01 January 2018
A number of major transport schemes that will transform road and rail travel in Coventry are set to be agreed by councillors next month.
The ‘Connecting Coventry’ programme aims to improve transport links so the city can attract more investment and jobs, improve the quality of life for all those who live and work in the city – and make sure it is ready for its role as UK City of Culture in 2021.
The plans were first discussed a year ago and now councillors will meet on Tuesday to hear an update and agree the next steps.
The four main parts of the plan are:
Major road and rail proposals, especially around Jaguar Land Rover and the University of Warwick and to connect to HS2 and UK Central
A major increase in capacity at Coventry Railway Station, and road improvements around the area to support Friargate and city centre attractions
Road improvements to the north-west of the city and at the A444 and M6 Junction 3
Very Light Rail – investment in the research, development and introduction of a Very Light Rail system.
Councillors will hear that funding for the schemes is available from a number of sources, including the West Midlands Combined Authority; the Department for Transport; and private developers.
So far, a total of £141m has been secured, with more bids awaiting approval.
A report says investment and action is needed now to make sure the city can cope with challenges in the years ahead – including more people living and visiting the city.
Cllr Jim O’Boyle cabinet member for jobs and regeneration said, “We are at the heart of the nation’s transport network – just an hour from London – and we need to make sure those transport links are strong and fit for the future so they can help our city to grow and attract the jobs and investment we need.
“Coventry is changing and developing all, the time and there have been some improvements in recent years, with more on the way. These improvements will also support residents and people who work in the city
“Being named UK City of Culture 2021 also gives us a wonderful opportunity to boost growth for the city and the region, so we need to make sure we get all the funding available to help the residents of our city and all those who want to visit and invest here.”
To showcase the city’s role as a world-leader in innovation and technology, councillors also aim to bring forward the first section of a Very Light Rail project – similar to a tram system - to be in place for the start of 2021.
Cllr O’Boyle added, “It is so important that we have these improvements in place ready to welcome the thousands of visitors who will come to the city for our year as City of Culture.
“There are great plans in place for the year and we want to put on a show the rest of the country won’t forget. That has to involve making it easy and enjoyable to get around the city and visit our many attractions. Very Light Rail is a really good example of Coventry innovations once again in the transport sector and with a fair wind and all the processes going our way we hope we can have a small section up and running for 2021.”
More information on the Connecting Coventry programme can be found on our website.
Projects will be funded from a range of sources including grant from WMCA Devolution Deal and the Government’s Local Growth Fund through Coventry & Warwickshire LEP.