Projects set to transform sites in the heart of Solihull will be critical to the borough’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis, the leader of the council has said.
Cllr Ian Courts was speaking after new footage, offering a bird’s eye view of key developments including the HS2 Interchange Station and the Jaguar Land Rover logistics centre, was released.
The Urban Growth Company (UGC), set-up by the council to oversee investment and development in the area, has said the video gives a glimpse of the changes on the ground over the past 12 months.
The drone footage also provides a tour of other key sites within The Hub – a belt of land which already encompasses some of the borough’s “crown jewels”.
These include the NEC and Birmingham Airport, which have been hard-hit by the pandemic but also have plans for dramatic changes in the coming years.
“We see the growth that is related to HS2, thousands of jobs, apprenticeships and business opportunities,” Cllr Courts told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
Locations discussed include:
- HS2 Interchange Station – Development of the multi-billion pound rail project is gathering pace, with the recent installation of two new road bridges and increased activity at the so-called “Interchange triangle”.
- Arden Cross – A “mini-town” which will wrap around the HS2 Interchange site, with plans for thousands of new homes and new commercial premises.
- Birmingham International Station – The key stop on the West Coast Mainline is due for a major revamp to meet an increase in passenger numbers. The first concepts were unveiled earlier this year.
- Jaguar Land Rover logistics centre – Work on a 50 acre site, adjacent to the car giant’s existing Solihull plant, began earlier this year and is due to be completed by mid-March 2021,
- Birmingham Airport – Unprecedented falls in air travel have left the skies strangely quiet for large parts of this year, although the airport has previously outlined a £500 million masterplan for further development.
- NEC – The National Exhibition Centre has also been badly affected by the pandemic, but has proposals in the pipeline to dramatically increase the capacity of the Resorts World Arena. A £25 million hotel scheme, with 200 plus bedrooms, also received planning permission over the summer.
- Birmingham Business Park – The site near Marston Green has growth plans of its own, with estimates that 15,000 people could be employed there by the time HS2 arrives.
Cllr Courts has said that there will also be significant development outside The Hub area, citing the recently unveiled plans for Solihull town centre.
“It’s a longer-term project but still hugely important.
“If we could provide over the coming years something like 1,200 new homes in the town centre it would help us plan for the future.”
The various schemes were discussed in depth at the Midlands UK Forum for Growth – a three-day virtual event which took place last week.
Cllr Courts took part in a discussion panel, alongside business leaders, designed to highlight the “exciting opportunities” and how the region can emerge from a particularly bruising year.
Jonathan Bretherton, the UGC’s managing director, who was among the event’s other guest speakers, said: “The last 12 months have been critical as we’ve moved from planning to delivery on many of our projects.”
Although some of the schemes continue to…