Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Andy Street paid a visit to Halesowen & Rowley Regis today, as James and Halesowen BID showed him a range of projects enhancing the time, before a visit to Sandvik Coromant on Manor Way.
The visit began at Rowley Regis Station, which has benefitted from a £50,000 Customer & Community Investment Fund (CCIF) to enhance the station and improve directions and way-finding towards Halesowen.
After meeting with local volunteers who have helped to make the station tidier, Andy then visited Halesowen town centre to check out the new development of Somers Square with its news offices for Halesowen BID and brightly painted benches, as well as the new Friendly Bench at the top of the High Street which helps to promote dementia and autism awareness. He also visited the new development of 30 rental properties by Ruskin Properties on the former site of Halesowen Magistrates Court.
The Mayor then concluded his visit to the constituency as he and James visited Sandvik Coromant, which has recently benefitted from a £5million investment from the WMCA. The funding has safeguarded 130 jobs and will create 50 new ones, as the company moves from its current offices and warehouse space into a new high-tech innovation hub. The vacant land will then become a site for housing, subject to planning permission.
"Andy is a big supporter of regeneration and supporting our high streets, so it was great to host him in Halesowen & Rowley Regis and to show him the work that Halesowen BID have put in, both to improve awareness of the town at Rowley Regis Station and the projects within the town that have enhanced it", said James. "So many people work hard, including many voluntarily, to keep our town in good condition, and I know Andy was really impressed with what he saw.
"I also enjoyed our visit to Sandvik Coromant, and it was exciting to hear of their proposals for a new site which will be a high-tech facility that also frees up brownfield space for new housing, and therefore protects the green belt space on the other side of Manor Way. This company has been part of the business landscape in Halesowen for many years, and I’m pleased that they will continue to do business here."
Vicky Rogers, Manager of Halesowen BID said, “It was wonderful to have the opportunity to show Andy Street how Halesowen is bouncing back. Not only are we involved in large scale projects to put Halesowen on the rail map and increase footfall into the town centre, but we are also working closely with our local business that are investing in the town and developing brownfield sites.
“Halesowen is continuing to attract new businesses, even having suffered the impacts of the pandemic. Independent business continue to grow with the likes of Starkey Electrical now launching a sister company StarkEv as they enter the green world of electric charging points, and boutique fashion stores extending out to Halesowen from Birmingham. Local businesses are also keen to support the Kick-start project and take on apprenticeship schemes to help young people into work. Both James and Andy have shown Halesowen BID a huge amount of support that we are so grateful for.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, added “I was delighted to visit Halesowen & Rowley Regis on Friday, and to see many of the local projects aimed at increasing footfall and making Halesowen a better place for leisure, shopping, and working. I know Halesowen BID have been working really hard over the last few years, and as we bounce back from the pandemic it’s even more crucial that we get shoppers and visitors back into our town centres again.
“To do that requires good, clean, public transport links, and it was brilliant to see the CCIF project at Rowley Regis Station which is helping to give Halesowen a presence on the rail network again. I want to thank the local volunteers who have come together to tidy the station and give it a new lease of life.”