Growth chiefs outline 20-year strategy to maximise UK Central

The 20-year plan to capitalise on one of the Midlands’ most strategically important development sites has been officially unveiled.

UK Central in Solihull is anticipated as being one of the major drivers of economic growth within the Midlands Engine.

The strategy to exploit the potential of the scheme was announced at the MIPIM property exhibition in Cannes.

The Growth & Infrastructure Plan, developed by UK Central’s Urban Growth Company, sets out how the various parties involved in the project aim to maximise the full potential of what is considered to be a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity.  

The scale of the plan is unprecedented, with highlights including the potential for 775,000 sq m of new commercial and mixed-use floor space, up to 4,000 new homes and the delivery of a major economic boost worth up to £4.1bn in GVA each year.

The UGC intends the strategy to lead to the creation of up to 77,500 new jobs.
Already home to global businesses and strategic economic assets including Birmingham Airport, the NEC and Jaguar Land Rover, the site is also the chosen location of the HS2 Interchange Station.

The hub will place the area within 38 minutes’ travel time of London Euston and it will eventually create one of the best-connected commercial, industrial and residential zones in the UK, with unprecedented rail, road and air links.

The development has already secured investment from the government, the West Midlands Combined Authority, HS2 Ltd and Highways England. The funding is expected to see £1.5bn of infrastructure investment generated over the next 10 years.

Connecting to the wider region and national transport network, plans include the development of a multi-modal transport interchange at Birmingham International Station, connecting the HS2 Interchange with the NEC and Birmingham Airport via an automated people mover and linking to mainline rail, Metro and Bus Rapid Transit.  This is hoped to also generate new development opportunities, with potential for over 315,000 sq m of commercial space.
The UGC will be the key facilitator but will bring together public and private sector partners and landowners, and will be responsible for building political support and driving the infrastructure investment that will start as early as next year.

Business leaders and politicians have given the plan their wholehearted support.

Cllr Ian Courts, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Managed Growth at Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, said: “This plan allows us to showcase the truly global opportunity that is presented by the Hub.  Growth and development ambitions around the HS2 Interchange and Arden Cross site, in addition to those of Birmingham Airport, the National Exhibition Centre and Jaguar Land Rover combine to create a compelling international investment destination for the worldwide stage.”
Nick Brown, Chair of UK Central Urban Growth Company, said: “The scale of the opportunity is immense. The Hub will be built on strong foundations as the area already hosts outstanding businesses including a world class automotive research and manufacturer in Jaguar Land Rover; the globally connected Birmingham Airport, an International showcase venue for business, entertainment and world resort at the National Exhibition Centre; all nestled in an area surrounded by high quality homes and thriving businesses.
“The UGC is determined to ensure that our shared ambitions for the area are fully realised by coordinating investment plans and growth opportunities.”
Local Growth Minister, Andrew Percy said: “The HS2 Interchange station at Solihull will be one of the best connected places in the West Midlands. I look forward to seeing how these exciting plans develop to deliver new homes and more jobs for the region.”
Chris Loughran, Deloitte's Midlands senior partnerChris Loughran, Deputy Chair, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, said: ‘‘GBSLEP has long regarded UK Central as a prime location for significant economic growth. Few other places in Europe offer such a collection of nationally-significant assets that are so well connected by air, road and rail.  It is hugely positive to see the development of such an ambitious Plan to capitalise on that opportunity. We look forward to working with partners on the continued development of the proposals, and turning them into reality.”
Paul Thandi, CEO, The NEC GroupPaul Thandi, Chief Executive, National Exhibition Centre, said: “We welcome the UGC’s initiative to create this Growth and Infrastructure Plan. This is a strong and necessary first step in ensuring that the masterplan for the NEC site, together with the aspirations of other neighbouring stakeholders, can be delivered within a coherent framework for infrastructure delivery.”
Paul KehoePaul Kehoe, Chief Executive of Birmingham Airport, said: “Having a coherent strategy which supports the growth of Birmingham Airport and its neighbours within UK Central will allow for joined up long term thinking and collaboration. I therefore support this Plan to ensure we all benefit from the unique opportunity which HS2 presents.”
Sarah-Jane Loughran, Property Director, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Jaguar Land Rover welcomes the holistic approach to the growth aspirations outlined within the UKC Growth and Infrastructure Plan and will continue to work collaboratively in the delivery of this longer term vision for the region.”
Sir Terry Morgan, Chairman, HS2 Delivery Board, said: “The HS2 Delivery Board welcome the publication of the UGC UK Central Hub plan which sets outs the aspirations for development and growth opportunities surrounding the Interchange site with the delivery of the HS2 Station following Royal Assent. This plan supports both the HS2 Growth Strategy and West Midland Combined Authority Growth plan.”

  •, in association with Marketing Birmingham, will be in Cannes for this week’s MIPIM event. Check out our exclusive coverage here