Birmingham HS2 Curzon station plans unveiled
- 27 February 2014
- From the section Birmingham & Black Country
Plans for the redevelopment of 350 acres (141 hectares) of Birmingham city centre around the site of an HS2 station have been unveiled.
The scheme includes shops, 350,000 sq m of offices, a hotel and 2,000 homes around the Curzon station site.
Birmingham City Council said the plans were dependent on HS2 being approved.
Curzon would serve as a hub linking phase one from London to Birmingham with phase two towards Leeds and Manchester.
The government's HS2 bill is expected to be debated in Parliament next month, although a completion date of 2026 has been mooted for the first phase of the scheme.
Birmingham City Council said its 25-year masterplan for the area around Curzon Street was entirely dependent on HS2 being given the go ahead.
However, council leader Sir Albert Bore said: "We're not waiting around for HS2 to get built before we get started - we're announcing our plans today, and we're ready to start building as soon as the new railway gets the green light."
Waheed Nazir, director for planning and regeneration, said the proposed development would see Digbeth and the Eastside area around Millennium Point revamped to "welcome" people into the city.
He also revealed plans for a station square in front of Curzon Street, which would lead people towards the city centre.
Currently much of the area is waste ground stretching from the remains of the old Curzon Street station, although a new park was recently opened between the station site and the city centre.
Mr Nazir said: "If we did nothing, people would come in on HS2 and what they would see... we don't think that's something they would want to see."
The council plans include a further extension to the Midland Metro, to run trams directly through the Curzon station into the city centre.
Sir Albert said the council had also negotiated with HS2 Ltd to free up part of a site in Washwood Heath, earmarked for an HS2 maintenance depot, which would also serve as a building yard during the construction of the rail line.
The council said it would be putting forward plans for the area, which has high unemployment levels.
However, the plans have been questioned by Prof David Bailey, from Aston Business School, who called for a greater emphasis on manufacturing in the city rather than more retail.
He said Birmingham had seen a lot of new shops in recent years, with more in the pipeline, and questioned the benefit of building further retail space.
"I'm a lot less confident of retail as a driver of economic benefit in the city," he said.
"But even so, the real benefits of HS2 are only going to come if we can improve the regional transport network in the West Midlands."