David Cameron will today announce a massive programme of investment in Birmingham and the West Midlands including new tram lines and business parks, improvements to city railway stations and new departments at city colleges.

One of the aims is to ensure the city has world-class local transport links ready for the opening of the new high speed rail line in 2026, which will have its own dedicated station at Curzon Street, in the Eastside district of the city centre.

The £350 million package includes a major expansion of Birmingham's light rail network. The Midland Metro will be extended with trams running to Edgbaston and to Curzon Street.

There will also be an extension linking New Street Station to Centenary Square on Broad Street, site of the new city library and the International Convention Centre.

Cash comes from the Government's flagship Local Growth Fund backed by David Cameron and Conservative peer Lord Heseltine, which next year is to distribute £10 billion to councils and local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) for projects which create jobs.

There will also be £11.2 million for a Centre of Excellence for Advanced Technologies at Birmingham Metropolitan College, to train the engineers and scientists which Midland manufacturers and technology firms urgently need.

Long-awaited plans to develop the site of the old MG Rover factory in Longbridge will also get the go-ahead at last, in particular by improving transport links to the site, including upgrading the rail station.

Other major schemes given the green light include a new 16.5km public transport system known as 'Sprint', running from Birmingham city centre to a planned new high speed rail station near the NEC in Solihull.

This uses road vehicles similar to buses but they operate in a similar way to trams. the Government funding comes to £34.3 million next year and £357.3 million over five years.

But many of the schemes will also benefit from cash provided by local authorities and other official bodies, as well as private sector investment.

Ministers are today making announcements about grants across the country but the centrepiece will be the award to Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP with senior ministers expected to visit Birmingham and the wider region.

Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: "This is great news for Birmingham.

"The announcements in this Growth Deal will help kick-start a range of major projects that will support the delivery of an improved transport system for the city, particularly with some further Metro extensions, and the creation of new jobs for local people."

David Cameron said: "For too long, our economy has been too London-focused and too centralised. Growth Deals will help change all that.

"They are about firing up our great cities, towns and counties so they can become powerhouses."

The LEP is chaired by Andy Street, the managing director of retail giant John Lewis, who said: "This growth deal is a clear vote of confidence in the economic renaissance of Greater Birmingham and a sign that Government has faith in our ability to deliver."

Cllr Bob Sleigh, leader of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, said: "The Growth Deal is great news for the whole city region."

 

Some of the schemes with funding from the Local Growth Fund announced today are listed below with many projects receiving additional funding from other sources:

* An aerospace academy close to Birmingham Airport, run by Solihull College - £830,000

* A groundbreaking food technology and food science centre run by University College Birmingham - £340,000

* A Life Sciences Centre run by Bournville College in partnership with University of Birmingham and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital - £3.5 million

* A four-hectare business park for life sciences businesses, close to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital - £5 million

* A dedicated training facility for smaller engineering firms which provide vital products and services to larger manufacturing firms such as Jaguar Land Rover - £550,000

* Centre for Advanced Automotive Training and Skills at South & City College - £260,000

* A business park for advanced manufacturing firms near Junction 6 of the M6, creating 1,500 jobs - £2 million

* Centre of Excellence for Advanced Technologies at Birmingham Metropolitan College - £11.2 million

* A new 16.5km public transport system known as Sprint from Birmingham city centre to Birmingham Airport and a planned new high speed rail station near the NEC. This uses road vehicles similar to buses but they operate in a similar way to trams - £35 million

* A Sprint scheme connecting Birmingham city centre with Quinton along the Hagley Road -  £8.1 million

* New facilities at Birmingham's South & City College to help it teach skills connected to the planned high speed rail line - £70,000

* A Midland Metro extension to Edgbaston - £59.8 million (provisional allocation)

* Midland Metro extension to Eastside - £40.5 million

* A new pedestrian link between Birmingham's Moor Street and New Street stations - £3.5 million

* Midland Metro extension to Centenary Square - £8 million

* Improving streets around New Street Station - £6.8 million

* Building 1,300 homes across the region - £6 million

* Improving University Station in Birmingham - £2.59 million

* Extending Battery Way, a road in Tyseley, Birmingham, to give improved access to the former Lucas Industries factory, allowing this site to be used again - £1.26 million

* Redevelopment of the Birmingham City University campus in Perry Barr - £3.5 million

* Improving Snow Hill Station in Birmingham - £4.66 million

* Better transport links at Longbridge - £4.86 million

* Developing cycle routes in Birmingham - £6 million

* Cutting congestion on the A457 Dudley Road, including widening sections of the road to create dual carriageways - £22.4 million

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