildings

Energy consumption in both residential and commercial buildings accounts for 20% of global consumption. In developed countries, this figure rises considerably, and reducing their energy consumption will be key to achieving ambitious carbon reduction targets. Smart building technologies are one tool through which this be achieved. These enable the efficient and economical use of resources.

Smart buildings may be developed with a range of existing and emerging technologies or they might be retrofitted in a way that allows for their future integration. This includes tools such as AI, the Internet of Things, and augmented reality, all of which can be used to control and optimise a building’s performance. High-tech innovators are now developing smart building products for use in their own buildings which can be sold into the market.


Vertical farms and gardens

In the past, there has been a clear divide between the urban and the rural. The city was where business and commerce took place, and the countryside was where food was grown.

Reducing the distance between the field and the plate, while helping cities become more self-sufficient in their food production, is a key element in creating sustainable urban spaces, but it can be challenging.

One solution is vertical farms and gardens, that grow crops in vertical layers, in energy-efficient buildings and outdoors. These are connected to technologies that monitor the health and development of crops, using tools such as intelligent water misting systems, that allow for more efficient use of resources.


Redesigning existing tools and technologies

As well as replacing resource inefficient technologies with more sustainable solutions, and optimising technologies to make them more efficient, the way we use existing technologies can be redesigned.

Using AI and other advanced digital technologies, the resource intensive way in which assets are used can be completely reimagined and reinvented. For instance, cars and other vehicles could move from individual ownership to shared, multi-user ownership facilitated by apps and digital sharing technologies.

The same could be applied to buildings, taking a co-working approach to a corporate or institutional level. Smart technologies and principles are being applied across many areas of life to help reimagine how assets can be more efficiently used.


Carbon storage and capture

Carbon storage and capture is often talked about but is still in its relative infancy. CCS involves the capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industrial processes such as production, or from power generation. This carbon is then transported from where it was produced and stored in deep underground geological formations. In some instances this might be below the sea floor.

Although seen as a last resort when it comes to dealing with emissions, carbon storage and capture could help buy us time while we develop a more sustainable way of living and working over the coming decades.


Our desire to meet the sustainability challenge

There is a new era of innovation and digital technology opening up a vast range of exciting solutions that are set to make our lives, towns and cities more sustainable. We must embrace these to give our planet the best chance of survival.

Woodbourne Group is showing what this means in practice with the development of Curzon Wharf, Birmingham. This will be the world’s first mixed-use net zero carbon ready development in a key quarter of Birmingham.

This waterside ecosystem will be just a short walk from the HS2 Curzon Street Station and will combine new residential, retail, office, R&D and life science space.

The development will incorporate the latest sustainable technology as well as lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic. To help support better mental health and community well-being, the development will also provide ample amenity and public space.

Our mission is to radically improve the sustainability of the built environment, by transforming the way it is planned, designed, constructed, maintained, and operated using the latest technology.

The sustainability landscape is evolving, and at Woodbourne Group, we are determined to evolve with it and, at the same time, encourage a new breed of entrepreneurs through our Woodbourne Ventures initiative to move the agenda in the right direction.



What can we expect from COP27?

It can’t have escaped your attention that the latest COP is now in full flow. COP27 is being held in Sharm el-Sheikh from November 6 to 18 and it follows on from last year’s COP26 in Glasgow, which, despite noble intentions, was considered to have fallen short in a number of key areas.

The agreement made in Glasgow will set the climate change global agenda for the next decade. The ultimate aim is to try to keep temperature rises within 1.5C in order to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. However, current pledges made at COP26 will only limit global warming to approximately 2.4C. It was therefore agreed that countries will pledge to make further cuts to emissions of CO2 at COP27.

Leading up to this year’s events, climate scientists have been clear that time is running out to make the necessary changes. Reaching the 1.5C target would require a 45% cut in emissions in 2030 compared to 2010 emissions.

With this knowledge on the mind of organisers and delegates, there is increased pressure to deliver meaningful agreements at this year’s event.

What can we expect from this year’s COP?

Due to its location and some of the issues that are being discussed, COP27 is being termed the “African COP”. Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate change while at the same time being one of the least involved in the historical accumulation of emissions.

It’s hoped that this year’s COP will bring concrete actions and binding commitments on radically reducing emissions. Another key strand of this year’s COP is the push to ensure that the losses and damages caused by climate change in the global south are properly financed.

Some of the key areas that are being addressed include:

Emissions reductions

COPs, the UN Reducing carbon emissions is crucial if we’re to stand a chance of tackling climate change. Despite agreements at previous estimates that emissions in 2030 will be higher than in 2010, eliminating the possibility of limiting warming to below 2 ℃. Addressing this will be a key priority of COP27.

Developing world and sustainability

Floods in Pakistan, droughts in Sub-Saharan Africa and rising sea levels in the Pacific are just some of the critical issues developing nations are facing as a consequence of climate change. Big, historical polluters such as the UK and Europe will come under increasing pressure to help developing countries become more resilient and adaptive in the face of climate change by setting up ‘loss and damage’ funds.

Rainforest protection and restoration

A group of nations whose lands have extensive rainforest habitats, led by Brazil, are looking to form an ‘OPEC of rainforests’.  Brazil, Indonesia and DRC are home to 52% of the world’s remaining primary tropical forests, which are crucial to avoiding climate catastrophe.

The newly elected Brazilian president Lula da Silva has pledged to work toward 0% rainforest loss in his country. COP27 could see these plans being firmed up, with new investment from leading economies into a billion-dollar rainforest fund.

