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Metro plans backed as part of Chancellor’s mini budget

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Plans to extend the Midland Metro to Brierley Hill have been given a massive boost as the government signalled its intention to “accelerate” the £449million scheme.

Documents have been shared by the government as part of Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng MP’s mini budget on Friday.

Detail is expected in the coming weeks but a report released by the government as part of the announcement show a commitment to the scheme.

The Growth Plan document talks about the government’s “intent to support where possible in acceleration” of the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro route.

Work is already gathering pace to extend the line to Dudley and Brierley Hill as part of a £1billion regeneration masterplan for the borough.

Council bosses welcomed the news today as a major boost not only for Dudley but for the region’s connectivity.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said:

Dudley has been blazing a trail for some time when it comes to regenerating the region. We have very big and bold ambitions for the borough and clearly our view is shared nationally. As a region tremendous confidence has been shown in the West Midlands and the Black Country with this funding and we are delighted that Dudley is at the centre of this investment.

Councillor Simon Phipps, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, added:

The Chancellor’s announcement is fantastic news for the borough and shows the confidence at a national level in this important scheme. Work on the Metro extension is already progressing well. This announcement means the project can be accelerated in confidence that it is recognised at the highest level. We are very much looking forward to progressing phase two of the project and connecting to Brierley Hill.

The Chancellor’s announcement was part of a raft of proposals for the Black Country including creating investment zones to provide lower taxes for businesses in the areas, accelerate development such as housing and more local funding.

There are a number of landmark projects planned or already underway in Dudley including a new university campus in Castle Hill, a very light rail innovation centre and the transport interchange in Dudley.

Metro is expected to be open to the public by 2024.

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