A £40m relocation of Solihull station is set to be put on the back-burner as plans for possible renovations – costing half the price – are being recommended for approval by councillors.
A report on a study about the relocation of the Station Approach site will be heard tonight (Thursday) at the cabinet meeting before a vote is taken on the next steps of the plans.
The document, by Lisa Whitton a UK Central Project Manager, recommends ruling out the option of building a new station on Monkspath Hall Road.
The cabinet will be asked to approve work to look in detail at the options for improving the existing station, which has been based at its present location since the 1930s.
It predicts that developing a brand-new stop would cost more than £40 million, double the £20 million estimated to upgrade the facilities at the existing site.
The report notes the new location would bring challenges including acquiring land, flood risks and it would be less accessible for the majority of passengers.
It also emphasises the current station has become outdated and overcrowded, with the site struggling to cope with recent increases in passenger numbers – approximately 2,500 a day.
Without action there are fears that further growth in the volume of people passing through daily could harm the operation of the station and may even pose a risk to the local economy.
The report notes the current station “does not match the quality of the town centre or the ambitions of the borough for UK central and the local, regional and national connectivity needed to maximise its economic growth potential.
“Passenger facilities neither match modern passenger expectations nor, critically, do they offer the capacity for the scale of passenger growth anticipated by the rail industry.
“The station currently suffers passenger congestion during peak periods of demand, which compromises its operation.
“A new or improved station is essential in order to cater for this increased demand and thus enable associated economic growth.
“Delivery of a station improvement scheme, incorporating an integrated public transport hub that will accommodate short, medium and long term demand for rail access to and from Solihull is urgent, given the level of congestion anticipated at the station in the near future.”