The private sector has been urged to “pick up the baton” to ensure the first of Birmingham’s economic zones to become operational is a success.
The city has unveiled a blueprint to attract £1.5 billion of investment to the city over the next three to five years and create up to 50,000 jobs.
The plan sees the creation of six new economic zones including business & professional services, creative & digital media, advanced manufacturing, life sciences, food & drink and IT, electronics & communications (ITEC).
Between them the zones will create 1.8 million sq m of new floorspace across the city.
The Advanced Manufacturing Hub, located at the Aston Regional Investment Site, will be the first of the zones to become operational.
Barry Allen, director of property consultants Savills, who are helping the council market the Advanced Manufacturing Hub, said: “It is all very well having a strategy but it is about delivery - particularly in economically challenging times.
“This is all about delivery, offering opportunity, enabling growth and renewal.
“We know Aston is the traditional heartland of Birmingham’s industry but it needs regenerating and that is what the £20 million invested so far is doing.
“It is about a partnership between the public and private sectors.
“The public sector is doing its part in turning the area around. It is now up to us, the private sector, to pick the baton up and run with it.”
Mr Allen said the 50-acre site would appeal to both local companies and those from further afield, and added: “It is about supporting indigenous companies, many of whom have been here for many years - centuries in some cases - and also about offering new investment opportunities to overseas companies.”
He also revealed that the scheme was being accelerated in response to demand, particularly from companies in the booming automotive supply chain. Initially it was to be a three-phase development over a 10-15 year period.
He said: “We are accelerating delivery if we can, from three to two phases and the first phase - 25 acres - is ready immediately.
“The city council will be bringing forward a local development order which will simplify planning and will be in place by April next year, which recognises the market requires flexibility.”
Councillor Tahir Ali, cabinet member for development, jobs and skills, said: “As the first economic zone to be available for occupation, the Advanced Manufacturing Hub demonstrates our aim to support business development, create employment, increase skills and regenerate parts of the city through spatial and economic planning.
“Using this model will provide businesses with benefits ranging from bespoke accommodation to cost-effective shared facilities and accessible supply chain networks.
“It will also help to transform parts of the city that have the available space and workforce to create world-class business clusters, within a growth sector.”
Mr Allen said freehold opportunities would be available but also opportunities for occupiers who require traditional rented leases.