UK Central (previously known as the M42 Economic Gateway) in Solihull is the West Midlands’ principal international gateway and strongest performing economy, supporting an estimated 100,000 jobs region-wide and contributing £5.1 billion to regional GDP.
It is the location for a unique combination of economic assets of national and regional economic importance:
- Birmingham Airport
- The National Exhibition Centre (the ‘NEC’)
- Jaguar Land Rover
- Birmingham and Blythe Valley Business Parks
- Solihull Town Centre
UK Central has excellent international and national transport links via an expanding Birmingham Airport, Birmingham International rail station on the West Coast Mainline, Solihull station on the Chiltern Line and the M42 motorway.
When HS2 is constructed, UK Central will be brought within a 40-minute journey time of central London by 2026 via a Birmingham Interchange station located adjacent to the NEC.
UK Central has been successful in attracting overseas investment and has particular sector representation in advanced manufacturing (particularly automotive), ICT, business and professional services, construction, transport and logistics and business tourism.
The importance of UK Central as an economic growth driver has been recognised by the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership in the Strategy for Growth.
UK Central Masterplan
In June 2013, Solihull Council, the GBSLEP and Arup published the UK Central Masterplan, showcasing the development potential of the area up to 2040.
The masterplan outlines how bold measures need to be taken to capitalise on the potential of the already successful gateway site.
- Early and bold investment in local connectivity, including new modes of rapid transit to create a genuinely connected network
- Investing in green infrastructure as a vital economic asset
- Targeting investment in Junction Six of the M42 to facilitate the growth of Birmingham Airport, the NEC and Birmingham Business Park.
- Delivering managed growth around four key locations, namely North Solihull, Solihull Town Centre, Blythe Valley Business Park and the Hub – the epicentre of UKC which includes the NEC, airport, Birmingham Business Park and the proposed High Speed Rail station.
- The creation of a special purpose delivery vehicle called UKC Limited, staffed to procure and deliver schemes identified in a strategic business plan and accelerating planning, funding and implementation.
- Piloting a Single Local Growth Fund, and attracting additional private sector investment
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