Funding agreed for Black Country Metro extension

A new deal has been struck to secure multi-million pound funding to realise for a link from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill.

However, officials have warned that steps to present revised plans should be enacted quickly, with work starting soon after, before possible funding is lost. Plans to extend the Metro between the two towns have been on the table for years, but were stalled after successive governments failed to commit to funding.

However Cllr Pete Lowe, leader of Dudley council, says the £1 billion funding package agreed with the Chancellor can secure its future. He said council leaders were in support of the proposals through the West Midlands Combined Authority, with the Black Country Executive Joint Committee granting approval for £100,000 of funding to be put towards developing the scheme.

The money will be spent on revamping outdated plans and costings for the scheme created when it was in its infancy. 

The proposed scheme runs for around seven miles from the existing line at Wednesbury to Great Bridge. It would then continue to Horseley Heath, Dudley Port, Dudley town centre, the Waterfront and Merry Hill, before terminating at Brierley Hill town centre. With journey times from Birmingham to Wolverhampton on the existing line being around half an hour, speculation suggests a similar timeframe for trips from Birmingham to the Black Country.


A report to the committee said: “Following the West Midlands Combined Authority Devolution Deal announced by George Osborne on Tuesday 17th November, the Department for Transport (DfT) have provisionally allocated funding to the proposed East/West Metro link.

“The Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro forms part of this wider scheme, [which] has been identified as a priority for a number of years within the Black Country.”

It added: “In light of the recent decision, a refresh of the scheme, design and business case needs to be undertaken. The review work would be undertaken by Centro and the appointed framework consultants to review the business case, scheme programme and costs to accurately reflect 2016 prices.

“The work needs to start in earnest now to allow the scheme to meet the DfT requirements and prevent the funding offer from the DfT being withdrawn.”


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