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MPs back demands to improve Birmingham HS2 station design

MPs back demands to improve Birmingham HS2 station design

🕔11.Sep 2014

Attempts to improve the design and connectivity of Birmingham’s HS2 Curzon Street station have been backed by MPs.

The House of Commons High Speed Rail Committee called for more consultation between the HS2 company and landowners about access to and from Digbeth through and around the planned station.

The committee has been hearing demands from petitioners, including Birmingham city council and the passenger transport executive Centro, for an “imaginative and high quality” station and to make sure HS2 is fully plugged into the local transport network.

Committee chair Robert Syms issued a statement summing up MPs’ views on the evidence presented so far.

Mr Syms said: “On the Curzon Street station area design and development, having listened to petitioners, we think there is a case for more consultation with major landowners and other stakeholders, particularly on access to and from Digbeth through and around the Curzon Street station. We therefore invite HS2 to develop proposals in collaboration with local interests.”

Mr Syms noted that the owners of land at Washwood Heath reserved for an HS2 marshalling yard and maintenance depot have agreed to talk to HS2 about the possibility of an alternative site.

The former LDV site at Washwood Heath could create upwards of 7,000 jobs for Birmingham if it can be sold for industrial development, according to Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne. However, it is claimed that a maximum of 640 jobs will be created if most of the land is required for the HS2 depot.

Two alternative locations have been proposed for the depot – land next to Birmingham International station at the NEC, or at Chelmsley Wood.

Independent research backed by the city council has found that the West Midlands can secure a £4 billion a year economic boost and more than 50,000 new jobs – but only if the city centre and Birmingham International high speed rail stations are well connected to existing transport links and good use is made of the additional rail capacity released by HS2.

Speaking on behalf of the petitioners, Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council and chair of the West Midlands HS2 Strategic Board, said: “HS2 can play a key role in securing the future economic prosperity of the West Midlands and we back the project 100 per cent.

“However, if we are to secure the maximum benefits possible from HS2 we need to make sure the project’s design best meets the needs of our region.”

Among the assurances being sought by the petitions is the need for imaginative and high quality designs for the two HS2 stations and their close integration with the Curzon and UK Central masterplans – blueprints for the regeneration and development of land surrounding the stations.

Birmingham City Council and Centro are also seeking provision for a future link between HS2 and the existing HS1 high speed line to the Channel Tunnel.

This would enable direct services between the West Midlands and Europe without the need to change between London’s Euston and St Pancras stations.

Also highlighted in the petitions is the need to fully plug HS2 into the local transport network by way of a common concourse between the Curzon and Moor Street Stations, a tram extension to Curzon and an improved alignment of the proposed people-mover linking the HS2 Interchange with the airport, NEC and Birmingham International.

Other assurances being sought include better mitigation measures during proposed improvement works to the M42 Junction 6.

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