With over 300,000 residents Sandwell is in the historic Black Country and a key location at the heart of the West Midlands. The borough is bordered by Birmingham, Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton. We have six towns – Oldbury, Rowley Regis, Smethwick, Tipton, Wednesbury and West Bromwich – all play a vital role as part of a borough wide strategy. Extensive background information is available at the Discover Sandwell (lifestyle) and Think Sandwell (inward investment) websites.
Rapid population growth means we are a major town within the West Midlands, and the largest in the Black Country. Firmly in the industrial heartland of the UK, the borough also has 1,200 hectares of parks, playing fields and local green space, and over 30 miles of canals. A thriving and expanding business sector includes around 9,000 exciting and dynamic companies, employing over 140,000 people. There’s diversity, a sense of community, partnership and opportunities to work collaboratively to deliver a strong, sustainable and inclusive growth strategy for Sandwell.
We are strategically located within the national transport network. Just over 22 miles from Birmingham Airport, and with major rail connections through both local stations and Birmingham New Street, our accessibility is enhanced by extensive local transport. Moreover, excellent road links via the M5 and M6 motorways mean that Sandwell is within two hours’ drive of 90% of the population of England and Wales.
Our recent Peer Review identified a number of strengths within the Council, including a huge sense of civic pride, with Council officers and members dedicated to the development and well being of the borough, our Vision 2030 was commended alongside our clear place strategy and financial management. Our longer-term ambitions for Sandwell are captured in Vision 2030, about which you can read more here. We believe our shared ambitions will help to shape community life in Sandwell for the next decade and beyond.
Across the borough, major regeneration of the urban environment is taking place for residents and businesses, making it an exciting place to live, work and explore. Alongside New Square shopping centre, Sandwell College’s new campus, the Jewellery Line, and housing development sites at Urban 180 and Eastern Gateway, Sandwell is also investing in new state-of-the-art leisure facilities, which will provide cutting-edge health and wellbeing opportunities. Sandwell is also part of the West Midlands Combined Authority.
We will support regeneration and growth across the borough, ensuring that Sandwell plays a full part in the broader Black Country and West Midlands to deliver its economic potential. We are developing a revitalised plan which will strategically reposition the future inclusive growth of the borough, building on the current major investments including strategic transport developments in road and rail with our Metrolink Extension to Dudley Port and Birchley Island road network improvements. We are ensuring that our communities have high-quality housing through an extensive council build programme and innovative planning policy, we are developing broader infrastructure that will continue to support existing communities and new residents and visitors.
This scale of our ambition and position within the broader region is clear with the forthcoming Sandwell Aquatics Centre – the only new build facility planned for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and one which will bring world-class competitive swimming facilities to Smethwick and provide a lasting legacy to the wider region with a £60m investment in the facility alone.
We’re ambitious in our plans for Sandwell’s housing service. Following the successful delivery of its contract by our ALMO, Sandwell Homes, the council made the positive choice to bring the service back in-house in 2013. With high satisfaction levels and the ability to operate at significant scale, that decision’s been vindicated many times over. With around 28,000 homes under management, we’re one of the largest landlords in the West Midlands.
A ten-year programme of investment – including refurbishment, improvement and new build – commenced in 2017, and will deliver a net increase of 600 new homes over the period. Our footprint and reach across the borough also enables us to play a significant role in a range of factors underpinning our 2030 Vision, including welfare reform, healthy lifestyles, modern slavery and exploitation, and community safety. We’re exceptionally well-positioned to contribute on a local basis, through the Town Plans being co-created with residents in each of Sandwell’s six towns.