At the forefront of Birmingham’s push for net zero

The challenges that COP27 presents are close to our hearts here at Woodbourne Group. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the issues we face as a planet, but we can all do things at a local level that cumulatively will make a difference.

Here in Birmingham, Woodbourne Group has been leading the way with the development of the world’s first mixed-use net zero carbon ready development, Curzon Wharf.

“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, says Woodbourne Group’s CEO, Tani Dulay, who recently joined more than 30 leading chief executives working in the built environment calling on the Prime Minister to prioritise net zero and nature restoration, to help build a resilient UK economy.

Issues such as emissions and putting plans in place to address the historical pollution that is adversely affecting poorer nations at the sharp end of climate change should be high on our agenda. As the crucible of the industrial revolution, Birmingham can now lead the way in the green revolution. With our long tradition of innovation and creativity, there’s a golden opportunity for the city to take a leadership role in the UK and beyond.

With community links across the planet, Birmingham can become a global champion when it comes to tackling climate change. But time is running out.

For us, sustainability isn’t just a box-ticking exercise or an exercise in greenwashing. It underpins everything we do.


PM should prioritise net zero, says Tani Dulay

Tani Dulay, CEO of Woodbourne Group has joined more than 30 leading chief executives, working in the built environment in calling on the new Prime Minister to prioritise net zero and nature restoration, to help build a resilient UK economy.

The property and venture capital group – which has revealed £360 million plans for the world’s first mixed-use, net zero carbon ready development in Birmingham – is urging Liz Truss to push harder to achieve the government’s net zero targets.

Chief executives from Legal & General, CBRE, British Land, Barratt Developments, Bam, Arup, Clarion and Atkins are among the signatories of a letter urging the new prime minister to “strengthen delivery mechanisms across the whole of government” for carbon cutting objectives.

The letter states: “As leading UK businesses and financial institutions from across the economy we are committed to protecting and restoring nature and delivering a net zero economy in support of the UK’s targets. For us to play our part, we need a robust plan from government on how to deliver these targets, both in the short and long term.

“This will require delivery mechanisms to be strengthened across the whole of government, including in areas such as planning, building regulations and agriculture. As skyrocketing energy bills inflict considerable costs on businesses and push vulnerable households into poverty, we would like to see you prioritise policies that will address this crisis, as part of a robust net zero strategy.

“The policies and market frameworks that will facilitate an accelerated rollout of low-cost clean energy, a comprehensive package of support to increase energy efficiency of homes and businesses, and a strategy to deliver industrial decarbonisation, could improve national energy security, shield the country from the volatile global fossil fuel prices, and enable the UK to deliver its world leading climate promises.”

Tani Dulay, CEO of Birmingham-based Woodbourne Group, said: “We have a very strong and clear message for the new prime minister. Acting now to accelerate the transition to clean energy, could support households with the cost of living and deliver huge economic benefits, unlocking opportunities for the UK to be a leader in clean growth.”

Industry experts predict this action could reduce yearly household energy bills in the UK by 7 per cent by 2025, rising to a 50 per cent reduction by 2035. Similarly, investment on building and industry energy efficiency could yield a £46 billion return and create 215,000 new jobs over the same period.

Woodbourne Group plans to build three towers on a brownfield site as part of its Curzon Wharf development. A waterfront ecosystem, it will be a short walk from the new 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 and create over 1,000 jobs.

The £360 million net zero carbon ready Curzon Wharf development will create over 1,000 jobs, 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.

In addition, it will include nearly 130,000 sq ft of office, R&D and life science space and over 76,424 sq ft of new and improved public realm.

The Curzon Wharf masterplan is positioned on the northern entry to Birmingham City Centre, a site passed by as many as 21 million road users per year.

Woodbourne Group is an investment and development group that exploits potential across all aspects of real estate through creative flair and entrepreneurial vision. Driven to reinforce Birmingham’s position as a leading sustainable city, its projects continue to regenerate the city and attract both cultural and business investment. Woodbourne Group is facing the sustainability challenge head on, creating people and planet-centred developments that unlock economic opportunities without costing the earth.


Climate change and the floods in Pakistan

Experts are calling the devastating floods in Pakistan, a ‘wake-up call’ for the global community. The volume of rain that has fallen in Pakistan was unprecedented, creating the worst flooding seen in the country in at least a decade.

Floodwaters have transformed areas around the Indus River into swamps and at least a million homes have sustained some level of damage. Flash floods have displaced a staggering 33 million people, killing more than 1300 and injuring 3,500 between June and August. Around 5,500 shops, bridges and homes have been damaged.

Pakistan is home to around 221 million people. The majority of the population lives along the Indus River, which flows down from the Himalayas, through most of the country into the Arabian Sea at Karachi. According to the Pakistan Climate Minister, Sherry Rehman, around a third of the country is currently underwater.

Pakistan now has to deal with vast numbers of displaced people, broken infrastructure and crop failure leading to food shortages and possible famine. While domestic concerns in many Western countries have kept the developing tragedy off the top of the news bulletins, its implications for the entire planet can no longer be avoided.


Why is flooding so extreme in Pakistan this year? 

While some commentators have been quick to blame poverty and underdevelopment, the scale of flooding in the country would have overwhelmed even the most resilient of defences. That’s because Pakistan is at the frontline of climate change. Despite producing significantly less than 1% of global greenhouse gases its geography makes it particularly vulnerable to a warming climate.

