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3,000 jobs for former LDV site in Washwood Heath as MPs back business park plan

A long running row between Birmingham's politicians and high speed rail line managers over the future of the former LDV Alstom site has finally come to an end

LDV site at Washwood Heath
Up to 3,000 jobs will be created at the LDV site at Washwood Heath

Up to 3,000 jobs will be created at the former LDV Alstom site in Washwood Heath after a long-running battle between local politicians and managers of the HS2 high speed rail network finally came to an end.

MPs have ordered HS2 Ltd, the Government-owned company building the line, to ensure land is available to create a business park.

Birmingham City Council had previously drawn up plans to use the site for a major business centre and hoped eventually to create up to 7,000 jobs there - but HS2 Ltd said it needed the land to create a maintenance depot for trains which will run on the new high speed line.

It meant no more than 300 jobs were likely to be created.

The council and local MP Liam Byrne (Lab Hodge Hill) have been locked in battle HS2 Ltd since 2012 over how to use the land.

But a Committee of MPs has now ordered rail managers to ensure that they leave room for a business park which will provide space for firms to create 3,000 jobs.

Liam Byrne, Labour MP for Hodge Hill

The decision is a victory for Mr Byrne, who persuaded the Committee that creating local jobs must be given a much higher priority.

The MPs said in a report presented to the House of Commons: “Washwood Heath is in an area of high unemployment. Although the maintenance depot will create jobs, Liam Byrne persuaded us that its potential for additional regeneration needed more recognition.”

HS2’s Chief Engineer, Professor Andrew MacNaughton, has altered the depot plans to ensure the train maintenance centre and a business park can both go ahead.

The instruction was one of a number of changes to the HS2 scheme ordered by the Commons HS2 Select Committee, which has held a two-year inquiry into the project. Their report paves the way for construction of the first phase of the line, running from London to Birmingham, to begin next year.

There will be two new stations in the West Midlands, at Curzon Street in Birmingham city centre and near Birmingham Airport. HS2 Ltd’s national headquarters will be in Birmingham’s business district.

Read more: HS2 high speed rail's national headquarters opens in Birmingham

Mr Byrne said: “This is a huge breakthrough for East Birmingham. HS2 planned to offer a paltry 300 jobs on the biggest development site in Birmingham. Now they’ve been forced to give us the space for ten times more.

“It has been a slow, patient slog through the corridors of power at Westminster. But we’ve got a deal that could now transform the jobs market in Hodge Hill and Washwood Heath.

“The struggle now is to get the land released ASAP. That means it’s time for Birmingham City Council to step up to the plate and join East Birmingham’s MPs making the case in the House of Lords.”



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