Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry is leading the fight by a number of core city Chambers to lobby government to begin piloting promised Accelerated Development Zones (ADZ) in the region.
ADZs, a revolutionary method of funding investment in major transport and economic development projects and predicted to create up to 44,000 new jobs, were announced in the previous government’s Budget statement on March 24.
Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce said: “In the letter we have today written to Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. We have stated that at this time of infrastructure deficit, ADZs are the way forward to support growth and prosperity.
“We are urging the Coalition Government to stick with the pilot and prepare legislation to allow ADZs to be enacted as part of the Localism Bill.
“The ADZ concept originates from Chicago, where it has delivered exciting economic opportunities. At a time when reducing public capital finance is paramount, access to this mechanism will be a critical factor in allowing our cities to drive recovery and future growth.”
The core city Chambers include: Birmingham, Liverpool, Greater Manchester, North East, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, Leeds, York and North Yorkshire and Sheffield.
Mr. Blackett continued: “If successful, we will be in a position to drive forward our region’s competitiveness and deliver the massive infrastructure projects which will help underpin the regional, and national, recovery from the current downturn.
“We believe the £120m ADZ Pilot Programme would be used for capital grants to help support projects that deliver key infrastructure and commercial developments to unlock growth.
“ADZs would define areas for development which would attract business investment.”
A number of schemes across the region have already been earmarked as potential ADZs. These are: Birmingham Eastside; Birmingham Wholesale Markets/Southern Gateway; Bordesley Park; Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Extension Rapid Transit Scheme; City Centre – Airport Rapid transit Scheme; M6 J10 improvements; M5 J2 improvements; and i54 Wolverhampton.