Pakistan’s location places it at a point where two major weather systems meet. While one of these systems can cause high temperatures that lead to drought, the other system brings monsoon rains.

The majority of Pakistan’s population lives along the Indus River. During monsoon rains, this can swell and flood. While in a normal year flooding is expected, with communities adapting to cope with what can be an annual event, this year’s floods are like nothing experienced in living memory.


Climate change is a factor

Climate science is clear about the link between climate change and intense monsoons. Global warming makes air and sea temperatures rise. This leads to more evaporation, and warmer air retains more moisture, making monsoon rainfall more intense. It’s the same reason why periods of intense rainfall go hand in hand with hotter temperatures and longer periods of drought in Europe.

This year, Pakistan has seen unprecedented heatwaves, with the temperature reaching 50c (122f) in the city of Nawabshah earlier this year. A temperature at which human life begins to become untenable. Rising temperatures are also having other consequences in the region. 


Glacial ice melt

Pakistan is also home to more glacial ice than anywhere on the planet outside of the polar regions. Vast glaciers in Pakistan’s northern regions are melting rapidly, creating thousands of lakes. Currently, around 33 of these lakes are at risk of bursting, releasing millions of cubic metres of water and debris and putting millions of lives at risk.

The UN is looking to install early warning systems and is supporting the development of protective infrastructure. While this may help to reduce the loss of life, experts are warning that even wealthy countries with the most robust infrastructure would have been overwhelmed by the volume of rainfall seen in Pakistan.


A global response

While communities in the Indus Valley have lived in harmony with their environment for centuries, climate change is now threatening their future existence.

The Disaster Emergency Committee is leading the UK’s humanitarian response, but as well as meeting the immediate needs of people on the ground, the scenes from Pakistan should motivate all of us to work harder to develop more sustainable ways of living and working.

People with the smallest carbon footprint are at the sharp end so it’s down to those with the financial means and more historical responsibility to develop the solutions. 


A green revolution

As Britain led the global industrial revolution, setting in chain the human activity that has contributed to climate change, it can also lead the global green revolution to tackle it.

Forward-thinking, innovative cities like Birmingham have never been afraid to face up to sizeable challenges, and there are few bigger than climate change. As a truly global city with extensive cultural and community links with South Asia, the reality of climate change for people on the ground should motivate us to work harder to create a more sustainable future for our city and the world.

There is no time for delay. The work needs to start now.


Will Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games leave a sustainable, carbon-neutral legacy?

The Birmingham Commonwealth Games have been a huge success for the city and the region. They’ve not only been a place where sporting excellence has been on display, they’ve also showcased the city to a global audience. People in the UK and beyond have seen aspects of the city, its heritage, its built environment and its exciting culture for the first time and have maybe been inspired to visit or invest.

Another much-heralded aspect of the games has been its commitment to not only staging sustainable games but also leaving a carbon-neutral legacy for the future. This has always been a bold, but crucial ambition for not only the organisers of these games but for future events.

The Birmingham Commonwealth Games sought to raise the bar of what’s possible when it comes to sustainability while showcasing ways in which large-scale events can be held in a more carbon-conscious future.


The promise

The organisers of the Birmingham games were clear from the beginning that sustainability would be an organising principle of their plans. They set out seven key pillars that form the foundation of Birmingham 2022’s sustainability pledge. As well as looking at aspects of inclusion, accessibility and human rights, the pledges also include key environmental elements such as carbon and air quality, conservation and circular economy principles.

The ambition to create a Carbon Neutral Legacy has meant taking responsibility for the climate impact of the games in a credible and holistic way. This has meant looking at how emissions can be offset by additional credible carbon credits from the voluntary carbon market, and also how carbon emissions can be reduced across key emission hotspots.

One strategy for offsetting carbon that cannot be reduced, has been the creation of a new 2,022-acre Commonwealth Forest across the Midlands region. This is being created in partnership with Severn Trent who are encouraging landowners and farmers across the region to get Involved. Of course, offsetting carbon doesn’t happen overnight. It will take approximately 35 years to do this but nevertheless, it’s an important initiative and a good example of the forward-thinking that is taking place.

As well as the Commonwealth Forest, Severn Trent has also planted 72 tennis-court-sized Tiny Forests in urban areas, linked to each of the 72 nations who participated in the games. Earthwatch Europe, the environmental charity pioneering the Tiny Forest movement in the UK, is supporting Severn Trent in the delivery of the Tiny Forests, which will potentially attract over 500 animal and plant species within the first three years of planting.

During the games, the organisers worked in partnership with the University of Birmingham to understand how they impacted air quality. Sensors were sited at the University of Birmingham Alexander Stadium and Edgbaston Cricket Ground. It will be interesting to see the results of this when they are made available.


A Targeted Approach

The games organisers took a targeted approach to reduce their carbon footprint by focusing on areas where emissions were at their highest, such as transport, energy and food. All tickets for events included free public transport to encourage people out of their cars. This has anecdotally driven an uptick in public transport use across the region, and it’s hoped this will continue after the games.

Caterers were encouraged to carbon label their foods making clear the environmental impact of producing particular products. Suppliers were  encouraged to use local seasonal food. There’s also been a big focus on waste, with biodegradable food packaging and different bins available for different packaging and other waste to enable recycling.

A minimal waste and circular economy approach has been used across the games, with organisers setting out a zero waste to landfill ambition. Single-use plastics were minimised across the games, with several initiatives to explore assets after the games.

