Bryant Homes, Lovells, Bellway and Scott Wilson in frame for multimillion-pound, 20-year regeneration scheme
Developers are lining up to bid for a multimillion-pound contract to overhaul about 9000 council homes in Solihull on the southern fringe of Birmingham.

Solihull council has shortlisted 10 consortiums: one is led by Bryant Homes with architect John Thompson and Partners; another is led by Lovells and includes HTA Architects.

Bellway and Scott Wilson are also on the shortlist, along with a team led by architect Levitt Bernstein. A preferred partner is expected to be chosen in September.

The regeneration project will last 20 years and include the overhaul of 42 tower blocks. It will cover four wards: Castle Bromwich, Smith's Wood, Kinghurst and Chelmsley Wood, which have a population of 40,000.

The council intends to obtain funds though an arm's length management organisation (ALMO), under which the local authority is permitted to borrow money after creating a not-for-profit independent company that is responsible for managing the stock.

Solihull council intended initially to transfer its council stock to a registered social landlord but had second thoughts after the 92,000 tenants with Birmingham council rejected that option in a ballot.

Deprivation sits cheek by jowl with affluence and the council wants this sorted out

Solihull regeneration project source

A final decision about adopting an ALMO, which does not require a ballot, will be made in July.

Housing stock in the area shows a sharp contrast between north and south Solihull: the southern fringe is dominated by private housing in leafy suburbs bordering Worcestershire, whereas the northern districts are a cause for concern.

A project source said: "Solihull is, paradoxically, in the bottom 10% of the most deprived wards in the country at the same time as being in the top 10% of the most affluent. Deprivation sits cheek by jowl with affluence and the council wants this sorted out."

The scale and extent of the regeneration has not been specified in the brief. The council has invited consortiums to come up with ideas about physical regeneration and social and economic issues.