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New Midlands Development Sites Coming Down The Track, Literally


Researchers say that good infrastructure helps push land and property prices up and create development opportunities. The West Midlands is soon about to put that research to the test.

Government backing is expected for a £180M transport scheme that will bring 2.2 million people within direct rail links of Birmingham. The link will extend to Derby, Sheffield and beyond. The new connection will funnel passengers into Coventry and Birmingham International stations.

Research from Savills showed that being within walking distance of a London tube station added more than 10% to house prices, proximity to a Glasgow underground station added 6% and the national average hovers at around that point. Whilst commercial land is harder to track, similar uplifts are anticipated.

The project, one of seven schemes that make up the £3.5B Midlands Engine Rail programme, will also double the number of services to Birmingham International and Coventry from Leamington Spa, Banbury, Oxford and Reading from one to two trains per hour, and introduce new direct services between Birmingham Moor Street, Solihull, Warwick Parkway and Oxford.

These enhancements are made possible by double tracking sections of the railway between Leamington, Kenilworth and Coventry, as well as utilising the additional network capacity created by HS2.

The development hub around Birmingham airport

Growth opportunities along the corridor are likely to be dwarfed by the commercial potential around Birmingham International station.

Solihull’s Urban Growth Company is leading plans for the ‘UK Central Hub’ around the airport, which includes the 330-acre Arden Cross site, supporting up to 5,000 new homes, 7M SF of commercial space and 70,000 new and existing jobs, generating £6.2B additional gross value add every year once development is complete.

Midlands Connect has now submitted an outline business case for the Birmingham Airport Connectivity scheme to the Department for Transport. The plan, produced in partnership with Network Rail, comes with an immediate request for £20M in government funding to develop detailed designs, planning and final costings.

If approved work on-site could begin as soon as 2024.