Assessing the sustainability and legacy of the Commonwealth Games can only be done after the event. A final report on the Games sustainability will be published in November 2022. The learning from this will inspire further post-games initiatives and provide a blueprint for future organisers.


A one-off event or a lasting legacy?

Now the games have ended everyone will be looking toward its legacy. While large-scale sporting events in the past have paid varying degrees of attention to their environmental impact, Birmingham 2022 has raised the bar.

By embedding sustainability into its planning and decision-making process they have shown what’s possible. Positive aspects such as supporting local producers and providing better access to public transport provide a broader blueprint for the city’s future.

A true assessment of the legacy of the Commonwealth Games on the city and the region will only come with time, but as an example of how to organise a large-scale sporting and cultural event in carbon-conscious times, Birmingham 2022 has already set the standard.


Moving Forward

Birmingham has done a fantastic job in hosting the games, and the colour, vibrancy and spectacle of the events will live long in the memory.

‘Forward’ has long been the slogan for Birmingham and it has certainly taken a leap forward in perceptions of the city across the world. Its carbon neutral legacy is admirable and will hopefully inspire many other big event organisers to follow the example.

As proud Brummies, we at Woodbourne Group also have great ambitions for the city and look to drive it forward.

From Curzon Wharf, the world’s first mixed use carbon neutral development to Woodbourne Ventures, our new pre-seed accelerator fund to attract the most talented and visionary entrepreneurs in the city, we are fully invested in Birmingham and champion all its achievements.


Birmingham knowledge quarter welcomes Woodbourne Group

The property and investment company behind £360 million plans for the world’s first mixed-use, net zero carbon ready development in Birmingham has thrown its weight behind the growth of the city’s technology and innovation quarter.

Woodbourne Group has joined the Birmingham Knowledge Quarter to reflect its commitment to the area where it plans to build three towers on a brownfield site as part of its Curzon Wharf development.

A waterfront ecosystem, it will be a short walk from the new 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 and create over 1,000 jobs.

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.

The Birmingham-Knowledge Quarter (B-KQ) is constituted as an affiliation of knowledge-driven organisations that wish to collaborate around a joint vision for the B-KQ as a collective prospect. Current members include HS2, Birmingham City University, Aston University and Bruntwood.

Tani Dulay, chief executive of Birmingham-based Woodbourne Group, said: “The Birmingham Knowledge Quarter is a vital fusion of learning, innovation, entrepreneurialism, experimentation and urban cultural expression.

“I am therefore very pleased to announce that Woodbourne Group has joined the B-KQ and I look forward to Curzon Wharf playing a key role in promoting the region as a thriving, knowledge-based business community.”

Dr David Hardman MBE, strategic partnership adviser at Bruntwood SciTech and Chair of the B-KQ Alliance, welcomed Woodbourne Group as a member of the Birmingham Knowledge Quarter (B-KQ).

He said: “The Birmingham Knowledge Quarter is a connected place-based organisation that catalyses knowledge gain, exchange and application to promote aspiration in those learning, researching and working in or engaging with the Quarter. It will drive the creation of innovation, and knowledge-led economic value for the city region.

“I am therefore delighted to welcome Woodbourne Group, the developers behind the ambitious Curzon Wharf development, to the B-KQ. Connected places such as Curzon Wharf will drive the innovation chemistry as we look to the knowledge economies to drive recovery. New competencies need to be incorporated into the mix to support the new industries to reignite and then sustain local momentum. Today that means competencies largely underpinned by digital talent. If this is achieved the city can again become an innovation engine.”

The B-KQ aims to connect its affiliates with common interests and experience, utilising the wisdom of the crowd to provide insight and thought leadership; and through the application of combined intellectual and physical assets deliver on all matters pertaining to sustaining a thriving knowledge economy in the Birmingham city region.

The £360 million net zero carbon ready Curzon Wharf development will create over 1000 jobs, 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.

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 Curzon Wharf 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.

Woodbourne Group is an investment and development group that exploits potential across all aspects of real estate through creative flair and entrepreneurial vision. Driven to reinforce Birmingham’s position as a leading sustainable city, its projects continue to regenerate the city and attract both cultural and business investment. Woodbourne Group is facing the sustainability challenge head on, creating people and planet-centred developments that unlock economic opportunities without costing the earth.


Woodbourne Group launches fund for new generation of entrepreneurs

An investment company that will champion the next generation of entrepreneurs and wealth creators, and build exciting breakthrough businesses, has been launched in Birmingham.

Tani Dulay, chief executive of property investor and developer Woodbourne Group, has unveiled a new early capital and pre-seed accelerator fund which will support other talented entrepreneurs.

Woodbourne Ventures has £1m allocated to back promising Birmingham-based businesses. Its aim is to help the city’s entrepreneurs build successful businesses that will generate jobs and attract further investment to the region.

Tani said: “It is enormously exciting to announce the launch of Woodbourne Ventures, a fund founded by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. This early-capital and pre-seed accelerator fund will enable remarkable entrepreneurs to build breakthrough businesses right here in Birmingham.

“Woodbourne Ventures will champion the next generation of entrepreneurs and wealth-creators who are striving to build exciting breakthrough businesses. We take our inspiration from the ideas, dreams and goals of talented individuals looking to take their vision to the next level.

“By being there at the very beginning, we will give founders the best platform to grow through the first stage of business development and then raise the necessary later-stage capital.”

