Author: Adrian Ceney
With huge investment in key infrastructure, and with Birmingham set to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and Coventry named as the UK’s City of Culture for 2021, the West Midlands is poised for significant growth. Partner Adrian Ceney discusses how the metropolitan county is being regenerated.
The West Midlands is the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, well known as the powerhouse behind Britain’s manufacturing heritage and home to its second city, Birmingham.
The region, which has around 5.6 million residents, making it one of the biggest and most densely populated counties in the UK, losing out only to Greater London – is seeing the highest level of redevelopment for 15 years, with a huge focus on creating office, retail, leisure and residential areas in major city hubs.
And the catalysts behind the transformation?
A key part is undoubtably the political drive of a mayoral combined regional authority, working together with central government, the LEPs, and key stakeholders within the Midland Engine to drive change.
Massive investment in critical infrastructure and creating the right conditions for development, is revitalising the West Midlands as a location for industry and commerce. The attraction of a wealth of resource talent from the region’s top universities and colleges is helping attract big business into the region.
The Commonwealth Games, which will be visiting Birmingham in 2022 – generating a gross economic benefit of £442 million to the city, according to the city council’s cabinet report – is a further catalyst for the county’s regeneration programme.
The international multi-sport event promises regeneration, 1,000 new homes, improvements in public transport, 4,500 jobs in the West Midlands every year until 2022 and 950 extra jobs per year thereafter.
And it doesn’t just stop there.
Birmingham’s smaller cousin, Coventry – located just 22 miles south – has been chosen as the UK’s City of Culture for 2021, an accolade expected to drive further investment and opportunities to the region.
And there was even more great news for the region earlier this year when Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced he had agreed a deal with the West Midlands to deliver more than 200,000 new homes by 2031 to address the nation’s housing crisis.
The next 10 years show even greater promise for the West Midlands, with the creation of brand-new public realms, commercial space, residential quarters and the anticipated high-speed railway network, HS2 – which will allow commuters to reach London in just 49 minutes when the line fully opens in 2026.
The above is why we’ve cemented our presence in the booming region by opening a new office in Birmingham, off the back of a string of local project wins.
As a multi-professional consultancy Pick Everard has been working in the West Midlands for over 20 years, and have already developed a strong and sustainable client base in the region – delivering a number of key projects. These have included the city of Birmingham’s major water treatment infrastructure at Minworth, and the £180 million HMP Featherstone, one of the largest and most economical prisons in the UK.
However being located at Snow Hill – in the heart of Birmingham, where business is being done – means that we are better able to service our clients from a local base, providing an even higher quality of service while continuing to grow our portfolio across the region.
One of our latest projects in the West Midlands was to transform the fourth floor of Selfridges’ iconic Birmingham store, which employs more than 800 people and is located in the Bullring shopping centre.
The challenging scheme – delivered while the premises remained fully operational – has configured the sales area, refreshed flooring, upgraded lighting and modernised the department store’s aesthetic.
We also provided project and cost management on the University of Warwick’s £19 million flagship, award-winning Oculus building – the first on campus to be dedicated purely to teaching, with bookable spaces available to all academic departments.
As well as housing a 500-seat lecture theatre, seminar rooms, collaborative group spaces and social areas, the award-winning project has created an instantly recognisable and universally popular landmark building.
Currently as part of our joint venture company Perfect Circle, we are working on a 100 acre extension to the i54 business park near Wolverhampton, home to JLR’s engine manufacturing facility, and other schemes for West Midlands Police and Walsall Council.
Regeneration in the region is rife and we’re proud to be a part of the West Midlands’ future heritage.