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How A Roundabout Can Change Everything

The site of infrastructure improvements near Solihull

You can just spot it, if you look closely. For all its obscurity, the area inside the white circle could make all the difference to one of the UK's most promising development sites.

The 1,300-acre Hub development clustered around the HS2 high speed rail station at Birmingham International has been so long coming it begins to feel unreal. But now reality has begun to bite in the form of a modest but significant road improvement that opens the way to millions of square feet of new commercial development.

A funding pot of £2.1M to pay for infrastructure ahead of development has now been topped up with £460K, which means visible changes on-site can now begin.

The latest funding will be used to design an additional traffic-easing measure to a roundabout currently located at the edge of the NEC campus. The introduction of a new cut-through will ease traffic flow and ensure that existing infrastructure is able to support future planned growth associated with the arrival of HS2 and the new development at the nearby Arden Cross site. 

The roundabout improvement scheme, scheduled to be completed by June 2022, is in anticipation of planned growth, future-proofing the area for continuing development. 

The Hub site includes the NEC, the HS2 station and the 346-acre Arden Cross scheme including offices, retail and perhaps a film studio.

The Arden Cross scheme totals 9.9M SF, of which 4.6M SF will be offices and around 3.5M SF will be residential. 

“This will house a combination of research and development facilities with high value manufacturing accommodation, aimed at enhancing the range of employment opportunities at UK Central,” the master plan said. “In addition, this district will feature the opportunity for co-location of higher educational campuses, providing academic support and internship for students, together with industry partners.”

This will be a key part of Arden Cross’ “innovation employment corridor” including 40 acres devoted to research and development use.

The Hub site is being guided by the Urban Growth Company, a special purpose delivery vehicle created to realise the full economic potential of the HS2 Interchange Station and related infrastructure.

The latest funding comes from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund and tops up funds from the West Midlands Combined Authority.