Solihull Council has adopted a refreshed version of its borough-wide transport strategy and accompanying delivery plan, known as ‘Solihull Connected 2023’.
This updated strategy repositions the council’s approach to transport over the next decade, setting out its vision for a multi-modal transport system that accesses all parts of the borough, supports the economy, is safe to use and makes the borough healthier and fairer for communities, businesses, and visitors.
The strategy, representing the council’s policy position on transport investment, was first adopted in 2016, however an updated version has now been produced which seeks to respond to some of the shifts in transport policy and travel patterns we have seen over the past six years. The refreshed strategy also looks at, and responds to, the impact of Covid-19 on people’s travel habits in the Solihull and considers how to best cater for growing populations and ageing demographics across different areas of the borough.
The current transport network in Solihull is predominantly focused towards providing access to Birmingham City centre and, whilst that remains important, Solihull Connected 2023 seeks to also provide a multi-modal transport system that links people to jobs and enhances the economy of Solihull. A particular focus is placed on improving transport links from the North of the borough to Solihull town centre and on joining up many of Solihull’s rural communities which are underserved by public transport.
To help achieve the vision and objectives contained in Solihull Connected 2023, a delivery plan has also been drawn up, which sets out in more detail the steps that will be taken to deliver Solihull Connected and how they will be resourced. The main focus of this delivery plan spans April 2022 to March 2027 to align with the first 5-year tranche of approved West Midlands City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement capital funding. This live document will be added to and updated as required over the coming months and years.
A 6-week public consultation on the updated strategy took place over January and February via the Council’s new engagement platform ‘Your Voice Solihull.’ This dedicated website received nearly 2000 visits and captured over 70 in-depth responses. As part of the consultation a series of face-to-face information sessions were also held around the borough, where members of the council’s transport team were able to answer questions from residents and collect valuable feedback on a range of key issues including changes to bus services, parking, traffic enforcement, cycle infrastructure and EV charging provision. These comments have been fed into the strategy and captured in an accompanying consultation report.
Cllr Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council and Cabinet Member for the Economy, said:
“These are exciting times for the borough. Already one of the best-connected destinations in Europe, Solihull is perfectly positioned to benefit from significant new investment in our transport network, benefitting our economy, environment, and health. A comprehensive and up-to-date transport strategy is vital if we are to capitalise on these opportunities.
“Delivered properly this strategy has the potential to maximise opportunities associated with the arrival of HS2, help revitalise our local town centres, provide access to areas of new housing, enhance our natural environment, improve air quality, and tackle carbon emissions, all while lifting life chances in our most disadvantaged communities by improving access to jobs, education and housing.
“We know that different parts of the borough have distinctive needs and so this strategy contains recommendations tailored for six separate sub-areas. A key priority for me, and one I am pleased to see reflected in Solihull Connected 2023, is a focus on improving connections between the North of the borough and Solihull town centre.”
Cllr Ken Hawkins, Cabinet Member for Environment and Infrastructure, said:
“The vision underpinning Solihull Connected is a simple one. We want to develop a multi-modal transport system that provides access to all parts of the borough, supports our economy, is safe to use and makes the borough healthier and fairer for communities, businesses, and visitors.
“Solihull Connected 2023 looks at why and how we travel and sets out the policies, initiatives and interventions that can be taken to improve travel and transport across the borough. The ambition behind it is to plan for balanced investment in transport infrastructure that still caters for cars, while also emphasising alternatives. We received some really positive and constructive feedback during our recent consultation, and I feel confident that the vision, aims and priorities in our updated strategy are the right ones.
The updated strategy can be viewed here: https://www.solihull.gov.uk/About-the-Council/Solihull-connected