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Birmingham’s HS2 masterplan gets go-ahead

20 July 2015 - Neil Elkes, Birmingham Post

City council expected to adopt formally the plan which will see massive regeneration in the area around the planned home of the new HS2 terminal. The regeneration of Birmingham city centre reaches another major stage next week with the formal adoption of the Curzon Street HS2 Masterplan.

The plan for the future development of parts of Digbeth and Eastside surrounding the proposed high speed rail station is set be approved by the council’s Labour cabinet on Monday.

Developments in the area are expected to create 36,000 jobs and boost the city economy by £1.4 billion per year. Land has also been earmarked for 4,000 homes. It also proposes an extension of the Midland Metro into Eastside which has already secured £41.5 million Government funding.

The Curzon Street Masterplan was unveiled last year and, following consultation with developers, businesses and the public, the final plan is now ready for approval.

According to the report to cabinet, more than 90 per cent of those who responded backed the plan and believed HS2 would be a driver for economic growth in Birmingham. Council cabinet member for the economy Tahir Ali said: “We will have a completely new rail terminus in the heart of the city, the first for more than 100 years.

“Sitting between the city centre, the Eastside regeneration area and the Digbeth creative business quarter, the development offers fantastic regeneration opportunities and will see the city’s economy grow and prosper.”

The consultation saw some minor concerns raised over the amount of retail but the council responded that much of the space would be smaller, ground-floor units in larger office and residential developments – designed to provide a “lively and active frontage” to developments.

There is also a pledge to protect heritage buildings around Carrs Lane although the decision has been taken the Grade II-listed Fox and Grapes pub is likely to go under the HS2 Hybrid Bill and the city council has little power to prevent this.

The council announced that, since the draft plan was unveiled, there had been a number of significant developments including funding for the Metro extension and a £30 million development package for the area via the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.

There was also the extension of the city centre enterprise zone to cover Curzon Street and the decision by HS2 to locate both its headquarters and the new National College for High Speed Rail in Birmingham.