HS2 concede fresh talks needed on Washwood Heath

City MP continues campaign to revitalise industrial site.

HS2 yesterday conceded in Parliament that fresh talks are needed to maximise jobs at the old LDV-Alstom site at Washwood Heath – currently earmarked for a marshalling yard.

The railway firm made the concession at an extraordinary hearing of the HS2 Bill Committee called in response to a letter from Liam Byrne MP and other Birmingham MPs.

A year ago the HS2 Bill committee ordered HS2 Ltd to work with site owners AXA at Washwood Heath to adapt their plans in order to maximise the number of jobs on the site. 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.

The site owners, together with Liam Byrne MP, have put forward proposals that would see 2,334 jobs be created. Speaking after the debate the member for Hodge Hill said:
“This will be a huge month for the future of Washwood Heath. HS2 today has agreed to fresh talks with site owners AXA to find a compromise which maximises the number of jobs at Washwood Heath.

“HS2’s unwillingness to engage constructively has wasted a year. We cannot waste any more time. I welcome HS2’s concession today that they will engage in fresh talks with AXA. East Birmingham needs the vital jobs that could be created at Washwood Heath. HS2 Ltd must adapt their plans to ensure that as many jobs as possible are created at Washwood Heath, as quickly as possible.”