? Innovation in technology, transport and housing in £66 million package to help kick start West Midlands economic recovery


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 region.

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.

The National Brownfield Land Institute in Wolverhampton is one of the eight shovel ready projects to benefit from the £66m funding package. (L-R): Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, Tom Westley, Chair of the Black Country LEP Board, Cllr Ian Brookfield, City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Jane Stevenson MP, and Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and Chair of the WMCA

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

The projects are:

  • £15.1m towards the redevelopment of University Station in Edgbaston
  • £1m towards WM5G’s work with small and medium sized business to develop ground breaking apps 
  • £10.8m to provide innovation spaces and research laboratories at the Birmingham Health Innovation Campus 
  • £12.4m 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
  • £6m 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 £1.8m
  • £3.9m towards improved facilities at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry as part of the Commonwealth Games legacy scheme 

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “At a difficult time for the West Midlands’ economy brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, it is great to see the Government putting further cash on the table to help aid our recovery. 

“This £66m from the Getting Building Fund will go towards exciting, shovel-ready, projects across the region that will make an immediate difference by helping to create and secure local jobs for local people.

“As well as an immediate investment to re-boot our local economy, the money secured through the fund is also an investment in our future, to secure the West Midlands’ place as a global leader in green and clean technology, life sciences, transport of the future, and construction.

“This announcement is just one part of our much bigger plans to reset, recharge and rebuild the West Midlands economy by investing in the future and retaining current jobs and creating new ones.”

Cllr Ian Brookfield, WMCA portfolio holder for the economy and leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council said: “In our recovery blueprint we have set out clear priorities to get the West Midlands back to work and the economy back on track. 

“These eight projects are ones which, with this extra money, we can get started on straight away to create thousands of jobs and generate further investment. 

“We are also looking to the future through these projects, such as the National Brownfield Institute in Wolverhampton, which will develop innovative methods and approaches to unlocking brownfield land and help us meet the demand to build more houses. It will be part of a nationally and internationally significant centre of excellence for built environment technologies and will help the city and the region develop a global reputation in this field.”

Tim Pile, who chairs both the West Midlands Strategic Economic Development Board and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “The projects highlight the real breadth of opportunity to accelerate recovery here in the West Midlands; not only aiding a swift bounce back with an injection of new skilled jobs, but supporting our businesses to lead the way in major new markets that will be drivers of sustainable economic growth in the future. 

“Delivery of these projects will play a key role in achieving a wider vision for the region to build on its unique heritage to become a world leader in innovation and creativity. The LEPs will continue to work closely with the WMCA to bring forward investments and see the full potential of the West Midlands realised.”