PLANS TO create an ‘urban quarter’ around the HS2 Interchange station in Solihull have taken a major step forward this week after almost £10 million in new funding was secured.
In addition, the principles of designing new infrastructure and transport connections at the site close to the NEC and Birmingham Airport, known as Arden Cross, were agreed, with a final deal to be signed later this month.
The Urban Growth Company (UGC) was established by Solihull Council to maximise development and investment at the HS2 station site and neighbouring land, collectively known as The Hub.
It has been working jointly with the council to secure £9.8 million of devolution deal funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to enable HS2 to design the changes.
The funding deal was announced at international property conference MIPIM in France on Tuesday (March 13).
Councillor Ian Courts, Deputy Leader of Solihull Council, said: “This agreement means we really can make the most of HS2’s arrival and deliver up to 77,500 new jobs, 775,000 sq metres of commercial space, 4,000 new homes and generate £4.1bn every year as a result.
“It also means that people across the region will be better connected than ever, thanks to the improvements to local transport links.”
The UGC and Solihull Council have also reached the basis of an agreement with HS2 Ltd about how the design process will be managed and delivered to support the vision for the new Interchange Station site over the next two years.
The changes include a plaza and public transport interchange aimed at creating a sense of arrival at the new HS2 station, replacing surface car parking with multi-storey car parks to free up land, improved pedestrian links and additional capacity for utilities.
This will ensure HS2 Interchange is better connected to local transport services, including future Metro and Sprint routes, and also open up the wider site for development.
UGC Chairman Nick Brown said said: “We’ve always said The Hub area has the potential to drive nationally-significant economic growth – but only if the vision for Interchange Station site was sufficiently ambitious.
“That’s why we’ll continue to work hard with the WMCA and HS2 Ltd – to make sure these new plans for the Interchange Station site match that ambition and are future-proof.”
The Hub is home to a number of key stakeholders including the NEC, Birmingham Airport and Jaguar Land Rover as well as the 340-acre Arden Cross development site, which will host the HS2 interchange station alongside business and residential uses.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “HS2 offers the West Midlands an envious opportunity in terms of jobs, development and investment.
“It also offers the opportunity to really think about how we maximise the benefits for the wider borough of Solihull helping to drive economic performance and growth in what is already the UK’s economic powerhouse.
“MIPIM is a worthy showcase for plans as ambitious as these and it is fantastic to be able to showcase them to an audience of global investors.”
Construction of the design changes is expected to be funded by further Devolution Deal HS2 Growth Strategy funds and will be subject to the necessary planning approvals.