Representatives from all organisations were joined by Squadron Leader Chris Wilson from RAF Cosford and the relatives of those being honoured with street names on the new development, now known as The Point. Also in attendance were Air Cadets and representatives of the Royal Airforce Association.
The new development of 123 new homes, located on the former site of Greenwood Academy and near the site of an old Spitfire factory, will proudly feature road names in recognition of female Spitfire pilots Mary Ellis, Joy Lofthouse and Eleanor Wadsworth. Plus, designer of the Spitfire, R J Mitchell, test pilot Alex Henshaw, and Lord Robin Corbett of Castle Vale, who was MP for the area.
The development will also include 64 affordable homes for rent, 40 of which will be available for rent for people on Birmingham City Council’s waiting list and 24 of which will be for social rent to people on The Pioneer Group’s waiting list for residents of Castle Vale Community Housing Association. The remaining plots are available on the open market through Lovell Homes.
The Castle Vale site is synonymous with aviation and was an airfield during both world wars. The Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Fighter and Avro Lancaster Bomber were manufactured opposite the site where Jaguar Land Rover now stands.
Councillor Sharon Thompson, cabinet member for housing and homelessness, said: “This new development on Castle Vale is a great example of collaboration between BCC, the local housing association – The Pioneer Group - and developer, Lovell Partnerships. It will provide much-needed affordable homes for our tenants while honouring the history of the site. The homes have been built to be as energy efficient as possible which will help to keep all residents gas and electricity bills down while also showcasing how sustainably built new homes can help the Council reach its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.”
Squadron Leader at RAF Cosford Chris Wilson said: “I am very glad to see these icons of aviation recognised in this way. Their names will live on at the site of Castle Vale, which holds a unique place in British military aviation history, for generations to come. It is testament to this area’s strong links to manufacturing and wartime Royal Air Force aviation.”
Stuart Penn, regional managing director at Lovell, said: “It is fitting to recognise a site with such a unique history by honouring local heroes through a permanent fixture like the street names. We have enjoyed the time getting to know and supporting local groups and schools in this area who made us aware of how important it was to link this site, which has been derelict for many years, to its significant manufacturing history.”