Agenda item

Programme Update from HS2 Ltd

To receive a programme update from HS2 Ltd.


Local Businesses and Jobs

The following information was provided by the Senior Business Engagement Manager:

  • They would identify opportunities for businesses within local areas to get involved with the HS2 project and to build links with these businesses. There were already 33 businesses in Solihull involved in the HS2 project.
  • Tier one contractors for BBV were mostly in place, which would now mean that SME’s would be more likely to be involved in the process. Businesses could get involved through high and low complexity methods, from framework contracts through to regular purchase orders. Also, as they would have a significant workforce, there will be a need for these staff to be able to access facilities and outlets.
  • Over the course of 2021 there would be a number of engagement events with local businesses. They would then use their knowledge of local businesses to support them into contract opportunities.
  • HS2 Ltd had launched its Job Brokerage model which aimed to create around 22,000 jobs throughout the supply chain. It would provide a central point for all of the jobs available for HS2. Partners involved with the scheme included local employment support organisations who met HS2 Ltd criteria, such as Solihull Council. These partners sit on a regional steering group, which involved HS2 Ltd representatives and contractors to discuss specific vacancies.


The Head of Stakeholder Engagement also advised Members that a materials testing laboratory would be set up on Coleshill Heath Road with a number of new recruits, which included 3 apprentices from Solihull. There were also supply chain frameworks which had gone out and targeted SMEs in civil engineering and ecological and vegetation.


Members made comments and asked the following questions:

  • A Member asked whether support would be given to businesses during the procurement process, as many would typically not have had experience working with businesses similar to HS2. The Senior Business Engagement Manager explained that they recognised this challenge and were keen to support businesses, as it was a mechanism to restart the economy and encourage innovation.
  • A Member queried whether the scheme was in place to encourage candidates who faced increased challenges, or to encourage as broad a range of people to apply for HS2 related jobs. The Senior Business Engagement Manager responded that they aimed to positively impact on equality, diversity and inclusion, which often did not happen in the construction industry.
  • A Member questioned whether two years would be long enough to train an apprentice. The Senior Business Engagement Manager stated that apprentices would tend to stay within the businesses at the culmination of their programme but would get further information.


Archaeology Update

The Community Engagement Lead for LM provided an update on the archaeological work that had taken place since the last meeting. A number of virtual engagement events had taken place, which over 2000 people had engaged with. The events included an event to consider the restart of the young archaeologists club. LM remained in contact with the Core in Solihull about potential future collaboration.


Kenilworth Greenway Update

The Community Engagement Manager for LM gave an overview of the status of the temporary Greenway. This included:

  • The construction of the temporary Greenway was not finished. Work was still required before it could be brought into use. Minor problems in relation to the surface of the Greenway and drainage were resolved or in the process of being resolved. Stakeholders would continue to be kept informed of the progress.
  • The design and implementation of the temporary Greenway had been limited by health and safety requirements, the available land standard programme, environment and ecology requirements as well as the site conditions. It was built according to the approved design.
  • Conversations had taken place with stakeholders to support community projects along the temporary Greenway.
  • The clearance along the Kenilworth Greenway was almost complete, and LM was in the process of handing it over to BBV.


Interchange Area Update

The Engagement Manager for the Interchange Area (LM) provided the following information about the latest works in the Interchange Area:

  • Since the last meeting, there had been a number of activities which had taken place to support organisations within the Borough, such as surplus site equipment had been provided to Tile Cross Academy to help with their vegetable patch.
  • Most of LM’s construction work related to the highways bridges installed in 2020 in the Interchange Area. These were almost complete, with snagging work or final steps in the process of being completed. There had been several weekend closures to support the highways development programme and connect sections of the remodelled and improved road network to the existing network. These closures had been completed earlier than planned and the networks reopened ahead of schedule. LM have sought to maximise opportunities to close roads while traffic movements remain low in the area to minimise disruption.
  • LM were in the process of asset and land handover to BBV over the course of 2021, and traffic measures would continue to be carried out on and around Northway Island to further remodel and improve the road network in this area. A number of steps were to be taken to minimise disruption during this process, which included gathering and acting on feedback, engagement events and communications and phasing traffic measures.


Main Works Update

The Head of Stakeholder Engagement provided the Board with the following update:

  • There had been a lot of work which had taken place in the Burton Green area. This included trial holes on Waste Lane, a satellite compound off Waste Lane and a compound on Cromwell Lane.
  • On Hallmeadow Road there had been two applications submitted to address the transport haul route which would pass through Balsall Common. This change would mean that the construction traffic would impact fewer residents than the original route detailed in the HS2 Act. The new proposals would still consider how to protect local properties from noise and to minimise the visual impact.
  • There would be earthworks which would take place from Park Lane to the A45, as the drainage would need to be in place before the temporary and main compound works were in place. Alongside this, access points were being created to help to stockpile aggregates and materials on the A45.
  • Traffic management would be in place on Meriden Road to allow survey work to take place. The notifications for this had taken place, and would lead to five days of potential disruption.
  • A Construction compound had been created on Park Lane, and it was ready to be occupied. This would mean a significant presence at the site in the future.
  • There would be Key Design Elements to be agree for the Balsall Common Viaduct in the summer and afterwards at the River Blythe Viaduct.
  • The final details were to be confirmed for the A45 and Bickenhill HWRC, in relation to service roads. These would require consent.


A Member asked how BBV could mitigate their impact on local areas affected by construction and how they could be a good neighbour. The Head of Stakeholder Engagement explained that they would maintain strong dialogue between the engagement teams, construction teams and the local community. The operating practices would be followed and would be sensitive to local needs and concerns. As construction continued, they would learn to find out which practices worked and respond to any problems raised.

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