Birmingham City University chief says region must ‘seize opportunities’ after HS2 green light

A university chief has welcomed the government’s green light for the HS2 rail line and warned that the West Midlands must now take advantage of the opportunities it presents.

Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University, said the news had the capacity to bring jobs, skills and growth to the region, but that leaders needed to act to ensure that the benefits were maximised.

He said: “This announcement is a major step forward for a project of this size and scale, and we must now seize the opportunities it can bring to Birmingham and the wider West Midlands.

“We have already seen major regeneration of this part of the city including plans to extend the Midland Metro and our own £340 million investment. But we also have a chance to further develop the city’s learning quarter to give students and businesses a home to be proud of, and transform the image of our city for the thousands of new visitors who will arrive here on the new rail line.

“HS2 is not just about shorter journey times, but is about the investment and regeneration it can bring here, and it is up to us to make sure it bringswith it the benefits which make sure this part of the country truly punches its weight.

“With Birmingham set to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games and Coventry named UK City of Culture for 2021, now is truly an exciting time to live, work and study in the West Midlands. We must make the most of it.”

Birmingham City University’s City Centre Campus sits opposite the site of the proposed new Curzon Street Station as well as the historic former site, which first opened in 1838.