Hosting investment zones in the Black Country will help "drive a renaissance" for those areas, MP says

Hosting investment zones in the Black Country will help unlock funding to "drive a renaissance of these areas that have suffered deprivation", an MP has said.

Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb
Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has made formal bids for four zones in the area – and two more in the region – in a bid to help boost growth.

The investment zones will see businesses benefit from low taxes and relaxed planning rules which could also boost the region's economy by £4.7 billion a year.

And it has been welcomed by Suzanne Webb, MP for Stourbridge, who said the move could boost the region and make it "very attractive" for more investment.

The Black Country plans feature a zone along the Wednesbury-Brierley Hill Metro extension, including housing and employment in Dudley town centre, Brierley Hill and Lye – with the latter comprising 29 hectares of land.

Ms Webb said: "One of my priorities has always been jobs and investment for Stourbridge and these exciting new Investment Zones could well be the catalyst for this happening in Lye.

"I would like to thank the mayor, the West Midlands Combined Authority, local business leaders and local councils for the work they have put in to get this excellent package of bids ready.

"It is critical these bids unlock public and private sector funding to drive a renaissance of these areas that have suffered deprivation. These are exciting times for the West Midlands with transport improvements like HS2 making the region very attractive for investment.

"I will do all I can to make the case that all these packages across the West Midlands are agreed by ministers."

Schemes for housing and industrial space have been proposed for Wednesbury and Tipton. Wolverhampton’s scheme centres around a ‘green innovation corridor’ to the north of the city, as well as housing and employment sites in the city centre.

Meanwhile Walsall’s scheme looks to create employment sites near the M6 and in the town centre, with a mix of commercial and residential development across the wider borough.

Schemes have also been put forward for North Solihull and the proposed gigafactory site in Coventry, while a separate bid has gone in for Staffordshire.

Analysis by the WMCA claims the zones have the potential to boost the region’s economy by more than £4.7bn a year, creating 65,128 new jobs, 18,616 new homes and 3.1m sq m of commercial space.

A decision on the first tranche of investment zones is expected on November 2.

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