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Major step forward for Midland Metro plans

Long-awaited city centre transport plan set to be approved by council at meeting next week

The next generation of Midland Metro trams

Proposals to further extend the Midlands Metro to Centenary Square are set to take another major step forward next week.

Birmingham City Council cabinet is due to approve the next stage of the Metro at its meeting on Monday, October 21.

The  extension will link Centenary Square, complete with the ICC and new Library of Birmingham, to New Street Station where it will link up with the extension currently under construction along Corporation Street and the existing Snow Hill to Wolverhampton line.

The project is the first developed under the Enterprise Zone Investment Plan for the city centre and will cost a total of £42.4 million.

The City Council, Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP and Transport Authority Centro believe the scheme is essential to boost the impending developments at Paradise Circus and Arena Central.

It is the first major project to come forward through the Birmingham Enterprise Zone Investment Plan - the scheme where the council can invest in business boosting schemes and earn the money back through increased income from business rates.

With £25 million of Enterprise Zone funding, the remaining investment comes from transport funds, worth £8 million, and section 106 developer contributions, worth £4.4 million.

Coun development chief Tahir Ali said: “This will deliver improved public transport to two key sites 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.”

Tram stations will be built next to the Town Hall and Centenary Square.

Chris Webster, GBSLEP board director with responsibility for the Enterprise Zone, said: “Right across the Zone we can see progress on the ground.

“lready we are on course to create 2,500 new jobs by 2015 with many more forecast. We therefore support fully this proposal, which will link to major Enterprise Zone sites and the wider Westside area to the transformed New Street Station and to Snow Hill Station providing an important boost to investment.”

Currently the Midland Metro extension from Snow Hill to New Street is due to be completed in 2015. A full timetable for construction of this further extension will be issued early next year.

 
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