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HS2 Curzon Street station offers ‘once in a generation opportunity’ for growth

Residents, business owners and community leaders in Birmingham have started shaping the future of the area surrounding Birmingham Curzon Street, the planned HS2 station which will open in Birmingham city centre.

Leaders met at the ‘Curzon Symposium’ at Birmingham City University this week and looked at how HS2 will spark new growth and development around the station.

The event, which was organised by Birmingham City Council, Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP (GBSLEP) and the Curzon Delivery Board, gave attendees tours of the area’s key assets and allowed them to take part in discussions on how best to shape the area’s future.

Liz Peace CBE, the property and regeneration advocate and chair of the Curzon Delivery Board, said: “There is real momentum around this incredibly dynamic part of the city centre, following the launch of the £1bn Curzon Investment Plan earlier this year. The local community is integral to the future of this historic area and it’s important that they play their part in what the future should look like.

“[The] event was really well attended and it was clear that the community is bursting with ideas and committed to working in partnership to make the most of this brilliant, gritty, forward-looking part of the city.  Now it’s our job to channel that support, enthusiasm and creative thinking into our long-term planning.”

Cllr John Clancy, leader of Birmingham City Council, was one of the key speakers at the event and said that Curzon Street offers a “once in a generation opportunity” with Birmingham being the “beating heart of the HS2 network”.

The Curzon Symposium marks the start of a plan to build on the new Curzon Street station which will look to bring together Birmingham’s academic, scientific, entrepreneurial and cultural communities.

One key project that leaders look to see to fruition is the ‘Knowledge Hub’, a world-class innovation district which will look to inspire the regeneration of the east side of Birmingham.

Earlier this year Birmingham City University received £14m of government funding to launch STEAMhouse, a project in which the former Typhoo tea factory in the city’s Digbeth district will be turned into an innovation centre for small and medium-sized enterprises. 

“This is about so much more than fast trains to and from London and the Curzon Investment Plan is a very clear signal of intent that our confident, ambitious city will use HS2 as a catalyst for inclusive growth,” said Dr Umar Daraz, direction of innovation at the university.

Simon Marks, non-executive director for optimising assets at GBSLEP, outlined how the wider Greater Birmingham region will look to benefit from HS2, with the Curzon Investment Plan marking the first major pledge by an area to maximise the impact of HS2’s arrival.

Marks explained that Greater Birmingham will look to use HS2 to become a top global city and major city in the UK economy, creating thousands of new jobs, homes and business offices in the process.

“The GBSLEP’s commitment to invest is a bold statement of intent for how we will utilise HS2 as a catalyst for growth at every step.  By setting out our plans now, we will begin to realise the economic benefits in advance of HS2’s completion,” Marks said.

The planned Curzon Street station is unlikely to stand in isolation in Birmingham. Back in October, the West Midlands Combined Authority requested DfT’s approval for its £137m plan to incorporate Curzon Street into the city’s wider tram network.

(Image c. HS2 Ltd)

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Graham Nalty   16/12/2016 at 17:41

One has to question whether train operators will want to run their trains into New Street for better connections into the UK rail network rather than Curzon Street. The alternative would be an 8 platform station between Curzon Street and Moor Street accessed by all trains now calling at New Street. Otherwise Curzon Street could be a 'whire elephant'.

Lutz   16/12/2016 at 22:32

It is still an extraordinary decision not to have the HS2 station integrated with existing station; it seems that the desire to redevelop the area over-rode the transport considerations. Staggering.

David   19/12/2016 at 18:09

How do you suggest adding additional platforms to New Street then?

Melvyn   19/12/2016 at 23:56

Curzon Street is next to Moor Street Station which is served by Chiltern Railways and Local diesel trains with the potential for combining and electrification in the 2020s to provide a new electric line from London to the West Midlands. While Midland Metro trams which have just been extended to New Street Station are planned to be extended to serve Curzon Street Station / Moor Street Stations. I always find this talk about distance between rail stations outside London given distances between say Paddington and London Bridge Stations ...

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