HS2 wins approval for interchange station at Birmingham Airport - The Solihull Observer

HS2 wins approval for interchange station at Birmingham Airport

Solihull Editorial 27th Aug, 2020 Updated: 27th Aug, 2020   0

COUNCILLORS in Solihull have approved plans for HS2’s Interchange station at Bickenhill.

Solihull’s planning committee gave the go-ahead to proposals last night (August 26) for the construction of the ‘eco-friendly’ railway station.

The designs, by Arup Architects, include two 415 metre platforms and an ‘automated people mover’ to take passengers to Birmingham airport.

Planners said the design of the station “draws upon the historic and agricultural character of the local area and delivers a strong sense of place and identity through its architectural form and the design of its landscape.”

After planning approval, HS2’s Stations Director Matthew Botelle said: “We’re extremely pleased to receive approval for the design of Interchange station, which will be net zero carbon in operation, and adopts the latest eco-friendly design and sustainable technologies. The operation of our stations will play a key role in the UK’s fight against climate change and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Our architects and engineers have worked together with landscape architects, soil scientists, ecologists and water specialists to develop a truly unique, landscape-led, contextual proposition which draws on the local Arden setting for its inspiration, with lots of new habitats for wildlife.”

“We have also worked with our local stakeholders to design a station that considers future major growth plans around the site. These are being led by the Urban Growth Company, will support 70,000 new and existing jobs, 5,000 new homes and 650,000m2 of commercial space across the UK Central Hub, generating £6.2bn GVA per year and bringing 1.3m people to within a 45-minute public transport commute of the station.”

Aerial view of proposed station, via Arup Architects

Coun Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, said: “I am pleased that the applications for the Interchange Station and people mover have been approved, and this will create a landmark building at the heart of the site.

“Conditions were proposed on the applications which addressed concerns we had, and the committee quite rightly applied an additional condition to the APM application.

“We knew the application for the car park was not what any of the partners, including HS2, want to see built here, but I accept it had to be submitted in its current form, due to time pressure and legal requirements.

“From day one, we never wanted a large, expansive surface level car park. We all agree that if we want to maximise the benefits of HS2 for local people, the borough and the region, we need to use this land much more effectively, and as part of this build a multi storey car park to serve the station site.

“This is why we will all continue to work together with HS2, Arden Cross Limited and the Urban Growth Company on an ongoing proposal to jointly deliver an alternative solution, to ensure our ambitious plans for the area are realised.

“We have put together a masterplan for this area that will bring homes, jobs, opportunities and better connectivity to the region. It has the potential to generate £6.2bn for the regional economy of the Midlands, create and support up to 70,000 new and existing jobs, and deliver up to 5,000 new homes and nearly 7 million square feet of commercial development.

“Delivery of HS2 is the catalyst for this unprecedented economic growth, so we are pushing HS2, partners and government to support our plan and help us to deliver our vision.”

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “HS2 has got a critical role to play in the West Midlands’ economic recovery by driving investment and helping to provide tens of thousands of jobs. I am therefore delighted that just weeks after we saw the bridge installed over the M42, the project has taken another step forward with the approval of the plans for Interchange station. Given the climate emergency the West Midlands is facing, it is also great to see how eco-friendly these plans are.

“It is brilliant news that the Interchange plans have been approved by Solihull Council, and I look forward to working with both the Council and HS2 Ltd to make sure we maximise the potential of this site. I am particularly keen to see the parking provision around the station become multi-storey to help free up critical housing and commercial land.”

Kim Quazi, Director at ARUP Architects said: “Creating the world’s most sustainable station has always been at the heart of HS2’s design vision and this planning approval is testament to everything we have been working towards. This represents a significant milestone for station design and a step forward in our quest for greener rail.

“From the striking roof supported by light-weight glulam timber – inspired by the form of a leaf – to the green open spaces, everything has been selected to minimise the station’s carbon footprint and ensure that it reflects its surroundings and unique location.

“Equally significant is the approval for the Automated People Mover, which links Interchange Station directly to the NEC, Birmingham International Rail Station and Birmingham International Airport. A truly modern, world-class, elevated connection has been designed to complement its varying settings and includes new crossings of the M42 motorway and the West Coast mainline”.

Earlier this year, the WMCA estimated improvements around the future HS2 interchange could reach £1 billion.

The HS2 Interchange Station, located opposite the M42, near the NEC is set to host ten trains per hour if the high speed line is completed.

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