2022 represented a big year for the West Midlands, from the success of the Commonwealth Games that brought together thousands across the region for an incredible spectacle, to the continued progress made towards cementing the West Midland’s status as major player both on the national and international stage, it was certainly one to remember.
Yet, as we embark on a New Year it’s worth looking ahead to the big things that may shape 2023 for the West Midlands.
- Arden Cross – Solihull’s new Arden Cross development – dubbed a ‘mini town’ by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street – will see £3.2bn poured into the area. The world-leading economic hub responds to the governments levelling up agenda and will create thousands of new homes, jobs, skills, connectivity, opportunities, and wealth at the heart of the UK. Muse has been identified as the preferred Development Partner for the project so 2023 will see great progress towards delivery.
- West Midlands Gigafactory – In 2022 we helped achieve planning consent for the West Midlands Gigafactory, alongside the fantastic teams at Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport. This symbolized a big step forward for the region, in its mission to create the UK’s largest battery Gigafactory at the centre of the UK automotive industry. Strategically crucial for the region and the UK, 2023 will be a big year for this project as we continue our transition to an electrified future.
- Levelling Up – Levelling Up remains a major priority for the region and indeed the whole country. We have already seen the West Midlands make great strides in this area – developing transport connectivity, upskilling local people, and unlocking the potential of many areas for development – but for 2023 to be a success, we must continue upon this path. As the West Midlands seeks to fire up its regional economy and continue its recovery, we can expect to see a further embrace of the coming green industrial revolution in a bid to attract more major private sector investment. However, for this to be achievable it will need central government to provide the tools for success.
- Local Elections – Within the West Midlands a number of local elections will be taking place in 2023, including Wolverhampton who are amongst the few to be fighting an all-out election. A watchful eye will therefore be cast upon the region as Labour and the Conservatives face off in their traditional battle for the West Midlands. Not only this, but for many these elections will be observed through a national lens, giving voters an opportunity to express their views on the current national political narrative, with the cost-of-living crisis and Rishi Sunak’s progress likely to be at the forefront of many voters’ minds.
- Commonwealth Games Legacy – The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games was much more than eleven days of sport and represented a major achievement for the whole of the region. It showed the very best of its people and places to the watching world and generated a real positive atmosphere throughout. However, while the Games may have concluded, the efforts continue towards the creation of a lasting legacy remains a main priority – from improving health and wellbeing, driving sustainable growth across the region, and delivering real cultural impact to the West Midlands and beyond. PLMR are currently working with the Commonwealth Festival that was wrapped around the Games, as we look to elevate these successes and showcase the value that sport and culture intertwined can bring.