Avanti West Coast icon Avanti West Coast
Shamit speaking at Connections for Prosperity

WCPD Managing Director highlights steps to unlocking social mobility across the West Midlands.

Shamit Gaiger explained the importance of delivering growth to regions from well-planned placemaking.

  • Shamit Gaiger explains importance of well-planned placemaking
  • Panel discussion around unlocking social mobility
  • Coventry Station masterplan highlighted an example of successful collaboration

West Coast Partnership Development’s (WCPD) Managing Director has highlighted the necessary steps to unlocking social mobility and supporting regional growth across the West Midlands through key infrastructure.

Speaking as part of a panel discussion at the Centre for the New Midlands’ ‘Connections for Prosperity’ conference, Shamit Gaiger explained the importance of delivering growth to regions from well-planned placemaking - the planning, design and management of public spaces.

On the panel, she was joined by Dame Stella Manzie from University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, Dr Fiona Aldridge, Head of Insight and Intelligence for West Midlands Combined Authority, Mark Andrews, Head of Planning, Design and Engagement for Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, and Robert Franks, Managing Director for WM5G (West Midlands 5G).

Shamit highlighted that for placemaking to be a success, public space designs need to reflect the needs of future generations and used the Coventry Station Masterplan project as an example of an effective delivery. Last year, work was completed on an £82million upgrade of the station with numerous improvements for customers including a multi-storey car park, new footbridge, and new-look entrance.  

She praised the collaboration between local authorities and rail partners to make a difference for Coventry through the station, with the potential for future growth through the provision of a new transport hub.

The panel agreed that placemaking from the outset requires an integrated approach amongst partners, together with local engagement, as well as considering the environmental opportunities for green infrastructure.  There were also discussions around the simplification of transport, the importance of digital infrastructure to drive regional growth and how more people can be encouraged into employment within the panel member’s respective industries.

Speaking after the event Shamit said: “Transport, in particular new high-speed rail, can support regional growth through placemaking, improved connectivity, released capacity on more local lines and increasing employment opportunities.

“We can’t achieve success working in silos, and we need an integrated vision for placemaking which will appeal to third party investment – as that is a key part to making growth and regeneration a success.”


Notes to editors

About West Coast Partnership Development

West Coast Partnership Development (WCPD) is designing and mobilising new high-speed services for the UK. These services will run on the new High Speed 2 (HS2) route and the existing railway, delivering quicker journeys and more capacity between London and Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Cumbria and Scotland.

Its goal is to maximise the benefits of the significant investment from the Department for Transport into the new High Speed 2 (HS2) railway, as well as the upgrades to the railway on the West Coast Mainline.