Following a constructive meeting with Ministers to discuss proposals for regenerating East Birmingham and North Solihull, Cllr Ian Ward (Leader of Birmingham City Council), Cllr Ian Courts (Leader of Solihull Council) and the Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street have agreed to work together with Government to secure support for further investment in transport, jobs and regeneration.
New finance for large investment projects, business rates relief to support investment around HS2 stations, and employment schemes to secure more jobs in East Birmingham and North Solihull were the items on the agenda at the meeting yesterday with the Government ministers for Transport and Levelling Up to discuss the opportunities that HS2 will bring to the region.
During the meeting with Minister of State for Transport, Andrew Stephenson MP and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at DLUHC, Neil O’Brien MP, Cllrs Ian Ward and Ian Courts and Mayor Andy Street spoke together about how HS2 is vital in levelling up both Birmingham and Solihull.
Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “High Speed Two offers a unique opportunity to level up the West Midlands, and I was delighted to meet with the Ministers today to discuss the opportunity that HS2 will give to level up the West Midlands.
“Birmingham City Council is working closely with the Mayor, the West Midlands Combined Authority, and Solihull Council to work up plans to maximise the impact of the arrival of HS2. We presented our vision for further investment into transport, businesses and jobs around the HS2 stations to the Ministers and I look forward to continuing to work with them in the years ahead to make this a reality.
“By working closely with our regional and national partners, we can use the arrival of HS2 to level up for the people of East Birmingham, bringing jobs, homes and new transport infrastructure to the area, helping communities to thrive.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “As a region, we offer a united front when it comes to maximising the opportunities that will emerge from HS2 here in the West Midlands. That’s why I and the Council Leaders of Birmingham and Solihull – Ian Ward and Ian Courts – were pleased to engage in a constructive dialogue with Ministers Neil O’Brien and Andrew Stephenson.
“We stand ready to work closely with Government on HS2 - as we have in earlier phases – to shape where we go next and ensure our region makes the most of this once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment.
“We have already made great strides together in this direction, and with Government’s help, we will continue to deliver for our residents. That means increasing regional transport connectivity to link to HS2, unlocking major residential developments around forthcoming station sites, and enabling the provision of jobs and skills for local people to work directly on this landmark project. With so many economic opportunities contained within HS2, it remains a powerful example of Levelling Up in action.”
Cllr Ian Courts, WMCA portfolio holder for the environment, HS2 and leader of Solihull Council, said: “In Solihull, our support for HS2 is based on maximising the benefits to the borough from the new railway, the station and the surrounding development opportunity at the Hub. We are confident that the new jobs and homes will help us deliver the sustainable growth we need for our growing population. But in Solihull, we do not measure growth for its own sake. It will allow us to fund the health and wellbeing services residents need and tackle the environmental and climate change issues we face.
“We know here in Solihull, and elsewhere in the region, this transformative railway is already bringing huge benefits by attracting new businesses, creating new secure jobs and prompting spin-off developments. The construction phase, whilst disruptive, is also supporting a very long and high-value supply chain as well as being a catalyst for wider improvements to our transport network.
“I have seen, for example, at first hand some of the wonderful training opportunities presented by this project for men and women of all ages, and this is exactly what we see as some of the direct benefits coming from the project.
“It was great to meet Andrew Stephenson MP (Minister of State for Transport) and Neil O’Brien (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at DLUHC) and show how the region is supporting HS2."
Following the meeting Cllrs Ward, Courts and Andy Street all agreed to continue to work together to ensure Birmingham, Solihull and the West Midlands get the maximum benefit from HS2.