Up to 500 new jobs could be created under a £2.5 million project to develop a parcel of land next to the M6, it has been announced.
Sandwell Council and the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership have joined forces with the St Francis Group for the scheme, which will see the 22-acre Opus Blueprint site developed next to junction nine of the M6 at Wednesbury.
Under the scheme, road improvements to access to the site – close to the Ikea store – will take place. The site, which already has outline planning consent for the development, has been blighted by travellers and fly tipping.
The £2.5m funding has come from the Government’s Growing Places Funding and it is hoped the jobs would be created over three years.
The scheme will be carried out by St Francis Group and development partners Opus Land.
St Francis Group has a proven track record in delivering regeneration across brown field sites through site management and development, while Opus Land is active in both the development and investment field.
Sandwell’s jobs and economy boss, Councillor Ian Jones, welcomed the news.
He said the site would have the capacity to hold a number of companies, potentially generating 500 jobs, and hoped the close proximity to the region’s motorway network would attract business. He said: “We are hoping that further investment will attract logistics or manufacturing companies. It is a fairly large piece of land.
“It will hopefully clean up that site and bring it back into use. We have had travellers down there, we have had dumping of rubbish and we had the bikers and trail riders causing a nuisance at nights and weekends.”
He added: “Sandwell offers existing occupiers or businesses from outside the area a chance to move to an area with a strong manufacturing tradition, existing supply chains and employment support. We want companies to take advantage of the great working environment and the skilled, young workforce available.”
Simon Eastwood of The Black Country LEP said: “The funding will be allocated to address key obstacles that have stalled development relating to infrastructure and access constraints. St
Francis group will repay the loan on completion of the development allowing the funds to be recycled for other projects.”
Rob Baird, director for the St Francis Group, added there would be benefits for all partners. He said: “Sandwell Council and Black Country LEP have taken an intelligent approach to attracting businesses to the borough by working with the private sector to provide finance to enable St Francis Group to bring forward the Opus Blueprint employment site.”