The West Midlands Interchange (WMI) is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project - the largest rail-served logistics development in the UK delivered by the joint venture (JV) between Logistics Capital Partners (LCP) and Oxford Properties (OP).
In this year’s Autumn Statement Jeremy Hunt articulated the Government’s commitment to nurturing the long-term growth of the UK economy, emphasizing the key role of the booming private sector. WMI is a perfect example and with an investment value of c. €1.2b, and GDV of over €1.7b, it has the potential to fuel growth both in the Midlands and nationally.
The WMI, which will comprise of 743,224m2 (8 million sq feet) of logistics space, across 297ha (734 acres) in South Staffordshire, is expected to generate c. €503.m of local economic activity every year, with c. €1b of growth nationwide coming through the supply chain, further aligning with the growth plan announced by Jeremy Hunt in the Autumn statement.
The 734-acre site near Birmingham was acquired by the JV in February 2021. Phase one works, comprising new road infrastructure and works to the existing road and public rights of way network, reconfiguration and undergrounding of energy infrastructure, and the earthworks required to create development plots and landscape zones are delivered by Winvic Construction Ltd. Significant infrastructure works including earthworks, highway construction, water installation and the creation of two new country parks have already commenced. The first plots will be available for vertical builds from the first half of next year, with the site able to accommodate new warehouses ranging in size from 18,580m2 to over 92,903m2 and building heights of up to 30m.
The project will create a new Strategic Rail Freight Interchange, which will provide intermodal access for occupiers. This gives the site a significant competitive advantage, with rail transport a cheaper and more environmentally sustainable option while also reducing congestion on the roads. The West Coast Main Line is already one of the most important freight routes in the UK, used by 90% of all intermodal trains, and its capacity is likely to be transformed by High Speed 2, the next phase of the UK’s high-speed rail network linking London with the North, currently due to open between London and Birmingham in 2026.
LCP and OP will also be supporting both local and national employment through the creation of 8,100 direct and induced jobs, supporting this is the establishment of the ‘WMI Employment Partnership’ that works with local stakeholders to maximise local employment opportunities and supports the communities surrounding the project.
In line with the UK Government’s ongoing request that businesses and industry pursue growth alongside environmental and climate commitments, the JV is exploring the options for the warehouse roofs to provide 100MW of energy to the site, with 150 acres of roof space being PV ready. With long-term sustainability in mind, the WMI is also working towards achieving a BREEAM Excellent energy rating, as the company set its sights on high environmental standards, to prove just how far it is possible to go.
WMI aims to be at the forefront of promoting innovation and clean growth by removing HGVs from UK roads and replacing them with rail. The WMI project aims to remove over 50 million km of HGV travel from the national road network by using freight trains. Each freight train can replace up to 77 HGVs on the road. This approach produces 70% less carbon dioxide, up to 15 times lower nitrogen oxide emissions, and nearly 90% lower particulate emissions than road freight.
Overall, WMI’s strategic vision is aligned with the vision and commitment of a growing economy, focusing on jobs and private sector investment, that the Chancellor announced in the Autumn statement. As is laid out in the Government’s policy paper, ‘Getting Great Britain building again: Speeding up infrastructure delivery’, which was released alongside the Autumn Statement, the Government sees the importance of finding ways to promote growth and the proliferation of key infrastructure, while also being aware and adjusting for the climate and environmental realities of the day. At its core, the mission of West Midlands Interchange is to achieve Net-Zero targets and drive innovation and economic growth.
Phase 1 Construction Contractors: Winvic Construction Ltd,
Managed by: Oxford Properties, Logistic Capital Partners
Start of Construction: October 2023
Expected Completion: 2034
- Strategic Rail Freight Interchange
- 743,224m2 (8 million sq feet) of Prime Logistics Facilities
Address: Junction 12, M6 Motorway, Birmingham, West Midlands, Great Britain
Image provided by Copper Consultancy.