The Government is being urged to upgrade plans for a Midland high-speed rail interchange in a bid to create a gigantic new urban centre.
The Department for Transport has been formally asked today to alter its blueprints for the Birmingham Interchange HS2 station near Birmingham Airport by development body UK Central Solihull Urban Growth Company (UGC).
Its ambitions for a major mixed-use development near the airport could add billions to the local economy – but it feels the current HS2 plans do not go far enough.
Published plans for the site comprise just a ‘parkway’ rail station and car parks serving the HS2 high-speed line between Birmingham and London, due to open in 2026.
Now the UGC has outlined the major changes it wants to see to the controversial transport scheme to deliver the infrastructure needed for a fully-connected urban quarter – with HS2 at its heart.
The changes range from altering bridges and moving roads to making provisions for other future public transport and pedestrian links and creating new landscape features.
Before and after CGIs (above and below) show the differences between the two plans.
The cost will be met by the West Midlands Combined Authority through its HS2 Growth Strategy Fund secured as part of its devolution agreement.
West Midlands mayor Andy Street said: “HS2 is one of the biggest public sector infrastructure investments ever in this country and the West Midlands is uniquely positioned to benefit from this project.
“This submission demonstrates our ambition in making the most of HS2. What we are looking for is to go beyond a railway station and create something far bolder.”
UK Central comprises four areas of Solihull: Blythe Valley, north Solihull, the town centre and The Hub, which includes the Arden Cross regeneration site.
The Hub alone is expected to contribute £4.1 billion to the economy by developing 4,000 houses and 8.3 million sq ft of commercial space on land a mile from the airport.
It was first unveiled to investors in March at the international property conference MIPIM in France.
Solihull UGC, backed by Solihull Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority, is the first organisation to formally propose such changes to an HS2 station site.
Managing director Huw Rhys Lewis said: “This is Solihull’s chance to make the most of HS2’s arrival so we have to be challenging to ensure our vision becomes a reality.
“We want to create sustainable jobs, homes and commercial and leisure space for the people who live and work in the region but the proposed parkway station won’t allow that to happen.
“The UK Central Hub is already home to Birmingham Airport, the NEC, Jaguar Land Rover, Birmingham Business Park and Arden Cross.
“Our recently published Hub Growth & Infrastructure Plan co-ordinates those organisations’ individual plans, looks at the infrastructure needed to make it all happen.
“But make no mistake, the development of the Arden Cross site is absolutely critical in delivering these big ambitions which is why we’re formally requesting much more than a parkway style station.”