Plans for a new mixed-use development on a derelict 30 acre former industrial and landfill site adjacent to Battery Park in Selly Oak Birmingham took a step further after Birmingham City Council approved the purchase of nine acres of land, which comprise part of the site.

To progress the development a JV between Land Securities and Sainsbury's called the Harvest Partnership has been formed. Their plans, submitted last month, call for an 80,000 sq ft supermarket, a petrol station, a range of shops and student accomodation alongside the proposed University of Birmingham Life Sciences Campus, which will form part of a wider Life Sciences Economic Zone in the city, and will occupy about one third of the site.

The council says the life sciences hub will include laboratories and offices for research in the fields of pharmaceuticals, medical biotechnology and medical technology, and will become the principal location nationally for parts of the life sciences sector. This has been a growth area of science and already contributes £180 million to the local economy. The site is close to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, many of whose patients participate in the research.

Coun Ian Ward, deputy leader of the city council, said the city’s growing reputation as a leading international centre would attract more firms. He said: “We want to see a thriving and globally competitive life sciences sector, building on our current provision, including the world class clinical practice, research and trials to be found at the university and hospital.”

The Worcester and Birmingham canal, which runs through the site, will be improved with a new canalside square and a bridge connecting the site to Selly Oak centre, as well as pedestrian and cycle routes. Local groups want a whole section of the canal through Battery Park to also be improved.

Land Securities project director Neil Carron, commented: “This is a positive step forward in the regeneration of this very challenging site into a high-quality, mixed-use development.

“It is a strategic opportunity to create a Life Sciences Campus, which will unlock wider economic benefits for Birmingham.”