PLANS to fund works to widen an access road to the HS2 Interchange station and UK Central Hub near Solihull have been given the green light.
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) board agreed to provide £19.95m to upgrade work on the key access point to the station and surrounding area, which will be critical for the future development of Arden Cross.
The Hub is earmarked to be a ‘major driver of economic growth for the region’, with a number of businesses and organisations, including the NEC, Birmingham Airport, Jaguar Land Rover and Birmingham Business Park being based there.
The Hub also includes the 340-acre Arden Cross development site, which will be home to the new HS2 Interchange Station.
The monies will allow for widening of a three-lane roundabout on the A452 being built by HS2 Ltd over the railway line which was originally planned to only accommodate the HS2-related traffic.
It will also allow for traffic signals, additional lanes to be added and other works when needed in the future.
This will also be the main access route to Arden Cross.
The widening is being planned into the project now so there is no additional cost or major disruption at a later stage, according to the WMCA.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “The UK Central Hub is one of the country’s most important economic growth areas and has substantial expansion plans.
“I am very pleased that the WMCA Board has approved funding for this key infrastructure project in Solihull, which shows we will not be held up in our regeneration plans by HS2’s delay.
“It is a true game-changer for the West Midlands and I am delighted we are pressing ahead.”
The plans for The Hub are being overseen by the Urban Growth Company, which was set up by Solihull Council to coordinate existing growth plans and lead infrastructure investment and development.
Jonathan Bretherton, managing director at the Urban Growth Company said: “This additional work enables us to maximise the full commercial benefits that will arise locally, linked to the arrival of HS2.
“Crucially, this improved infrastructure will make Arden Cross extremely attractive as an investment opportunity, appealing to high-value manufacturing, advanced research and development and associated academia, which in turn will generate the jobs of tomorrow.
“It’s also a really good example of the region working with HS2 to make the most of the high-speed rail opportunity for the benefit of local people and local businesses.”
Early preparatory work is already underway with more advanced work expected to start next year.