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Goodbye boring M42 Corridor: hello to racy UK Central

Goodbye boring M42 Corridor: hello to racy UK Central

🕔20.Jun 2013

M6The M42 Corridor, an area where acquiring permission for almost any type of development once involved long and costly planning battles, not only has a racy new name it also has the hopes of economic growth in the West Midlands pinned on to the back of it.

UK Central, as the zone encompassing Birmingham Airport, the NEC, Blythe Valley Business Park and Solihull is now known, is expected to deliver new jobs and wealth on a “nationally significant scale” if council leaders get their way.

And since a masterplan depicting 100,000 new jobs and a £20 billion increase in GDP by 2040 is backed by Solihull Council and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, it seems more than likely that planning permission will not be a problem on this occasion.

It’s all a long way from the seemingly never ending public inquiries that were mandatory whenever business-related development was proposed close to the motorway network. Both the Blythe Valley and Birmingham business parks were built on former green belt land, as was much of the M6 Toll after objections from environmental groups were overturned.

GBSLEP is predictably promoting the area’s central location with great transport links, which will be even better when HS2 high speed trains are up and running. About 70 per cent of the country’s population lives within a two hour journey of UK Central.

A brochure explaining the masterplan does not hold back on superlatives: “UK Central is the place to invest and it is the place to do business. Why? Because UKC is on a tipping point, it is geared up and ready to deliver 100,000 new jobs and economic growth on a scale that is nationally significant.

“At the heart of the UKC proposition is the notion that by capitalising on one of the strongest economic bases in the UK today and targeting investment in local infrastructure, UKC will dominate and will drive a national economic resurgence.”

“It is the point at which new routes to Indian and Chinese markets are realised through Birmingham Airport, north meets south through high speed rail, and the most populous conurbations of the Midlands, Sheffield, Nottingham, Derby, Coventry, Oxford and Birmingham intersect through the connectivity of the M42 to the national motorway network.

“It is also the point at which the regeneration initiatives of North Solihull and East Birmingham take advantage of the economic success of nearby companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, AEC, Arup, Monarch, TRW and Fujitsu and the growth capacity of assets such as the NEC, Solihull Town Centre and the business parks of the M42 corridor.

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