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Key projects under the spotlight at GBSLEP Board meeting

Held at the Prince’s Trust Weston Centre, the LEP’s January Board meeting considered the progress of the GBSLEP’s Place Delivery Plan, and included an update on the success of Birmingham’s Advanced Manufacturing Hub.

Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP’s Board held its first meeting of 2019 at The Prince’s Trust Weston Centre in the Digbeth area of Birmingham. GBSLEP Local Growth Funding, helped transform the Cold Store in Digbeth into a new skills and enterprise hub, which opened in July last year. The centre is designed to nurture and develop the entrepreneurial spirit of Greater Birmingham’s young people by creating an inclusive, innovative, agile learning space for young people to build their skills and self-confidence – helping them to realise their ambitions and support business growth in the region. The Trust is aiming to help 700 young people progress into jobs directly and 225 to start their own businesses over the next three years.

At the meeting, Board members endorsed progress against GBSLEP’s Place Delivery Plan. The Plan includes development of a Cultural Action Toolkit to identify and prioritise investments that will strengthen the region’s cultural offer for economic growth. It also highlighted two innovative new Frameworks developed by GBSLEP – around Housing, and the regeneration of Towns & Local Centres – setting out good practice in regeneration to support the smaller, more focused town and local centre projects that add to a sense of place, supporting the communities that underpin larger-scale investment projects. It also noted GBSLEP’s support for Energy Innovation Zones, and collaborative work with the Coventry & Warwickshire LEP and the Black Country LEP on a Strategic Employment Sites Study that will provide clear evidence for future major employment sites, in line with the developing Local Industrial Strategy for the West Midlands.

Other projects showcased during the meeting included the Advanced Manufacturing Hub (AMH) in Birmingham. One of six economic zones in the city, the 20-hectare site aims to provide high quality industrial land and support the growth of the advanced manufacturing sector in Greater Birmingham – one of GBSLEP’s key sectors with high-growth potential.

A collaboration between Birmingham City Council and Homes England, the AMH has secured public sector funding from a range of sources including GBSLEP’s Local Growth Fund. This has helped to secure some £70 million of private sector investment, create more than 500,000 sq ft of commercial space and create about 1,700 jobs. The site has successfully attracted a range of investors including German firm Guhring, US manufacturer HydraForce and life sciences specialist Salts Healthcare.