PM backs Midlands HS2 growth plans


The prime minister has backed plans from councils in the Midlands to boost local economies on the back of the HS2 rail project.

The Curzon Investment Plan - a 30-year strategy led by the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP (GBSLEP) and Birmingham City Council - aims to unlock and regenerate 141 hectares of land around the planned HS2 Curzon Street Station, using almost £1bn of investment.

An artist's impression of the new Curzon Street Station

Plans include the development of Curzon Street Station itself, several new neighbourhoods, offices and retail spaces, and public places.

Its backers said it has the potential to add £1.4bn to the local economy, will create 36,000 jobs and 4,000 new homes, unlock 600,000 square metres of commercial floor space and connect the eastside of Birmingham to the rest of the city ‘and beyond’.

They said the investment is ‘the first major financial commitment by any local area in the country using HS2’s arrival as a catalyst for regeneration’.

In total, £907m is being allocated to a variety of projects, made up of £586.8m from the GBSLEP, £137.2m from the West Midlands Combined Authority and a further £183.3m towards the cost of delivering Metro tram extension projects.

Prime minister Theresa May said: ‘I’m delighted that Greater Birmingham is making this investment in the future, working to maximise the potential of HS2 by investing in jobs and housing – and encouraging more business investment.’

The plans sit within the GBSLEP’s ‘HS2 Midlands Growth Strategy’, which promises investment of £4.4bn, including new transport infrastructure and major new economic growth.

Separately, East Midlands Councils said HS2 could create an additional 74,000 jobs in that region and give a £4bn boost to its economy – if the Government’s proposals for HS2 are fully implemented.

The councils’ body said research will support an ‘East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy’, due to be submitted to Government at the end of September by council leaders and business representatives working through the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board.

The proposals form part of the ‘Eastern Leg’ of HS2, which will link Birmingham, Sheffield and Leeds with London and Scotland. Ministers are expected to make an announcement of the route for the Eastern Leg, including proposals for the East Midlands, later this year.

Cllr Jon Collins, chair of the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board and leader of Nottingham City Council, said: ‘HS2 will transform connectivity between our local economies and those of the West Midlands, the North of England and Scotland – as well as London and the South East.

'It will open up new opportunities for jobs and growth, including in our world class rail engineering sector and for firms working in the construction industry. The Government must press ahead with the route announcement as planned so we can start to make our plans a reality.’


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