Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
This blog post has been produced for the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce to provide insight on the findings of our new publication Doing Business in Solihull: An Economic Snapshot.
Doing Business in Solihull: An Economic Snapshot is produced by the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce policy team. It offers an introduction to the local economy and business community within Solihull. The report is sponsored by Prime Accountants Group, one of the West Midland’s leading independent firms of chartered accountants, forensic accountants, business and financial advisors.
This post is featured in the full report here.
One of the most productive economies in the UK, Solihull remains top location choice for international investors and business occupiers.
Solihull has one of the highest rates of economic growth in England, with a GVA of around £7.7Bn and one of the fastest growing private sector labour markets outside London (2010-2017).
We are home to some of the fastest growing companies in the UK. Take Gymshark and Grenade, who are based at Blythe Valley Park and Hampton-in-Arden respectively, and are flying high in the recent Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 league table, in terms of annual growth and profit.
Given these levels of growth it is no surprise that property agents KWB have recently highlighted the M42 Corridor as having one of the lowest office vacancy rate for 10 years, with an annual take up by businesses of around 33,000 sq m of commercial space. This underlying demand has led to increasing confidence in speculative build and development plans coming forward - with the new FIRST office scheme at Blythe Valley, already securing investment from accountancy firm Jerroms for 100 staff at a record headline rent.
There are several factors that drive investor confidence, including the main principles behind our ‘UK Central Solihull’ brand – exceptional international connectivity and strategic investment opportunities, all underpinned by a fantastic quality of life offer. We are continuing to invest in our environment, with new cycling and walking routes and the creation of new habitats. It’s no wonder that Solihull is consistently rated as one of the best places to live in the UK.
Our UK Central Solihull plans are driving forward the economic potential of the Borough. Alongside our Urban Growth Company, we are working to deliver the potential of the UK Central Hub – using the catalyst of HS2 to drive new growth and investment, the creation of 775,000 sq m of new commercial space and up to 5,000 new homes - generating £4.1Bn for the economy. Companies are already basing their location decisions on the opportunity that exists here – which will only compound as HS2 draws nearer.
In Solihull Town Centre, we are finalising a refresh of a masterplan, which provides a blueprint for future investment and development in the town centre over the next twenty years. Plans include phased higher density residential development, an accelerated supply of office space along with further support for the evolution of the retail, dining and leisure offer – ensuring the town continues to stand out a desirable destination.
Work is also underway to boost investment in public realm and transport links – with plans for a new integrated hub at Solihull Train Station, supporting the continued growth in passenger numbers.
Inclusive growth is also a key driver of our plans, with our extensive transport investments and programmes such as Metro, linking our residents to employment opportunities. We are also continuing to invest in our regeneration plans in the North of the Borough, with new development in Kingshurst and Chelmsley Wood, creating new centres that are at the heart of the local community.
Overall, Solihull continues to drive the regional economy and be a location of choice for a wide range of businesses. Our ambitious investment plans and close collaboration with key partners like the Chamber of Commerce mean we stand every chance of ensuring our economic success story will continue to go from strength to strength.
Councillor Ian Courts
Leader/Cabinet Member – Managed Growth
Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council