West Midlands reveals grand investment hub designs
Nearly 19,000 new homes and more than 65,000 jobs could be created in the West Midlands if its application for a package of investment zones is successful.
The region submitted its bid to ministers who have already held discussions with Tees Valley and Liverpool City Region about becoming zones.
West Midlands combined authority chair and mayor Andy Street said: “We know that investment zones can accelerate the delivery of tangible outcomes for local residents – including boosting employment prospects – and so I’m looking forward to working with ministers to get our West Midlands zones established as soon as possible.”
The proposals include Coventry Airport, and brownfield land in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton as five separate investment zones creating new housing next to commercial and industrial spaces.
The region’s political and business leaders hope £4.7bn would be added to the economy per year regenerating some of the more deprived parts of the West Midlands.
Walsall Council leader said: “Our submission puts a huge focus on attracting substantial private sector investment by creating the conditions that will give business the long-term certainty and stability needed to invest.
“This, in turn, will speed up the delivery of thousands of the new homes and decent jobs that local people so badly need while building a future-looking economy that benefits all parts of society and the fight against climate change.”
HS2 offers strong transport links for prospective zones
Locations such as East Birmingham and Solihull feature in the West Midlands submission to make the most of the potential offered by the HS2 high-speed rail line.
Birmingham City Council deputy leader Cllr Brigid Jones said: “The sites we’ve put forward would maximise the economic benefit of HS2 and unlock significant investment. They sit within a wider strategy to address transport connectivity and to improve public services.”
She said the submission was aimed at generating jobs and opportunities in areas in the West Midlands with high levels of deprivation and unemployment.
Financial brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said the region look set to become increasingly attractive for development finance lenders keen to support building projects in the area.
The government announced last month it was inviting bids from 38 combined and upper-tier authorities to become investment zones. These would be places offering tax breaks and simpler planning rules for businesses investing there.