The axing of Advantage West Midlands means the Longbridge redevelopment has hit a major hold-up in the £30 million plan to improve roads around the site.
Developer St Modwen had been expecting cash to improve access to the site from the regional development agency, which is being wound down ahead of its abolition.
But the Government’s overhaul of regional business support has put paid to that and St Modwen will now have to apply to the newly-launched Regional Growth Fund, meaning it faces stiff competition for what is a reduced pot of money compared to the sums regional development agencies had available.
St Modwen Midlands regional director John Dodds said: “St Modwen’s development programme and the progress at Longbridge are advancing well and the ultimate regeneration of this site will not be affected by the demise of Advantage West Midlands.
“However, the timing of the proposed infrastructure improvements which require public sector funding, may be impacted.”
At a House of Commons transport committee last month, officials from Birmingham City Council explained that delays in accessing funding for transport improvements would hamper job creation prospects in Longbridge.
Birmingham City Council assistant director of development David Bull said: “At Longbridge, where as you know, 6,000 Rover jobs disappeared a few years ago, we are being held back from development in that area because we need £30 million worth of infrastructure investment to open up the 140 hectare site.
“We can bid for that through the Regional Growth Fund, or we can bid for that through TIF funding-Accelerated Development Zone funding, but there are a lot of hoops to jump through when it is obvious that, if we had the funding for capital, we would be able to create 10,000 jobs in that area more rapidly.”
Mr Dodds said St Modwen was working with the council to get the vital funding for the scheme.
“David Bull’s comments to the transport select committee regarding the investment in Longbridge highlight that the site is high on the city council’s agenda and St Modwen is working closely with them to apply for the necessary funding for these improvements via the Regional Growth Fund.
“Meanwhile, St Modwen is implementing a £7 million programme of road works on the A38 Bristol Road South and Longbridge Lane to open up access to the new Bournville College.”