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Major HS2 hub must tackle power shortfall

Jonathan Bretherton: Delivering ‘ambitious plans’

New managing director

is appointed at UGC The UK Central Urban Growth Company (UGC) in Solihull has appointed Jonathan Bretherton as its new managing director. Mr Bretherton will lead infrastructure

investment and development planning at The UK Central Hub, an area in Solihull, which is home to Birmingham Airport, the NEC, Jaguar Land Rover and Birmingham Business Park. He was previously joint chief executive at the

South Tees Development Corporation and The South Tees Site Company, and has held a number of senior regeneration and investment related roles across the public and private sectors. Nick Brown, chairman of the UGC, said: “In

Jonathan we have someone who has a very extensive and impressive track record in the development, planning and delivery of major property, land and infrastructure projects. “In joining local and regional partners and

stakeholders, he will hugely strengthen the team delivering these exciting plans for sustainable growth in the UK Central Hub. “2019 is a major year for the UGC and our

plans for The Hub. “We’ll be continuing our work with HS2 to

ensure the Interchange Station is at the heart of a whole new, sustainable, urban quarter, and continue the redevelopment planning of Birmingham International Station. “Alongside that, we’ll be addressing the

utilities shortfall in the area and coordinating local transport connectivity, among other projects. “Jonathan will be instrumental in delivering

these ambitious plans which will create Europe’s best-connected destination for business, leisure and living. His experience and negotiating skills are second-to-none, so we’re delighted that he’s joined the team.” West Midlands mayor Andy Street said: “The

UGC’s plans to create new jobs, homes, commercial space and unrivalled connectivity at The Hub will benefit people across the whole of the West Midlands and beyond. “The UGC has already made significant

progress and I’m excited about working with Jonathan to continue that work.” Philip Farrell, who has been acting managing

director, will continue in his previous role as development director.

50 CHAMBERLINK March 2019

A major infrastructure project in the heart of Solihull faces power blackouts unless a predicted shortfall in the power supply is addressed. The project is the UK Central Hub, a 1,300

hectare parcel of land in Solihull near the M42, which includes Birmingham Airport, the NEC, Jaguar Land Rover, Birmingham Business Park and Arden Cross, which will be home to an HS2 Interchange Station. The Hub is expected to see significant

growth during the next 15 years, and this will place a huge amount of extra pressure on current power supplies.

‘The Hub is all about creating something which is greater than the sum of the parts’

Among plans affecting the Hub are the

redevelopment of Birmingham International Station, growth at Birmingham Airport and the National Exhibition Centre, a new Metro tram service, an automated people mover and Jaguar Land Rover’s growing focus on electric vehicle production. Development of the Hub’s infrastructure is being handled by The Urban Growth Company

(UGC), which has appointed an energy specialist, Rolton Group, to investigate the energy shortfall and report back urgently on what should be done. Jaguar Land Rover, Greater Birmingham and

Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, Solihull Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority are co-funding an initial project, which will forecast the combined future power requirements across The Hub. Philip Farrell, interim managing director at

the Urban Growth Company, said: “The Hub is all about creating something which is greater than the sum of the parts and this collaborative project is the perfect example of this in action. Solihull Council identified this potential shortfall and we’ve been able to confirm it – this next step is about working with partners to find the solution.” Lillian Ekelan, head of Solihull Chamber, said:

“With the vast amount of new infrastructure due to be build and developed in the Hub area it’s not a huge surprise the UGC has identified this potential energy shortfall. “The great thing about having the UGC in

place to coordinate growth and facilitate infrastructure investment in the Hub area is that they are able to identify potential problems like this and find solutions well in advance.”

Asha’s expands into Solihull

One of the world’s best known Indian restaurants is to open in Touchwood shopping centre in Solihull. Asha’s, the international multi award-winning

restaurant, will be opening in Touchwood, Solihull, in the Spring. The restaurant chain is named after one of

India’s most famous singers and actors, Asha Bhosle. Its association with global superstars does not end there, with Asha’s in Birmingham being a regular hangout for global stars including Ed Sheeran, Priyanka Chopra, Heston Blumenthal, Amitabh Bachchan - and rock and roll veterans Rolling Stones recently dined there to celebrate Ronnie Wood’s birthday. It will be Asha’s second venue in the Midlands,

the other being in Birmingham city centre. Other Asha’s venues include Manchester, Dubai, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain. Pawan Kenth, a director of Asha’s, said: “We

have been looking for a location in Solihull and South Birmingham for a while. “When we were approached by Touchwood to

open in the centre, we believed our independent offering would be a great addition to the centre and the wider area.”

The new Asha’s will be on the upper terrace

next door to Nando’s, and will offer a bespoke bar and dining for approximately 120. *As well as Asha’s, Touchwood will also be

home to the UK’s first gourmet Jamaican jerk chicken restaurant, Jamaya, which is due to open this month. The restaurant will serve charcoal grilled jerk and gourmet Jamaican fried chicken.

Asha Bhosle with Boy George

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