Solihull Urban Growth Company to close after major HS2 work

Arden Cross

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council has chosen to bring the UK Central Hub portfolio in-house, leading to the closure of the Solihull Urban Growth Company.

Formed in 2016, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s decision to internalise the UK Central Hub portfolio marks the end of the Urban Growth Company, which achieved deals with organisations including HS2 Ltd.

The Urban Growth Company aimed to shape high-quality commercial space and housing with strong design principles, establishing an attractive investment location which secured £63m in external funding.

The team made changes to enhance development around the planned HS2 Interchange Station, convening key partners to shape plans for Arden Cross.

Negotiations have seen the number of parking spaces needed when the station opens at the HS2 Interchange reduced by 65% from the originally planned 7500 spaces to 2750. This has freed up large tracts of prime land for homes and other development.

There have also been enhancements to a major roundabout above the HS2 main line and close to the Interchange station. The £10.5m scheme of improvements, which are now virtually complete, has come in around 50% cheaper than originally estimated.

Despite its impending closure, the Urban Growth Company’s team has future-proofed plans around the HS2 Interchange Station, resulting in substantial taxpayer savings.

UGC chairman Nick Brown said: “Thanks to the work of the Urban Growth Company we are now in a much better position to create the vision originally envisaged by the leaders of Solihull Council. That was to provide a place of economic growth and vitality in the UK Central Hub (UKC) area. What’s now being planned is a much more sustainable and deliverable development and very different from the ‘Parkway’ type station that was originally planned by HS2 Ltd.”

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