Midland Metro plans will help 'neglected' Black Country communities

MP Nicola Richards is urging the Government to throw its weight behind the Midland Metro plans so that 'neglected' communities like Great Barr can feel the benefits.

The metro is currently being extended throughout the Black Country and Birmingham
The metro is currently being extended throughout the Black Country and Birmingham

The MP for West Bromwich East stood up in the House of Commons this week and urged her colleagues to show their support to West Midland's mayor Andy Street's plans for the Midland Metro

As part of the plans, Mr Street wants to open eight new Metro lines and 21 new rail stations across the West Midlands by 2040.

Ms Richards has said she feels areas like Great Barr, in her constituency, are often "neglected" and has said how much it would benefit from modern transport infrastructure.

She said: "I've been speaking to people in Great Barr, and they don't feel like they have anything local to them. Birmingham city centre is not actually that close, neither is West Bromwich town centre.

"There's also the Scott Arms junction, which is an absolute nightmare for traffic – the buses are heavily congested. I think a bringing a good, solid transport solution into Great Barr can only be a good thing."

If it all goes ahead, the Midland Metro would allow people living in Great Barr a direct, fast route to Birmingham city centre –while also being able to easily access other areas of the Black Country.

Ms Richards added: "The air pollution is also really awful in Sandwell, so this could really help tackle congestion.

"And people want to feel connected."

Speaking in the House of Commons this week, Ms Richard said to Grant Shapps, secretary of state for transport: "Given the impact that coronavirus has had on communities like mine in West Bromwich East, will my Rt Hon Friend throw his support behind West Midland Mayor Andy Street's unprecedented investment plans in our transport infrastructure like the Midland Metro and helping to bring it to places like Great Barr, so that all communities can feel the benefits of levelling up."

She said the response had been very positive so far – and it would not be the last time she mentioned it in Commons.

On the Metro, Mr Street wants to build over 150 miles of new lines and around 380 new stops, and, in addition to the trams running on roads and on rail lines, he wants to have sections of the line running underground, using 'cut and cover' tunnelling to allow traffic to drive above the Metro line where there is not enough space on narrower roads.

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