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£42m New Street to Centenary Square tram route to ‘generate investment and create thousands of jobs’

£42m New Street to Centenary Square tram route to ‘generate investment and create thousands of jobs’

🕔14.Oct 2013

A £42 million extension of the Midland Metro tram system to Centenary Square will be the first major project to be brought forward through Birmingham’s Enterprise Zone Investment Plan, it was confirmed today.

Although funding for the scheme comes via the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, formal approval for work to begin will be given by the city council cabinet.

GBSLEP believes the extension, less than two miles, will improve connectivity between New Street Station and Centenary Square, attract investment and create employment. It will link with an extension presently under construction between Snow Hill and New Street.

The Birmingham enterprise zone, made up of 26 key investment sites, was created last year. According to GBSLEP and the council, the zones have the potential to create 40,000 new jobs and boost the local economy by £2 billion.

An investment plan provides £128 million to start development of the enterprise zone.

This investment will be repaid by the uplift in business rates that the GBSLEP is able to retain from businesses that move into the Zone.

As well as the metro extension, the next stage of the investment phase of the investment plan will see a renewal of Centenary Square and improvements to road layouts.

Cllr Tahir Ali, cabinet member for development, jobs and skills, said: “This will deliver improved public transport to two key sites within the Enterprise Zone – Paradise Circus and Arena Central – which will help connect people to employment opportunities, provide an alternative to driving and connect the business community to mainline train stations linking to London and the north.

“Centenary Square is one of the largest public spaces in the city, with the Library of Birmingham, ICC, Rep theatre and Symphony Hall making it a great place for people to come together.”

Chris Webster, GBSLEP board director with responsibility for the enterprise zone, said: “Right across the zone we can see progress on the ground.
“Paradise Circus is rapidly moving forward to a start on site and just a stone’s throw away work is underway on the Arena Central site, preparing the way for a 250-bedroom Holiday Inn Express hotel.
“Two Snow Hill, a new city centre campus for Birmingham City University and the redevelopment of the former Post & Mail site are either complete or now underway.

“Already we are on course to create 2,500 new jobs by 2015 with many more forecast.”

The extension of metro will provide two new stops at the Town Hall and Centenary Square enabling connectivity further into the city centre core with an expected increase of 760,000 passengers by 2026.

Mr Webster added: “This will be a boost to Birmingham’s ambitions for a well-connected city and provide a further catalyst for more journeys to be made on public transport with the wider associated benefits of a reduction in congestion and CO2 emissions.

“It provides a much enhanced environment together with the proposals to renew Centenary Square and makes this part of the city a key destination for Birmingham residents, businesses and visitors alike.”

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