NEC Group launches Masterplan for the NEC Campus

10 November 2021 Ross Watson


The NEC Group today launched the new NEC Masterplan for the NEC Campus, the site currently home to the UK’s largest exhibition venue - the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), the Vox Conference Venue, Resorts World Arena, Resorts World Birmingham, The Bear Grylls Adventure and a number of hotels.

The redevelopment plan will transform over 27 hectares of surface level car parking and surplus land, to create new residential, office, leisure and community spaces. Overall, the plans are set to create:

  • 5,000 new homes
  • An estimated 3,500 new local jobs
  • 35,000m2 of new commercial space
  • 14,000m2 of new outdoor event space
  • A new hotel
  • New restaurants and cafes
  • New primary school
  • A greener and more sustainable environment on the NEC Campus
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The new 5,000 homes will form a new urban village located in the north of the site, and are set to establish an inclusive, diverse and prosperous community for over 11,000 people. The village will include a mix of homes and include a range of new services and amenities such as a primary school, mobility hub, and a local centre with shops, cafes and community space.

As one of the nation’s largest brownfield residential development opportunities, the site will make a major contribution to meeting housing needs.

Living and working in harmony with the existing mature woodland and hedgerow landscape, the urban village will promote nature focused and active lifestyles. The ability to integrate the Bickenhill Plantation with the urban village will bring significant benefits through community access and environmental and ecological enhancements.

In addition to the urban village will be a new grand plaza and urban boulevard designed to further enhance the vibrancy and attractiveness of the NEC Campus.

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The new grand plaza will redefine the area surrounding the NEC’s Atrium halls, enhancing the NEC visitor and organiser experience with a dynamic outdoor event space, cafes and restaurants plus a new hotel. Based on the space utilised, the development will create an estimated 3,500 jobs.

Connecting the site with Arden Cross and the High Speed 2 Interchange, the urban boulevard will extend an inspirational pedestrian focused public realm from the NEC Piazza to a new bridge link over the M42. The urban boulevard will host a series of commercial buildings with ground floor retail and leisure space.

Central to the plans for the site will be sustainable development principles promoting positive social, economic and environmental outcomes from future development. Site specific sustainability interventions will support climate change and clean air initiatives.

Located within the UK Central Solihull Hub Area, the NEC Campus is part of one of the most dynamic and fast-growing labour markets in the UK, with notable sectors including automotive manufacturing, business and professional services, and leisure and entertainment.

With access to road, rail and air travel, the area has exceptional local, national and international connectivity. This will be further enhanced by the arrival of High Speed 2 (HS2), with a new Interchange Station being built at Arden Cross adjacent to the NEC Campus.

Future development at the NEC Campus can seize these locational benefits and the growth impact that will arise from HS2 and other planned investment in the area.

The NEC is owned by The Blackstone Group, one of the world’s leading investment firms.

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Leader of Birmingham City Council, Councillor Ian Ward, which owns the land the NEC Campus is situated on, added: “This is an exciting moment for Birmingham and the wider West Midlands, as this transformational Masterplan is published. Birmingham is attracting record levels of investment, and the NEC Masterplan is testament to that.

“Over the coming years this project will provide much-needed new homes and high-quality jobs for people from our region and I encourage people to make their thoughts known through the public consultation.

“I believe that we are at the beginning of a Golden Decade for Birmingham, with the Commonwealth Games taking place next year, and the arrival of HS2. The NEC Masterplan will connect the site with Arden Cross and the High Speed 2 Interchange, which together will transform this area, creating thousands of jobs and build thousands of homes.”

Lionel Assant, European Head of Private Equity at Blackstone, said: “This is brilliant news for the West Midlands. We are proud of our partnership with the NEC Group, and today’s announcement shows the positive impact this business has for local job creation and urban regeneration.”

Leader of Solihull Council, Councillor Ian Courts, said: “The Masterplan unveiled today sets out a bold and ambitious vision for the future of the NEC Campus in Solihull.

“By utilising brownfield land the plans provide additional housing to meet the growing local demand without sacrificing our precious greenbelt. The proposed developments will not only bring much needed new homes but will see thousands of new jobs created, and further enhance the already unmatched overall destination offer found here.

“Located at the heart of the UK Central Solihull Hub Area, the NEC is already one of the best-connected sites in Europe. This ambitious Masterplan looks to further capitalise on this position and maximise the economic benefits associated with the arrival of HS2 for both Solihull and the wider region.”

NEC Group CEO, Paul Thandi, said: “The NEC Campus is home to one of the top exhibition venues and arenas in Europe, and together with existing partners, we have long held ambitions to create a competitive destination to work, rest, live and play. These partners have seen the potential of the site and now will help us drive further investment and prosperity to the region. Now is the time to be bold and ambitious about the future and harness the power of the real estate we have to offer, whilst simultaneously maximising the benefits of having a young, diverse and entrepreneurial population.  

“The NEC Campus sits within a major engine of economic growth in the UK, recognised as one of the best-connected development zones in Europe. This Masterplan unites corporate ambition with global purpose, setting out our vision whilst considering eco and socially responsible practices. The NEC Group is committed to working in partnership with our landowners Birmingham City Council, to unlock the full and exciting potential of the site.”

The Masterplan will be subject to a six-week period of public consultation running from 10th November 2021 to 24th December 2021. Following public consultation, the plan will be updated in response to comments and feedback. Following publication of the final Masterplan, the process to select a development partner for the first phase of the urban village will commence.

To download the full NEC Masterplan and Masterplan Sustainability Strategy, visit: