All the latest news, advice and events for the Solihull business community

Contact: Samantha Frampton T: 0121 678 7488

Building starts at Interchange station

Work is progressing on Solihull’s new HS2 Interchange station, government-owned HS2 Ltd has revealed. The company said that preparatory work

was almost complete and major structures were now being built at the site, which covers some 150 hectares within a triangle of land bounded by the M42, A45 and A452. Current work includes construction of

various bridges over the M42 and A446, and reworking the road network in the area to improve access to the new station and Birmingham Business Park. A 200-strong workforce is busy on the

site, which is being managed by HS2’s ‘early works’ contractor LM, a joint venture between Laing O’Rourke and Murphy. The station will be surrounded by various

major regeneration projects around the site, which will support an estimated 70,000 jobs, and see the development of 5,000 new homes and 650,000 sq m of commercial space. An automated people mover will link to

the NEC, Birmingham International Station and Birmingham Airport, carrying up to 2,100 passengers per hour in each direction along a one and a half mile route. LM project director Simon Russell said:

“Much of our early works programme has now been completed on the site by the LM team, including habitat creation, archaeological investigations, site clearance, and utilities diversions. “We are now pressing ahead with the

project’s first permanent works near the A452, A45 and M42, including a bridge over the M42. “Our modular bridge construction

strategy showcases innovative British infrastructure engineering at its best – major components manufactured offsite and assembled onsite, where they’re needed – ensuring quality, efficiency, and hugely reducing local impacts.” The focus at Interchange is on

sustainability, during both construction and operation. The site is using solar panels to generate power for the site offices, and at least 90 per cent of construction waste, demolition waste and excavated material is being reused. The new station will be net zero carbon

in operation, and will feature an eco- friendly design and sustainable technologies including rainwater harvesting and sustainable power generation with more than 2,000 square metres of solar panels. It has been designed to focus on open

space and landscaping, with new tree planting and a landscaped pond to encourage biodiversity.

50 CHAMBERLINK April 2020

Left: Debbie Roscoe, Robert Elliot and Arrive Alive community first responders Terry Flower and Paul Barrett. Right: Sam Frampton (Solihull Chamber), Chamber chief executive Paul Faulkner and Robert Elliot

Chamber president to focus on green issues

Words & pictures by Jessica Brookes

Solihull Chamber of Commerce president Robert Elliot is to put green issues under the spotlight during the second year of his presidency. Mr Elliot announced that the Chamber will be

setting up its own ‘EcoPledge’ initiative, in front of more than 40 business people who attended the organisation’s annual general meeting at Solihull Moors Football Club. The EcoPledge is a campaign that urges

businesses to make just one change to their practices, in a drive to cut down emissions and bolster sustainability practices. This follows the success of Sutton Coldfield

Chamber of Commerce’s EcoPledge, launched by its president Katie Hale last year. Mr Elliot said: “Solihull is going to continue the

great work of Sutton Coldfield with our own Eco Pledge, changing our habits and practices to create a greener Solihull. “The changes could be small, they could be

massive but they will also match those of the council and look at the economy, energy, buildings, efficiency, transport, the natural environment and education” Mr Elliot also pledged to continue his

commitment to getting local business to engage more with students and educational organisations in the region. He said: “We will continue to support the Careers Hub in Solihull, the Careers and Enterprise Company and schools and colleges right across our borough. “An example of how we can do that is the work

that we did during Hospitality Week. I found 14 businesses and organisations prepared to help with assemblies and school visits to businesses. “Now the Careers Hub are matching schools to

businesses. What did we do? We connected and we supported. What are they going to do? They are going to create meaningful experiences to achieve Ofsted and Gatsby recognition.” Mr Elliot also welcomed Stuart Watson,

director at Leap IT, to the Chamber council committee as his third vice-president. He joins

Mick Westman, Stuart Watson, Robert Elliot and Tony Elvin

existing vice-presidents Tony Elvin, of Touchwood, and Mick Westman, of Digital INno8ators, who was re-elected to complete a second two-year term as vice-president. Mr Watson, who has a career in information

technology spanning 25 years, founded his firm in 2001. Leap IT has worked with more than 200 organisations helping to transform their IT systems. Alongside Mr Watson, several other local

business leaders joined the Chamber’s council. Stephen Rome, of Thursfields Solicitors, Andy

Cole, of the NEC, and Amanda Holden, of Wilkes Partnership, joined as executive members. Simon Hatton, of Rolls Royce Control Systems, Rob Kenyon, of Eastcote Wealth Management, and Emma-Louise Hewitt, of Sydney Mitchell Solicitors, were co-opted onto the committee. Arrive Alive was also confirmed by Mr Elliot as

the Chamber’s chosen charity of the year. The charity funds vital lifesaving vehicles and equipment for community first responders (CFRs) who attend life-threatening medical emergencies. CFRs are medically-trained volunteers who can attend a 999 medical emergency in those vital minutes and seconds prior to a road or air ambulance. Arrive Alive has launched and funded three

lifesaving vehicles within Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country, as well as introducing various items of medical equipment.

• See Robert Eliot’s President’s Focus on page 12

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