He added: “Birmingham is such an exciting, vibrant city with a true entrepreneurial spirit which has been evident since before it became the city of a thousand trades. For start-ups it is the place to be, with access to a young and educated workforce and support available from organisations such as the West Midlands Growth Company and Woodbourne Ventures.

“We have a very successful track record in business and it is this inside knowledge of the start-up and growth process that informs everything we do. We will give our all to help these new businesses succeed and, with that in mind, we prefer to be the lead investor.”

Four companies have received funds to date – a clean-tech business that produces net zero concrete, a sustainable loungewear company, a fintech trading business and the fourth is a web3 based company which is to be announced shortly. For more information on Woodbourne Venture and to apply for funding, please visit

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Woodbourne Group have already demonstrated a rock solid commitment to Birmingham with their £360 million plans to create the landmark net zero carbon ready Curzon Wharf development.

“I am pleased to hear they are now doubling down on their commitment to Birmingham with the unveiling of Woodbourne Ventures – a wonderful initiative in support of local entrepreneurs which I wholeheartedly welcome and which is so at home here with our famously ‘can-do’ attitude and vast array of cutting edge companies.

“Birmingham and the wider West Midlands is blessed with a dynamic entrepreneurial heritage with a formidable track record of pioneers and innovators generating the ideas, products and services of the future. I look forward to seeing today’s ambitious entrepreneurs and technology start-ups find success with the support of Tani and his team.”

Birmingham City Council leader Councillor Ian Ward said: “Birmingham has a long and successful business history and has been the birthplace of thousands of companies dating back beyond the Industrial Revolution. Entrepreneurs need financial support to make their visions become reality and I am therefore delighted to see the launch of Woodbourne Ventures.”

Woodbourne Group is the company behind £360 million plans for the world’s first mixed-use, net zero carbon ready development in Birmingham.

A waterfront ecosystem, it will be a short walk from the new 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 and create over 1,000 jobs.

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.

Woodbourne Group is an investment and development group that exploits potential across all aspects of real estate through creative flair and entrepreneurial vision. Driven to reinforce Birmingham’s position as a leading sustainable city, its projects continue to regenerate the city and attract both cultural and business investment. Woodbourne Group is facing the sustainability challenge head on, creating people and planet-centred developments that unlock economic opportunities without costing the earth.


Store opens as Woodbourne Group completes £6 million scheme

A new Lidl store has opened its doors today (June 30) following a multi-million-pound redevelopment of a West Midlands site by property developer and investor Woodbourne Group.

Around 40 jobs have been created by the £6 million transformation of the former Arrow Valley Health Club site at Battens Drive, Redditch.

Birmingham-based Woodbourne Group acquired a two-storey, 21,000 sq ft gym on a 1.70-acre site. An agreement was later signed with Lidl UK GmbH to develop a retail store on a 25-year lease.

Woodbourne Group chief executive Tani Dulay said: “It is fantastic to see the new Lidl store open its doors to the public. The development has transformed the landscape and provided investment into the local economy, giving Redditch access to the convenience and good value associated with the Lidl brand.”

He added: “It was our vision to redevelop the site when we acquired it as a distressed asset and we are grateful for all the support we have received from the local authority and the community.

“Seeing that vision develop into what is a wonderful new addition for Redditch shoppers is very satisfying and we would like to wish Lidl huge success with its new store.”

Woodbourne Group acquired the long-leasehold interest of the site unconditionally, without borrowing, and completed within five working days from exchange of contracts.

Skilful acquisition was then required for the sublease and freehold interest, allowing development without any legal impediment. This demanded a deep understanding of practical needs and concerns of a site fraught with risk.

An active asset management strategy was applied, and a detailed design and urban analysis on the proposed redevelopment options undertaken. The site generated significant interest from a range of potential end users including a car dealership, discount food, petrol filling station, hotel, pub, fast food and drive-thru.


Hybrid working and its impact on the commercial environment

Since its outbreak, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated a long-term trend towards remote and hybrid working patterns. This has seen workforces across the world combine remote and home working with periods in the office, perhaps for meetings and creative collaboration.

This approach has largely been facilitated by cloud-based services that have transformed how people can access vital information, databases, and work documents securely wherever they are located.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed that those businesses which had already developed a hybrid working pattern at the start of the pandemic were much more resilient and able to adapt to lockdowns than those who hadn’t.

Now, a combination of commercial priorities and shifting employee expectations mean that hybrid working is becoming the norm and the commercial property market has had to adapt accordingly.


Hybrid working is transforming the commercial property market 

At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, offices and other commercial spaces were left silent and empty. Many building projects that were due to be completed were shelved and there was widespread uncertainty about the scale of return to the office that we might see going forward.  However, the more pessimistic forecasts about commercial buildings being left largely empty with huge losses predicted for commercial property companies have not been realised.

Rather than completely vacating office space, how businesses use that space has started to change. Whereas existing contracts for large office spaces have been ongoing, there is some anecdotal evidence suggesting that companies are now looking for smaller overall floor spaces to help them adapt for a hybrid future.

However, it’s important to remember that hybrid working doesn’t necessarily mean less space is required. Although the number of permanent desks may be reduced, creative desk lay-outs and break-out areas for increased flexibility and collaborative engagement will make a different use of the available space.


Hybrid working is changing office design

Hybrid working, underpinned by rapid digitalisation, is changing office design expectations. Rather than large open plan office and cubicle-based workspaces, shared and more intimate spaces are becoming increasingly common. Offices will provide space for collaborative working, as well as more space to socialise and network.

