New Midlands road link 'could support delivery of 50,000 homes'

Road transport improvements across the Midlands, including a new 'Western Strategic Route', could help support the delivery of 50,000 new homes, a report by a transport body has concluded.

Roads: report backs new Midlands link
Roads: report backs new Midlands link

Midlands Connect, a collaboration of local authorities, businesses, local enterprise partnerships, Network Rail, Highways England and central government, is working to produce a transport strategy for the Midlands.

Its report, The Midlands Connect Strategy, sets out a series of priorities intended to improve road transport connections across the Midlands.

The document says its recommendations "tie in with major growth sites across the study area that could support more than 50,000 new homes being delivered and unlock further new housing opportunities". It adds: "Poor and unreliable road connections are a threat to this growth being realised."

Among its recommendations, the document supports the construction of a new "Western Strategic Route" to "support long distance movements from the North West to the South West through the Midlands".

The report says that the route "would potentially have a transformational impact on the economic performance of the Black Country".

The document says that Midlands Connect will now work with stakeholders to further explore the recommendations of the study and the economic benefits of the new strategic route.

"At this stage we will not be considering alignments of any potential route; merely seeking to better understand the economic benefits which could be realised if it came forward. As part of this, the potential options for financing the scheme will be considered and the environmental and delivery risks will be set out explicitly for future work to consider in further detail," the report says.

The document also supports the delivery of new mass public transport routes and says it will support regional transport body Transport for West Midlands "with the wider economic impact assessment of new routes connecting into Birmingham from the Black Country and into UK Central from Birmingham and Solihull".

Elsewhere, the document says the body will take forward feasibility work to identify sites for new "strategic park and ride" schemes to cut car use in heavily congested areas.

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