Solihull residents and visitors could be set to benefit from over £98m of investment in vital transport projects as part of the West Midlands City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS).
The money has been earmarked for a range of high priority projects. These include highway improvements linked to the forthcoming HS2 interchange, new high quality cycle routes into Solihull town centre, and ambitious plans to redevelop Solihull Station.
The West Midlands CRSTS is a five-year capital settlement (covering the period from April 2022 to March 2027). It is aimed at supporting the region to deliver a sustainable transport investment programme. The fund is overseen by the Department for Transport (DfT) and is designed to allow local transport planners to develop and deliver key schemes with more certainty.
Working with individual councils and transport authorities across the region, The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) coordinated and submitted a bid to the DfT successfully securing a total funding allocation of £1.05 billion for the West Midlands.
A report which went to the Cabinet Member for Environment & Infrastructure earlier this week outlined the list of Solihull schemes the funding could support.
In total ten key Solihull schemes could receive a boost from CRSTS and receive full funding or funding for further work to take place:
- Chester Road Corridor – Segregated Cycleway and Capacity Enhancement at Chelmunds Cross
- A45 / Damson Parkway Multi-modal Junction Improvements
- Multi-modal Access to HS2 Enhancement (development work)
- Solihull Railway Station (development work)
- Solihull Town Centre to Dickens Heath permanent cycle scheme
- Solihull to Knowle permanent cycle scheme
- UKC - Solihull - Dorridge bus priority route
- West Coast Mainline and M42 Public Transport and Active Travel bridge links to HS2 Interchange
- Highways Maintenance and Structures Programme
- Community Liveability Programme
In addition to these schemes Solihull Council would deliver, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) has CRSTS funding to deliver Sprint phase2 along the B425 Lode Lane and to extend the car park at Whitlocks End railway station.
Councillor Ken Hawkins, Environment & Infrastructure Portfolio, Solihull Council, said:
“This huge funding settlement has the potential to a boost the region’s transport network and I’m thrilled that so many of the high priority schemes are here in Solihull.
“These exciting and ambitious transport schemes will make a real difference to our communities. They could improve access to jobs, attract further investment and ensure our transport system responds to changing future demand. The fixed term nature of this funding will give us the certainty we need to get on with delivering these schemes.
“I’m grateful for the hard work of our officers in transport for pulling together such thorough and detailed programme. We have shown in our submission that while ambitious, the schemes are deliverable. I also like to pay tribute to the effort put in by our colleagues at WMCA who have led on this work, pulling together a compelling final bid submission and helping to secure a fair deal for the region.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:
“It is brilliant news that we’ve succeeded in securing more than £1billion of Government investment to continue our transport revolution here in the West Midlands.
“This is the single largest transport sum we’ve ever received and I know the team cannot wait to press on and start getting diggers in the ground on some truly game-changing schemes. Whether it’s train stations, cycle routes or electric vehicle charging points, this cash will help us to go on building a cleaner and greener transport network – ensuring communities are better connected and helping to tackle the climate emergency.
“To highlight one high profile transport example, the HS2 Interchange in Solihull will be a gateway to the region and ensuring that the surrounding highway infrastructure is ready for its arrival is vital to the success of the wider scheme.”
Transport Minister Baroness Vere said:
“As part of the DfT’s £1 billion West Midlands City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement, I am thrilled with Solihull’s vision for how its funding can be used to level up local transport infrastructure and provide better journeys for millions of people.
“The funding should support transformational schemes such as new high quality cycle routes into Solihull town centre, and be used to explore the redevelopment of the train station, creating new jobs, boosting the region’s economy, and giving local people the transport network they deserve.”
- The CRSTS was announced by the Government in August 2021 as a response to the National Infrastructure Assessment, which had identified that the quality of the local transport networks across English metropolitan areas was affecting their productivity when compared to London and other worldwide city areas.
- On 1st April 2022 the government wrote to the West Midlands Combined Authority confirming the full funding allocation of £1.05 billion for the period from April 2022 to March 2027, numerous conditions especially concerning the larger or more complex and novel schemes within the programme (e.g. Coventry Very Light Rail proposals).
- The government intends that subject to future spending reviews and the success of this programme, that this could be the first of a series of 5-year transport settlements for the eight areas identified by Government for this funding.