The average office will no longer be the place where most of the business of the company is conducted. Work will be able to be carried out at a distance with a dispersed workforce perhaps coming into the office to work on specific projects, collaborate or meet clients.

People at different stages of their career may have different working patterns, with young members of staff gaining from the experience of being in the office for their career development, and more experienced members of the team working remotely to help them balance other responsibilities.

A booking system might be used to allow employees to book workspaces and meeting areas, with the space reconfigured to include hot-desking areas and social spaces. Meeting rooms may also include facilities for video conferencing for remote working staff.


The office as a social anchor 

While many people enjoyed not having to face the morning commute during the pandemic others ultimately found it challenging. The social aspect of work is still important, with the office allowing us to enjoy face-to-face encounters with colleagues, making emotional connections, expressing empathy, and discussing the world around us. This is an important part of work culture for many people and while some information-based roles can be successfully carried out remotely, others require the added social element that offices can bring.

During the pandemic, meetings were scheduled using technology such as Zoom or Teams, replacing the more informal aspects of office life such as wandering over to someone’s desk to ask them a question. There is no doubt that online meetings will continue to flourish but it is unlikely to completely replace the desire to have face-to-face meetings.

For this reason, offices are still likely to act as a social anchor for the company, allowing employees to enjoy the benefits of working together with as much or as little remote working as is practical or possible.


What does this mean for commercial property?

Although there were some who were quick to predict that remote working would spell the end of the office, that’s not been the case. Instead, a new more flexible model is emerging. It still requires office space, but the design and layout of those buildings will need to evolve to reflect different needs.

As well as creating challenges for commercial developers and property owners it also provides opportunities. Developers who can provide businesses with the kind of flexible spaces they need are likely to find their property in demand going forward.

Developers that focus on innovation, sustainability and creativity will be those that reap the benefits of this brave new world of hybrid working.


How biophilic design is helping to improve the built environment

Biophilia is a Latin term meaning, to love life or living systems. It encapsulates the foundational connection that humans have with the natural world around them. In a world dominated by urban environments and technology, that all-important connection with nature can be lost. Green spaces in cities are threatened by developers and modern lifestyles disconnect people from the natural world.

Biophilic design is helping to address that disconnect by embedding green elements into the built environment. What was once a fringe concern within architecture and construction is now going mainstream as concerns about well-being and sustainability come to the fore.

What is biophilic design? 

Biophilic design is the way through which nature is incorporated into building design to help contribute to the health and well-being of its occupants. Biophilic design will include elements such as natural light, living walls, natural textures and materials, living walls and views of nature.

Nature is the inspiration for biophilic design, but it’s more than just an optional add-on at the end of the design process. Biophilic design conceives the entire building as part of nature and looks at how natural elements can be incorporated to reflect that. Biophilic design will also consider the future challenges that a building might face due to the climate crisis, seeking to be part of the solution rather than helping to exacerbate the problem even further.

The principles of biophilic design

Biophilic design can incorporate a range of features depending on the particular context. The most common principles guiding the biophilic design process are: 

  • Views and access to nature 

Buildings will be sited to maximise their view of natural surroundings, whether that be mountains, a forest or just an urban park. When buildings are in densely urban areas with little green space nearby the design could incorporate courtyard gardens and other spaces. Trees and planting might be used to create an urban oasis that occupants can use when they want to recharge.

Other access features might include windows that can be easily opened by the occupants, rolling doors that allow office space to open to the outdoors and air circulation systems.

  • Natural lighting

 Access to natural light is a key principle in biophilic design and plays a critical role in supporting the well-being of building occupants. Sun shading elements, window-to-wall ratios and orientation will all be considered. The aim throughout is to create a comfortable, well-lit environment that minimises the need for artificial light with limiting glare.

  • Improved acoustics

 Traffic noise, mechanical equipment, elevators and people moving about a building can all create high noise levels which can be distracting. While conventional design may look to limit excess noise through the addition of acoustic panels, biophilic design may choose to incorporate green walls and roofs, or well-placed interior plants and water features.

This helps to create a softer, more sound absorbing environment as well as delivering some of the other benefits that greenery can provide. Green roofs and walls can also provide added insulation during colder months. 

  • Natural materials

 The choice of materials is a key aspect of biophilic design. Where possible, natural materials will be used in both the interior and exterior, complete with finishes that reflect nature. This might be through natural paint colours, the use of wood, cork or natural stone rather than concrete. These may be sustainable and can also incorporate elements from the circular economy such as coffee grounds, seaweed or coconut fibre.

The materials used will also reflect the climate and the natural environment in which the building is located, helping to blur the division between the built environment and nearby nature.

Biophilic design can improve our physical and mental well-being

Biophilic design is aimed at creating restorative places that help to connect humans to their surroundings. Architects incorporate nature into their design in order to contribute to the health and well-being of the occupants and of people in the immediate environment. By opting for natural materials or by incorporating features that mimic or reflect the surrounding ecosystem, they create buildings that work with our deep-rooted connection to nature.

Biophilic design has been widely used in hospitals and hospices where it has been shown to improve recovery rates. It’s now being increasingly used in schools where it has a positive impact on the cognitive function of students. In offices and other workplaces, green elements have helped to increase productivity.

Biophilic design is in tune with the shift towards a more sustainable economy and more holistic society. It illustrates how good stewardship of the environment includes the built environment and the humans who interact with it.

