Agenda item

West Midlands Investment Zone

From the Cabinet, 12 March, 2024


Further to Minute 91 of the Cabinet, the City Council considered a report of the Director of Regeneration and Economy, which indicated that the UK Government had invited the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to prepare a proposal for a West Midlands Investment Zone (WMIZ). The sectoral focus for WMIZ will be advanced manufacturing, which the report indicated was an excellent fit with the One Coventry Plan ambition to increase the economic prosperity of the city and region. A total of £160m in funding is available for WMIZ over a ten-year period, and this would be used for tax incentives for investors in WMIZ sites, capital funding to prepare these sites for development, and revenue schemes designed to develop the target sector. The WMIZ proposals would also allow business rates growth on designated sites to be retained locally for 25 years for reinvestment in the development of the Advanced Manufacturing Sector. Business rates would be retained above existing levels on a “no detriment” basis such that no Local Authority would be worse off through its involvement in the WMIZ.


The WMIZ included sites in Coventry/Warwick, Birmingham and Wolverhampton. There are four sites in Coventry and Warwick District; Whitley East in Coventry and Whitley South, Coventry Airport and Segro Park in Warwick District. Whitley East had been allocated as an employment site in the Coventry Local Plan. The WMIZ £160m budget includes an initial £23m for infrastructure works to prepare the Coventry Airport site for development, and this report sought approval to accept that funding together with any additional funding that became available from the IZ budget up to a total value of £35m. The report also sought delegated approval to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding for business rates retention related to the Whitley East site.


Governance decisions for WMIZ would be taken by a WMIZ Joint Committee/ Board which Coventry City Council, Warwick District and Warwickshire County Council will all be represented on. West Midlands Universities including Coventry University and University of Warwick were also non-voting members of this group. A Coventry and Warwickshire Investment Zone office group would meet to ensure that consistent briefings are provided to Coventry and Warwickshire members of the WMIZ Joint Committee / Board.


RESOLVED that the City Council:


1)  Approves acceptance of up to £35m in West Midlands Investment Zone (WMIZ) funding, noting that initially £23m will be available for infrastructure provision on the Coventry Airport site (subject to the conditions of the grant being satisfactory).


2)  Delegates authority to the Director of Regeneration and Economy, following consultation with the Director of Finance and Resources, the Director of Law and Governance, and Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change, to:


a)  Undertake all necessary due diligence in relation to acceptance of the WMIZ funding allocation.


b)  Continue to negotiate on all the matters associated with this report and to take such action as is deemed necessary, incidental or ancillary to or in consequence of bringing into effect the recommendations contained in this report, including but not limited to entering into any associated legal agreements (including the authority to effect any lease variations/surrender and any associated documents if appropriate) that are necessary to deliver the West Midlands Investment Zone.


3)  Authorises the addition to the 5 Year Capital and/or Revenue Programme (as appropriate) of any West Midlands Investment Zone funding received by the Council up to a maximum of £35m.

Supporting documents: