Birmingham’s a better investment than London Developer reveals plan for 30,000 new homes
Quarter, where work has begun on 404 apartments;
A mixed-use scheme with bars, restaurants and offices at Eastside Locks, surrounding the canal basin;
Plans for more than 300 apartments in the Snow Hill area, through a joint venture with the Prudential.
It is also in advanced negotiations about another three sites in Birmingham.
Mr Pidgley, who was made a CBE in 2013, said Birmingham City Council had been a major factor in attracting him to the city.
He said he saw the relationship with the public sector as key and Waheed Nazir, the city council’s strategic director for economy, was a big part of that.
He explained: “I rang up Waheed one day and we were considering a already number of places to work.
“You want manners, collaboration and the truth, I rang him up and he said ‘When? Today? Tomorrow?’.
“We want certainty and when we ask the question of a local authority we want an answer.”
He added: “Why did we choose Birmingham?
“It is great city from the point of view of what it’s done and there will be even better infrastructure with HS2 in time.
“It has a lot of companies moving here and there will be more.
“It’s a city that’s growing, with all the right credentials, but also the right political leadership.”
Mr Pidgley revealed that talks were currently advanced on two developments to deliver 250 homes each in Birmingham and another which will be 500 homes.
It will be a major help in a city which needs 80,000 new homes by 2031 to cope with a growing population. But does he think the city will hit the target?
“No, I don’t, but I think if anybody has a chance it’s Birmingham,” he said. “Skills are the biggest problem. “We have skills shortages here and we need to work at that and find a way of bringing in modern methods of construction.
“We are building in a factory now. It is time the industry modernised.
“If you are making it in a factory, you are going to make it a lot faster.”
Berkeley also has a 15-acre site near the centre of Stratford-uponAvon with plans for a canalside mixed-use site.
Berkley’s investment in the region comes amid dire Government warnings for its future after Brexit. The economy of the West Midlands could suffer massive damage and shrink by eight per cent, even if there is a comprehensive trade deal, Whitehall analysis shows.
If we crash out of the EU without a deal then economic output in the region could be hit by 13 per cent.
However, he said: “At the end of the day, you have got to get up in the morning and get on with your life. You come down to that trust.
“There may be a no-deal Brexit, I don’t know, but I am a believer in the British and our work ethic and I think it won’t be as dramatic as we all think.
“Ultimately, there will have to be some common sense because we are too big an economy and we are important to Europe.
“There will have to be a compromise.”
Berkeley, through St Joseph, has taken on 50 people in Birmingham in the past year and it plans to grow to 120 by the end of the year.
Mr Pidgley said that he saw its investment spreading wider than the city out to the Black Country and beyond adding: “We will push out, but this city is so hungry and ready to grow that there’s years of work here.”
I don’t have any doubt that in the next decade you will become one of those world-class cities Tony Pidgley
> An artist’s impression of Snow Hill Wharf > Tony Pidgley, founder and chairman of Berkeley Homes
> The Eastside Locks area is on the list of developments