By placing nature at the heart of the design process it creates a built environment that nurtures people as well as the planet.


Can a building ever be future proof?

A famous quote by Benjamin Franklin says that death and taxes are the only two things about which we can be certain. As anyone who has attempted to predict the future will tell you, it’s a quote that contains some truth. Whether we’re trying to determine the direction of our own lives or taking an educated guess at what might happen at a broader social level, the future has a habit of throwing us a few curveballs.

Future-proofing when it comes to buildings is often treated with a degree of scepticism for that very reason. Many predictions that shaped planning and building styles in previous decades now look redundant. Few people saw such a rapid shift towards remote and hybrid working as has happened over the past couple of years. Cities built for cars were once seen as the future, now they’re something urban centres are looking to move away from.

With all that in mind, can a building ever be truly future-proof?


What is future-proofing?

Future-proofing is a wide term that has adopted a range of different meanings in different contexts. In regard to buildings, future-proofing is a process that aims to maximise the whole-life value of the building, whatever changes an unpredictable future may bring.

The future-proofing process begins by asking what might happen in the life of the building and how likely those changes are. Also, what would the impact of those changes be. If you were to take measures to future-proof against those changes, how much would it cost? Are those costs worth bearing for the security it might give or are they unrealistic?

The assessment process should be a continuous exercise involving a range of different professionals, from the client to designers, suppliers and contractors as well as end-users. In this sense, future-proofing acts in a similar way to carrying out a risk assessment.

In fact, future-proofing is an old and established technique that can be as involved as required.


Why is it important? 

Future-proofing has been part of building and design practice for some time, but over recent years it has taken on a new urgency. Growing concern about the environment, the pandemic and the stresses that may be caused by climate change are shining a new spotlight on how we think about buildings.

This may include looking at how buildings can lower their carbon footprint, as well as how buildings will cope with more extreme weather patterns and improving hygiene factors. Adapting to climate change is also likely to mean that the way people live, work, shop and travel will all change. This will have an impact on how buildings are used and what they’re needed for. Rising energy costs, legislative changes, social attitudes and wider considerations about the local environment can all change how the building may be used or perceived.


Isn’t this just crystal ball-gazing?

In some ways, yes it is. There is always room for error and misjudgment when it comes to predictions about the future. However, future-proofing is based on much more than just idle speculation. It takes a hard look at current trends, analyses the data and consults as much in-depth research as possible to reach its conclusions.

It’s important to remember that budgets for buildings are not limitless, so any future-proofing measures that are taken will need to have a strong basis in likely outcomes.


Flexibility is key 

With so much uncertainty, architects and construction companies are increasingly incorporating flexibility into their buildings. Even the most accurate predictions can soon become redundant with the arrival of a disruptive advance in technology, or a radical sudden shift in how we work. If buildings are to remain relevant despite rapid changes, then flexibility is crucial.


Building with longevity in mind 

While future-proofing can never be an exact science it can help to create buildings that are created to last. Any building represents a substantial investment, so ensuring that it’s fit for purpose for a considerable amount of time is a key priority.

By following a thorough future-proofing process you can create buildings that are flexible, sustainable and able to adapt to changing times.

At Woodbourne Group, we are focused on building environments that we can all thrive in. Future proofing is always a key item on our agenda.


Happy Gurpurab

Today is the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism. This auspicious occasion is marked as Gurpurab. His teachings are integral to Woodbourne Group’s CSR policy:

⮕ Help those in need
⮕ Make an honest living
⮕ Look after Mother Earth

May Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s teachings guide us always. Happy Gurpurab.


COP26: The UK’s Role in the Fight Back Against Climate Change

The UK population has become more aware of climate change over the past few years, especially as the COVID pandemic has held the world to ransom.

Thanks to the fascinating yet petrifying Blue Planet documentaries, the Extinction Rebellion protests in London, Sir David Attenborough’s world status, Greta Thunberg’s sudden media prominence and the reduction of carbon emissions during lockdown, the public has now started to see how our choices can impact the world around us.

COP26 is an event created to address exactly these issues. Taking place in Glasgow, it  brings together world governments to discuss how we can help protect the planet we love.

But it’s not just about world leaders. If we really want to achieve climate change goals, we all need to accept the responsibility- governments, local councils, businesses and individuals alike. Together we can make that change.

In this short article, we’d like to highlight just how important COP26 is, what the UK and Birmingham City Council is doing to implement change and how Woodbourne Group will also be playing its part.


What is COP26?

COP26 is the annual climate summit that is coming to Glasgow in November. Organised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) it takes place for the 26th time between 31st October and 12th November 2021.

The event is expected to attract around 36,000 delegates and up to 200 world leaders who are driven to keep the global temperature rise within the limit of 1.5 degrees as per The Paris Agreement.

Together, nations will work to bring climate change under control, focusing on how to address their net-zero emissions target, how to pay for it and how to help vulnerable communities adapt so we can create a brighter future for us all.


What is the UK doing to address climate change?

The UK has long been one of the key players when it comes to addressing climate change with numerous policies in place to control our impact on the planet.

In addition to existing targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, they also outlined brand new commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 78% by 2035 in April this year, potentially putting them ahead on the global stage.

Through this visionary Net Zero: Build Back Greener strategy, they set out their net steps to “…cut emissions, seize green economic opportunities, and leverage further private investment into net-zero,” with an increased focus on ensuring that reliable, clean energy is available to all.

