£66 million investment in tech, transport & housing across West Midlands

Photo shows: Coventry's Very Light Rail project
Coventry Very Light Rail

Eight ‘shovel ready’ projects, ranging from the National Brownfield Land Institute to Very Light Rail developments are to benefit from £66 million of Government funding secured for the West Midlands.

The money from the Government’s Getting Building Fund is aimed at projects which can be started quickly and completed within 18 months.  This creates jobs and drives investment to aid the economic recovery following the coronavirus lockdown.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) working with the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, the Black Country LEP and the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP delivered the region’s prioritised list of projects to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), which has been confirmed today.

Combined, the projects will create about 2,110 jobs, as well as support 1,419 construction jobs during development.

The projects are:

  • £15.1 million towards the redevelopment of University Station in Edgbaston
  • £1 million towards WM5G’s work with small and medium sized business to develop ground breaking apps
  • £10.8 million to provide innovation spaces and research laboratories at the Birmingham Health Innovation Campus
  • £12.4 million for the Very Light Rail Innovation Centre in Dudley where new modes of transport which are both green and cheaper and quicker to deliver than traditional tram or rail are being developed.
  • The National Brownfield Land Institute, at the University of Wolverhampton will receive £14.9m. It will research and develop new construction methods and ways of regenerating contaminated land
  • £6 million towards Coventry City of Culture to support various initiatives to make the most of the opportunities presented by 2021 – including the creation of a new heritage park
  • Coventry’s Very Light Rail project to receive £1.8 million
  • £3.9 million towards improved facilities at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry as part of the Commonwealth Games legacy scheme

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This funding is a welcome boost for the region as we look to rebuild our economy out of the Coronavirus crisis.

“Much of the funding in Coventry centres around projects that are associated with Coventry 2021 and, also, Birmingham 2022, which once again shows the economic benefits of those two major titles will bring to the region.

“In Warwickshire, there is a focus in this funding on improving and re-gearing some of our town centres to make them ready for the economic challenges and opportunities in the future.

“These are still incredibly difficult times for so many businesses across our patch but this hopefully points towards positive times ahead for this region.”

Martin Sutherland, chief executive of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “The announcement today about the £12 million of funding for capital and building projects across Coventry is excellent news for the city.

“We are delighted that we have also been awarded a grant to help us realise our ambitions for a new digital immersive gallery. There is still some work to be done on the project, but this is a very important next step to support the delivery of a new visitor attraction for the city and region.

“Many of our partners have also received support from the Government’s Get Building Fund; we are confident that this will help the city attract further investment, create new jobs and make the most of the opportunities that being UK City of Culture presents.

“We want to thank our partners including CWLEP, Coventry City Council and WMCA for their work to secure this investment for the city. It really has reaped very positive rewards for Coventry.”