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Wanted: Investor with £80m to spare in Aston

Wanted: Investor with £80m to spare in Aston

🕔25.Jun 2012

A pledge to create 3,000 jobs by building an advanced manufacturing hub on land close to the M6 at Spaghetti Junction will depend on Birmingham City Council being able to secure £80 million of private sector investment, it has emerged.

The council’s new Labour leader, Sir Albert Bore, announced plans for a 20-hectare Regional Investment Site (RIS) in East Aston last month, adding that the creation of skilled jobs in economic growth zones would be a priority for his administration.

The total cost of the scheme has been estimated at £97 million. About £2.7 million, to provide roads and basic infrastructure, will have to come from the public sector via the Government’s Growing Places Fund, which is administered by the council on behalf of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP).

But by far the bulk of the funding required will have to come from firms or a firm wishing to move on to the site, raising questions about how quickly the RIS can be delivered in the current economic climate.

The RIS is a key component in the regeneration of Aston, Newtown and Lozells, where unemployment rates are among the highest anywhere in the country. An Area Action Plan approved by the council cabinet promises to create a total of 5,000 jobs and build 1,700 new homes over 15 years.

Money from the Growing Places Fund has also been earmarked for a major Birmingham regeneration project, redevelopment of land at Icknield Port Loop, in Ladywood. About £500,000 will help to pay for demolition costs and new infrastructure.

The £22.6 million scheme involves building up to 225 houses, a hotel and shops on the site.

Four other economic growth zones proposed by the council are: environmental enterprise zone at Tyseley; medical technology and life sciences campus at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital/Birmingham University; an ITEC park at Longbridge; a food hub at an unspecified site.

Cabinet member for development, jobs and skills, Coun Tahir Ali, said he was confident the RIS would help to transform Aston, but gave no details of investors interested in moving to the site.

The council has also pladeged to create up to 6,000 jobs at the former Alsthom/DVD site at Washwood Heath, and is believed to be talking to a potential occupier.



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