Urban Growth Company secures funding boost for infrastructure expansion.
The Solihull Council-led Urban Growth Company is continuing to progress its ambitious plans for the UK Central Hub in Solihull after securing an additional £460,000 of match funding from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund to help improve a key traffic roundabout.
The company, which was created to specifically realise the full economic potential of the HS2 Interchange Station and related infrastructure and is supported by the West Midlands Combined Authority, coordinates, facilitates and leads infrastructure investment to help inspire econimic growth in the area.
The funding – alongside the £2.1 million previously awarded by the West Midlands Combined Authority in 2019 – will be used to design an additional traffic-easing measure to a roundabout currently located at the edge of the NEC campus. The introduction of a new cut-through will ease current traffic flow and ensure that existing infrastructure is able to support future planned growth associated with the arrival of HS2 and the new development at the nearby Arden Cross site.
The roundabout improvement scheme – scheduled to be completed by June 2022 – is pre-emptive in anticipation of planned growth, minimising disruption, delivering cost savings and future-proofing the area for continuing development.
The UGC-led scheme will create a cut-through that allows traffic travelling north to continue straight-on without having to enter the roundabout. The aim is to ease traffic leaving the NEC at Northway (the arm after the A452) and prevent it backing up on the A452.
Sue Barrett, Commercial & Contracts Director at the UGC, said: “We are delighted to have received this funding boost from the LEP which is about so much more than a change to a roundabout design. Smaller, individual improvement schemes like this make significant contributions to our broader, strategic vision for The Hub. They serve as critical enablers for growth by ensuring the area continues to enjoy unrivalled road, rail and air connectivity.
“Our approach to future-proof The Hub also creates the confidence needed to attract future investment that will enable the major economic boost we plan to deliver in terms of jobs and homes. It’s also important that we look to a post-Covid future and ensure that our infrastructure supports the recovery of the major stakeholders across The Hub – the NEC and Birmingham Airport will be looking to ramp up their businesses again as soon as possible and this sort of project will help them to do that.”
Michael Steventon, Non-executive board director at GBSLEP said: “Investing in infrastructure is an integral part of our work as it opens up access to businesses, workers, visitors and people living in the area. The longabout project will ensure traffic will keep flowing though Solihull and Birmingham – an important commuter corridor with its close proximity to the NEC and Birmingham Airport. Furthermore, with the development of HS2 and the new Interchange Station, there is great potential for economic development in the area. We continue to work with our partners in the public and private sectors to create opportunities for inclusive economic growth as we look towards a post-Covid recovery.”
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, said: “Congratulations to the UGC and our transport team for securing the funds as well as coming up with a solution to this complex project. Working with UGC and other partners, we will continue to maximise the economic benefit of HS2 coming to Solihull. This funding will mean we can ensure easy access to The Hub and improved traffic flow in the area.”