The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has provided £10.2 million to help deliver significant transport and infrastructure investment in Solihull, ahead of the arrival of HS2.
Part of the second phase of projects to be delivered under the UK Central Solihull growth and development programme, the funding to Solihull Council will be used to support a number of schemes including key route improvements, investments in sustainable travel and new technologies including low carbon energy and electric and autonomous vehicles.
The schemes will sit alongside programmes of associated commercial and residential development and will fit into wider regional investment from HS2, Highways England, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the WMCA, and the Midland Metro Alliance (MMA).
This combined investment will underpin the area’s potential for growth which is put at an estimated 90,000 jobs and an increase of £5.3 billion per annum in GVA for the West Midlands up to 2050.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “We are committed to using the powers and funding being transferred from Whitehall to the West Midlands to bring about economic growth that benefits all of our communities.
“But we need an efficient and fully connected transport system to support that growth, which is why the WMCA is helping to fund infrastructure projects of this nature which will not only benefit Solihull but also Birmingham, Coventry and other key destinations across the West Midlands.”
At the heart of the Solihull plans are schemes to improve links between the town and the area known as the UK Central ‘Hub’. This is home to the forthcoming HS2 Interchange station and includes Birmingham Airport, the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham Business Park and Jaguar Land Rover.
There is also a strong focus on investment in Solihull town centre. Following the recent investment to improve access between Solihull train station and the town centre, the WMCA funding will help develop plans for an integrated transport hub including an upgraded train station, alongside new homes and new Grade A office space to accommodate new jobs in the town centre.
Cllr Ted Richards, Solihull Council’s cabinet member for transport and highways, said: “Investment in our key schemes across the borough will help make sure our infrastructure is ready for the growth created by HS2 and allow us to ensure we continue to have the right conditions for people to live, work and invest.
Cllr Ian Courts, deputy leader and cabinet member for managed growth added: “Through these schemes we will ensure local people and businesses benefit by delivering the right types of housing, supporting local supply chains, ensuring everything we do has a clear focus on sustainability and creating the places for the future, while retaining the essence of what makes Solihull such a great place to live.”