With a population of just over 216,000 Solihull has a strong reputation for its competitive economy, good schools and high-quality environment, and is the first choice for many to live, work and visit. Offering exceptional opportunity, connectivity and lifestyle, with significant geographic and infrastructure advantages, Solihull is ranked in the top 10 UK destinations for business, contributing £5.1 billion to UK GDP and is connected to 35 million people within a two-hour travel time.
Solihull is one of the country’s most strategically important development areas. Already a hugely successful economic driver of the region, large-scale investment and the arrival of HS2 will transform the area into one of the most exciting and accessible development growth projects in Europe. The High Speed Rail Interchange Station will cut journey times to London to 38 minutes, with associated infrastructure investment totalling £1.6bn. Further investment will see the extension of the Midlands Metro tram, rapid Sprint bus network, new walking and cycle routes and major transport junction improvements. Solihull is on the threshold of becoming one of the most connected destinations in Europe.
In contrast to Solihull’s strategic economic role and nationally and regionally important infrastructure, approximately two thirds of the Borough is countryside and designated Green Belt, which separates the West Midlands conurbation from surrounding settlements. Solihull is perfectly captured by its Latin motto – ‘Urbs in Rure’ (Town in the Country) – and is characterised by popular mature suburbs, rural villages and attractive countryside. This attractive mix of urban and rural communities, key strategic sites and transport infrastructure, and large amounts of green space, is one of Solihull’s key strengths, and one of the drivers behind consistently high levels of resident satisfaction with the area.
Solihull shares many key characteristics with England as a whole, but has a range of unique strengths, opportunities and challenges:
Rising demand on local services
A larger proportion of the Solihull population is aged 65 and over compared to England and this group is projected to be the fastest growing population cohort over the next 20 years. The number of pupils with Special Educational Needs at school in Solihull has increased by 16% over the last five years. The number of Looked After Children has risen each year since 2014.
Increasingly diverse communities
Solihull is increasingly ethnically and religiously diverse, with ethnic minorities now accounting for 18% of the population. This will continue over the coming years with diversity highest among young people; 28% of the school population is from an ethnic minority. 82% of respondents to the 2022 Place Survey indicated that people from a different background get on well together in their local area.
Solihull is one of the least deprived Local Authorities in the West Midlands but incomes are unequal across the borough as is poverty, unemployment and life expectancy. A significant proportion of the North Solihull population live in the most deprived 10% of England. People living in the least deprived areas of Solihull can expect to live 10 years longer than those living in the most deprived areas. This life expectancy gap is due to higher mortality rates from circulatory disease, cancer, COVID-19 and respiratory diseases in the most deprived areas, particular in men aged 40-79 years.