This includes greater investment in renewables such as hydro, solar and wind and plans to install heat pumps in homes around the country, offering a £5,000 grant to qualifying households in the UK from April 2022. They also aim to reduce the sale of petrol cars, boost the sale of electric cars, freeze demands for flights, plant more trees, optimise agriculture and invest further in carbon storage initiatives.

Yet, as encouraging as these strategies may be, change also needs to happen on a regional level if we are to achieve these climate change goals.

Birmingham, our home city, is doing exactly that, having declared a climate emergency in June 2019 and outlining plans of their own to tackle climate change. With their visionary Route to Zero Taskforce (R20), they bring together individuals, the community and local businesses to become carbon neutral by 2030, well ahead of UK targets.


How Woodbourne Group is making a difference

Woodbourne Group has long worked alongside Birmingham City Council to boost the local economy, push sustainability and create greener, cleaner working and living spaces for us all.

“It’s about fostering a sustainable, and above all responsible, approach through everything we do. Any business serious about creating long term value has to place ESG at the heart of its operations. In development terms, that means that sustainability has to be more than just a box-ticking exercise.”

Our ground-breaking Curzon Wharf development– the world’s first mixed-use net-zero carbon masterplan was announced earlier this year and aims to set the stage for other similar visionary property developers. By consulting with environment and regeneration specialists, we have been able to use technological innovation to benefit the local community and reinforce our ‘green’ credentials.

Committed to the UN Principles of Responsible Investment and working closely with the local community, we like to think that we are playing our small part in “helping to pave the way for the UK’s Green Revolution” and help our country reach the net-zero goals as soon as possible.

Cop26 is probably one of the most important meetings the world has ever seen.

The future is in our hands.


Woodbourne Group Announces the Completion of First Phase of Canalside Development

A sustainable development with an eye to the future is breathing new life into West Bromwich while providing high-quality homes for local people

A much-anticipated sustainable housing development for West Bromwich has completed the first stage of its development. Woodbourne Group, the Birmingham based company behind the Canalside development, has announced that the £13 million scheme is well on course to provide quality homes for local people, with more to follow.

The project that consists of 70 high-quality homes has sustainability at its heart. Close to the M6 motorway and just 20 minutes from the city centre, it’s being heralded as a game changer for the local area. The brand-new waterside residential quarter is expected to attract new investment, employment, and prosperity for the whole Black Country region.

Phase one and Phase 2 of the scheme have now been completed and handed over for use. Phases 3 & 4 are progressing well, with almost all properties now water-tight and weatherproof with internal works progressing at pace,” says Woodbourne’s Chief Executive Officer, Tani Dulay.

Once the home to a semi-derelict industrial estate, the new site is revitalising the area and raising the bar when it comes to sustainability. As well as charging points for EV vehicles the waterside development also includes generous bicycle storage. Situated immediately next door to the Black Lake tram stop, it will provide easy access for residents and visitors to the HS2 high speed railway. This means that London and it’s key surrounding areas will be less than an hour from the development.

Woodbourne Group has been quick to herald the hard work of everyone involved as they kept the project operational despite the challenges presented by Covid-19. It’s testament to the flexibility and forward thinking of the group that the project has remained firmly on track through lockdowns and shortages of materials that have caused serious delays elsewhere.

The Canalside development also supports the Secured By Design (SBD) scheme, adopting crime prevention measures in development design in a bid to help prevent crime and helping people to feel safe in their communities.


About Woodbourne Group: Woodbourne Group is an investment and development group that exploits potential across all aspects of real estate through creative flair and entrepreneurial vision. Driven to reinforce Birmingham’s position as a leading sustainable city, their projects continue to regenerate the city and attract both cultural and business investment. The Group is currently behind the world’s first mixed-use and net zero carbon masterplan. Woodbourne Group is facing the sustainability challenge head on, creating people and planet centred developments that unlock economic opportunities without costing the earth.


The Impact of Green Spaces on Our Mental Wellbeing

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.


Green space and mental health – the connection

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.


Green space – the benefits

Access to green space is linked to health and wellbeing in several ways. These include:

  • The promotion of healthy behaviours, such as engaging in physical activity and other recreation.
  • Improvement of social contacts; it gives people a sense of familiarity and belonging. Cleaner, greener communities are places where people wish to live and work and can promote social contact and connectivity.
  • Reducing isolation, loneliness and encouraging a connection to nature.
  • Supporting the development of skills and capabilities, particularly for young people; there is emerging evidence that spending time in greenspace is improving motor skills, better academic performance, and increased concentration.
  • Helping to reduce exposure to air pollution, the urban heat island effect, and mitigation of excessive noise and reduced flood risk, all of which can impair both mental and physical health.

Creating a greener future

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.



How Birmingham Can Seize the Opportunity of the Commonwealth Games

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.


Major sporting events are great for the economy

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.


Success or failure: capturing the long-term benefits of the Commonwealth Games

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.


Investing in Birmingham’s future

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.


Curzon Wharf Birmingham – World’s first mixed-use net zero carbon masterplan

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.


Birmingham is still poised for growth

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 completes acquisition of Mill Wharf in Birmingham City Centre

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.


Woodbourne Group agree deal at Canalside

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.



Acquisition of Saxon Way Industrial Estate

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 most expensive house EVER

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.”


Developer behind affordable homes for Wotton under Edge

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.


Lidl UK GmbH signs up to Battens Drive

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.


Tani Dulay shortlisted for a NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Award

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.”


70 new homes on way to Black Lake under £13m plan

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.