WMCA speaks at our levelling up forum this July
Above: Cllr Ian Courts - West Midlands Combined Authority and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council (Courtesy GBSLEP)
Leader of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, and Cabinet Member for the Environment at the West Midlands Combined Authority, Cllr Ian Courts, will be speaking at our levelling up forum at The Exchange in Birmingham next month on the successful construction of a new station to serve the Commonwealth Games.
Perry Barr Station opened in May ready to act as a gateway for visitors to Alexander Stadium for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games this July. The station connects fast services to the city centre, Walsall and Wolverhampton. The project cost £30.9 million and has been delivered on time and on budget.
Cllr Ward said the station and connected bus interchange would encourage people to reduce car use and traffic congestion, improving air quality and meeting climate change targets. The funding for the project has been provided by WMCA, Birmingham City Council, Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
Birmingham City Council stated that:
'With a growing population in Birmingham and an ambitious target of a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2027, we have to be equally determined to improve how people move around. We want to reduce levels of pollution and find ways of supporting better health and wellbeing by creating a cleaner and greener city.
'For these reasons, securing excellent public transport and developing pedestrian and cycle routes that allow people to easily get out and about, is key. This encourages people to use alternatives to their cars, choosing instead to walk or cycle within their communities, or to use public transport. More recently, in the wake of Covid-19, we launched an Emergency Transport Plan that sets out how we want to encourage citizens to get in the habit of ‘active travel’.
Perry Barr is a 15-minute journey northwest of Birmingham city centre. It's home to some outstanding open spaces, including Perry Park and Perry Hall Park, the former being the location of the Alexander Stadium.
Almost half (46%) of residents in the area are under the age of 30, contributing to wider Birmingham being the youngest city in Europe.
Birmingham City Council describes the area is one of the most diverse parts of the city, with 60% of the population from a BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) background, creating a vibrant and multi-cultural district full of talented and inspirational people.
Perry Barr is currently benefitting from £700+ million of public sector investment focusing on enhancing infrastructure, providing new homes and creating new community spaces.
It has also benefitted from the Commonwealth Games acting as a catalyst for change. The council has developed a masterplan for the area to build on this investment and maintain the momentum – 'Perry Barr 2040: A vision for Legacy'. This plan is the first step in setting out how the area should evolve over the next 20 years and agreeing on a regeneration framework to deliver a shared vision.
Birmingham has a significant demand for 51,100 new homes by 2031. To help meet this need, Birmingham City Council is supporting and enabling new housing and enhanced community facilities across the city. In Perry Barr in particular, we’ve identified more than 60 hectares – a footprint equivalent to three Wembley Stadiums - of land that is suitable for residential development, all within a short distance of Perry Barr local centre.
European Athletics Championships
In further news, UK Athletics has confirmed it has officially submitted a joint bid with Birmingham City Council to host the European Athletics Championships at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium in 2026. Working in partnership with Birmingham City Council, UKA hopes to host Europe’s most prestigious European athletics competition, seven years on from hosting the hugely successful European Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow in 2019.
UKA Chair Ian Beattie, said: “We’re very pleased to be able to confirm this official bid for the 2026 European Athletics Championships. I am grateful to Birmingham City Council for their commitment to hosting the championships, recognising the opportunity to further develop the legacy of the Commonwealth Games. It is also great news for the UK as a whole, highlighting our strong vision of hosting major sporting events in different parts of the country.”
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, added: “We have a first-class record for hosting international sporting events in Birmingham and the positive impact they have for our people and businesses is very clear. They strengthen the city’s identity, attract new visitors, grow our economy and promote Birmingham nationally and internationally as a welcoming, diverse, youthful and inclusive city.
“That’s why we published a new Major Sporting Events Strategy last year, to ensure we develop a portfolio of future events, which capitalises on the springboard of our hosting of the Commonwealth Games in a way that maximises the benefit for the people of the city as far as possible. Major events motivate local people, encouraging greater participation in sport and culture, helping improve physical and mental health and wellbeing.
“The redeveloped Alexander Stadium, recent host to the Diamond League and already hailed as the best athletics stadium in the UK, underlines our compelling credentials as a perfect host for European Championships in 2026 – we have excellent facilities, in a city and wider region that loves sport, which also has a bold plan for a sustainable legacy from all events that it stages. We feel the time is right for Birmingham to become the first UK host of these fantastic championships.”