High speed rail has potential to become an iconic national treasure – says BCU planning expert

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The claims are coming thick and fast as the Coalition Government attempts to ram HS2 down voters throats

Planners are being urged to be as ambitious as they dare when designing the new high speed rail station for Birmingham – and create a grand and memorable civic entrance to a revitalised city.

 

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Kathryn Moore, Professor of Landscape Architecture at Birmingham City University, is advising business and civic leaders that “as long as we adopt a holistic, inclusive approach to the overall planning of high speed rail, HS2 has the potential to act as a catalyst for wider social and economic transformation”.

 

Professor Moore is set to speak at the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP HS2 co-ordinating committee followed by a separate appearance at Birmingham City Council’s own HS2 scrutiny committee.

 

“There is a tremendous opportunity for HS2 stations to signal a new approach – using a different baseline and supported with a different mindset, working practices and economic models. The HS2 stations should be designed to energise the city.

 

“This is an opportunity to maximise this project in a positive, progressive way to ensure it contributes to the quality of life.”

The initial phase under the proposed High Speed 2 scheme is to create a new railway line between London and the West Midlands which would carry 400m-long trains at speeds of up to 250mph – faster than any current operating speed in Europe.

The new line would run into Birmingham’s Eastside district, which is earmarked for a new station. A second phase of development would deliver a “V-shaped” link from Birmingham and running to Manchester and Leeds.

The Department for Transport says the project will cut Birmingham-London journey times from 1hr 21min to 49min. After the second phase, Manchester-London journeys would take 1hr 8min (down from 2hr 8min), and Birmingham-Leeds 57min (from 2hr). This would effectively reduce journey times between London and Edinburgh and Glasgow by an hour to 3hr.

The High Speed 2 hybrid bill, which will give the Government powers to construct and operate Phase One between London and Birmingham, has been published this week.

Supporters claim the project will bring huge economic benefits to the Midlands and the North while those who oppose the scheme are concerned about its costs and challenge the return on investment claims.

Kathryn Moore has published her views on using the HS2 project to create an iconic new public space for Birmingham in Railway Terminal World. View a digital version of the magazine at: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/57aca3ac#/57aca3ac/34

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