hs2 transport midlands

Prospects for Midlands set to improve with £2.2bn transport boost

Local leaders in the Midlands will be “empowered” to decide what to do with the reallocated HS2 investment, as part of government’s levelling up agenda. 

Earlier this week, the government announced that a total of £4.7bn would be handed to the North and the Midlands through the Local Transport Fund, which could be spent on improving local connections. The Midlands’ share will be £2.2bn, and is alongside other funding areas such as £1bn towards bus services.

The funding will be available from April 2025, says the government, and it is expected to be particularly focused on improving infrastructure in places that struggle the most, including smaller cities, towns and rural areas. Local leaders are encouraged to “invest in the transport projects that matter most to their communities”.

Some of the improvements the money is expected to be spent on include building new roads and improving junctions; installing or expanding mass transit systems; improving roads by filling potholes and providing better street lighting; improving journey times for cars and buses; and increasing the number of electric vehicle chargepoints.

Bus and rail stations are also expected to be refurbished in many areas, while streets will be made safer for walking children to school and improving accessibility.

What happened to HS2?

Unlike the North, the Midlands will still be a destination on the UK’s new high-speed rail (HS2) network, with new stations set to be opened at Birmingham Interchange near the airport, and Birmingham Curzon Street in the city centre.

However, towards the end of last year, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the northern leg of the line, which would have connected the West Midlands to Manchester among other places, was being scrapped. Instead, he pledged that the full funding pot would be reallocated on alternative projects in the areas missing out.

The London to Birmingham leg of the network is already well underway, so this will remain, and is expected to cut journey times and improve efficiency for people travelling between these places and beyond.

The decision was unsurprisingly unpopular among many in the North, with Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham accusing the government of “disrespecting people across the whole of the North”. However, the latest round of funding direct to the North and Midlands is intended to deliver significant transport improvements.

The northern leg had been expected to cost £19.8bn, while the Midlands leg had been penned at £9.6bn, and the government has stated that it is “committed” to reinvesting the full amount. The £6.5bn saved through the new approach at Euston is also set to be spread across the UK for transport investment.

Reliable transport for the Midlands

Maria Machancoses, chief executive of Midlands Connect, said: “This funding represents a significant investment in our region’s infrastructure. The Midlands contributes more than £90billion to the UK economy, and to boost that even more, we need reliable transport networks and investment in new technology.

“We welcome this announcement and the improvements it will bring for our communities and businesses across the Midlands, and we will continue to work with government and support our local authorities, to ensure these vital Network North transport upgrades are delivered.”

The government added in a statement: “As part of Network North, we have also committed to delivering the Midlands Rail Hub by increasing investment to £1.75 billion to improve journey times, capacity and frequency of services across the East and West Midlands.

“We will also enable the West Yorkshire Mayor to take forward a £2.5 billion mass-transit metro in West Yorkshire.

“We’ve committed £12 billion towards better connecting Manchester to Liverpool. This would allow the delivery of Northern Powerhouse Rail as previously planned, including high-speed lines. But we will work with local leaders to agree whether they wish to suggest other ways to achieve the objectives with that £12 billion.”

If you’re interested in investing in property in the Midlands, or any other top-performing location in the UK, get in touch with BuyAssociation today, or browse some of our select investment opportunities.

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