Mark Garnier MP today (Friday 17 February) joined partners to officially open Hoobrook Link Road in Kidderminster, describing it as vital for the Wyre Forest area.
The new £16m link road opened to the public on 19 September 2016. It provides an essential link to the strategic highway network from the A451 Stourport Road through to the A442 Worcester Road.
As well as reducing congestion and journey times, the scheme provides increased capacity and improved journey time reliability around Kidderminster town centre and on the ring road.
It has also enabled improved access to neighbouring employment and housing land, with the creation of around 258 new jobs and construction of 20,829sq.m of commercial floor space anticipated as a result.
The scheme includes the construction of a bridge across the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal and River Stour. The bridge was designed to be sympathetic to the visual setting of the canal corridor, which is a designated conservation area.
After unveiling a plaque to mark the official opening, Mark Garnier MP said: "I'm delighted to formally open Hoobrook Link Road today and celebrate its success with those who funded and delivered the scheme. As MP for the Wyre Forest area, championing the cause of the local economy and business is very important to me. The new road provides the opportunity for both to flourish."
The road is one of a number of strategic transport network improvement schemes being delivered by Worcestershire County Council, including the dualling of the A4440 Southern Link Road in Worcester and the construction of the new Worcestershire Parkway Regional Interchange Station at Norton.
Cllr Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills & Infrastructure, said: "This is just one of a number of schemes the County Council is delivering to improve Worcestershire's transport network. Hoobrook Link Road provides new infrastructure and connectivity in the local area. As a result, this will reduce traffic congestion and improve journey times in the immediate vicinity, as well as offering increased capacity in the town centre and on the ring road. The road has also opened up access to surrounding employment and housing land, making it more attractive for inward investment and enhancing the economic potential of the wider Wyre Forest area."
The £16m scheme has received funding from several sources, including the Department for Transport, the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership through the Worcestershire Growth Deal, the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and Worcestershire County Council.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “It’s great to see the Hoobrook Link Road open and our £5 million investment cutting congestion, improving journeys, creating jobs and boosting the local economy.”
Hoobrook Link Road is situated within the South Kidderminster Enterprise Park, which is one of the County’s four key employment sites also known as ‘game changer sites’.
Construction of the new road has improved accessibility to this park and the surrounding areas. It will also facilitate the regeneration of the existing Hoobrook Industrial Estate and unlock the development potential of Phase Two of the former British Sugar site.
Simon Marks, Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership Board Director, said: “We are delighted to have contributed £4.8 million of Local Growth Funding to complete the new Hoobrook Link Road, connecting Stourport Road to Kidderminster Road on the South Kidderminster Enterprise Park. This is a great example of how we have worked with our neighbouring LEP in Worcestershire to grow the local economy. A major focus for the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP is improving connectivity and to this end we are investing over £300 million of Local Growth Funding to improving transport infrastructure within the GBSLEP. The new road will ease congestion around the town and unlock further development opportunities in the area.”
Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We have invested £3.6m of Government’s Growth Deal into the construction of Hoobrook Link Road. By improving the capacity of our roads, we are reducing congestion and providing our businesses with the transport infrastructure required for continued growth. The Link Road is also great news for the local economy as the creation of jobs and access to commercial land space will have a hugely positive impact on the nearby area.”
Worcestershire County Council's Planning and Regulatory Committee approved plans for Phase Two of the Hoobrook Link Road development in February 2014. The scheme was developed in consultation with Wyre Forest District Council and work began in May 2015.
Ian Hardiman Wyre Forest District Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration said: “We are very proud of this new link road which is already making a positive impact on traffic movement around the town and creating access for further development at Silverwoods. The official opening of the Hoobrook Link Road marks the realisation of a vision set out in our ReWyre prospectus back in September 2009. Since then, working with partners, we have made enormous strides in the regeneration of Kidderminster focusing on the four key ReWyre themes of transport, jobs, homes and communities, design and environmental quality. Residents and business owners can be assured that we will continue our drive to make Wyre Forest a great place to live, work and visit.”