City MP claims victory in HS2 site campaign

Byrne wins bid for 3,000 jobs at Washwood Heath.

MPs have demanded that High-Speed 2 change its plans for the old LDV Alstom site in Washwood Heath to allow 3,000 jobs to be created – ten times more than the original plan.

The ‘instruction to deliver’ is a major breakthrough for Liam Byrne’s campaign to see the site developed in a way that maximises jobs for local people. The original HS2 plan proposed just 300 jobs.

The committee which reported last night singled out Mr Byrne’s campaign, stating: “Although the maintenance depot will create jobs, Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP persuaded us that its potential for additional regeneration needed more recognition. We directed a review to minimise the temporary and permanent use of land by the Promoter, and to maximise opportunities for employers to establish themselves as soon as possible after construction. Mr Byrne was instrumental in pushing the review forward.”

The proposed Washwood Heath site is the size of 100 football pitches and makes up one third of the industrial land in Birmingham. It lies at the junction of Ladywood, Erdington and Hodge Hill – these three constituencies are together home to 45% of the City’s unemployed.

Liam is now pushing for the land to be released as early as possible – and is demanding Birmingham City Council join forces with him in the push for one of the biggest job creation opportunities in the city.

The HS2 Select Committee’s report concluded:

· The area potentially to be handed back after construction is 50% greater than in HS2’s original plans.
· Birmingham City Council estimate that the land now freed up can accommodate 3,000 jobs rather than the 300 jobs in HS2’s original plans.

Speaking in response to the Select Committee’s report Liam Byrne MP said: “This is a huge breakthrough for East Birmingham. HS2 planned to offer a paltry 300 jobs on the biggest development site in Birmingham. Now they’ve been forced to give us the space for ten times more. It has been a slow, patient slog through the corridors of power at Westminster. But we’ve got a deal that could now transform the jobs market in Hodge Hill and Washwood Heath.

“The struggle now is to get the land released ASAP. That means it’s time for Birmingham City Council to step up to the plate and join East Birmingham’s MPs making the case in the House of Lords”.