A landmark document was published this year outlining our ambitions for maximising the benefits of HS2. By improving the connectivity of the region, developing skills and ensuring supply chains are prepared, the Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy will put the region at the heart of the UK’s economic future.
Aligned to this is the development of the Midlands Connect strategy, which will provide the region with a long term vision for improved connectivity to support growth and jobs. £5 million was secured from government in the summer Budget to support this work.
£300 million has been allocated through the Local Growth Fund for investment in transport infrastructure within the GBSLEP, including the Midland Metro Extension, Hagley Road SPRINT and Hoobrook Link Road.
A major focus for the LEP is sustainable and innovative transport measures. Birmingham is set to become the first city in the UK to use cutting-edge battery technology that removes the need to attach overhead power lines to its historic buildings for trams. The £4.15 million LGF part-funded project will result in there being no need for overhead cables around the 182-year-old Town Hall in Victoria Square when the city centre metro line is extended through from New Street station to Centenary Square. The LEP recognises the increasing importance of the air quality challenge. This year we published our Low Carbon Transport & Mobility Strategy, which aims to support a move towards a lower carbon economy, delivering better air quality and a higher quality of life through more choice and greater efficiency.
Improving digital connectivity is also key for economic growth. Take up of a Digital Birmingham voucher scheme has resulted in around 4,000 businesses being supported with broadband connections, placing the region third in the UK in terms of adoption.
In 2026, the West Midlands will become home to the first phase of the HS2 line. It will benefit from an Interchange Station at UK Central in Solihull, near Birmingham Airport and the NEC, and a terminus station at Curzon Street in Birmingham city centre.
The past year has seen significant progress in getting the foundations in place to maximise the opportunity of this once in a generation investment.
The Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy was published in July 2015, its development has been part-funded by £2.5 million received by GBSLEP as part of its Growth Deal.
The Strategy was endorsed by government as part of the WMCA’s Devolution Deal. Funding was secured to support the HS2 Connectivity Package and the extension of the Midland Metro Eastside Extension to Adderley Street. Further commitments were given to consider business cases for the East Birmingham and Brierley Hill Metro Extensions. The deal also included the approval of the extension of the City Centre EZ to support the delivery of infrastructure across the Curzon area.
A regeneration company was formed in November 2015 to progress the Curzon development. An Urban Growth Company for UK Central has also been established to drive forward plans for the Interchange station.
HS2 Ltd’s headquarters in Birmingham were officially opened in February 2016 by the Secretary of State for Transport. The office at 2 Snowhill will house up to 1,000 staff, from engineers who will help design the railway to procurement specialists.
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