The new HS2 station in Birmingham city centre has won the backing of planning chiefs.
The city council’s planning committee awarded the green light to the project in Curzon Street at its latest meeting which took place virtually because of the covid-19 lockdown.
It won unanimous backing from the panel which called it “impressive”, making it the first HS2 station to secure planning consent.
The first phase of the new high-speed rail line will have four stations at Euston and Old Oak Common in London, Birmingham Interchange near the airport and in Curzon Street.
The second phase will run north from Birmingham and have stations in the North West, East Midlands and Yorkshire.
Three separate planning applications were approved for the £571 million station and its surrounding landscaping in Birmingham.
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The designs by WSP and Grimshaw Architects were praised by Birmingham councillors but issues were raised related to taxi parking, separation between cycle path and pedestrian areas and disabled access.
The station will include seven platforms and a main entrance including a wall of glass up to 55 feet in height.
Referring to taxi parking, Coun Gareth Moore told the meeting: “We need to make sure we have sufficient arrangements in place, particularly for taxis.
“I know it’s a big problem for Birmingham New Street station.”
He added: “We need clarification that we are seeing pedestrian safety is being maintained as part of the application.”
Coun Lou Robson said: “Design is not just how it looks which from the drawing is very impressive. It’s also part of the function.
“At a previous meeting, we have raised quite a lot of points about access for people with disabilities, not just people with visible disabilities.
“I am a bit concerned some of that hasn’t been taken into account.”
Planning officer Nick Jackson said that, although taxi parking was not available on the western concourse, passengers would be directed to the eastern concourse.
The council was “confident in terms of pedestrian safety”, he added, also stating that the station had lifts for accessibility.
Matthew Botelle, stations client director at HS2, said: “We’re extremely pleased to receive planning approval for HS2’s Curzon Street station in Birmingham.
“Eco-friendly innovations are a fundamental part of our plans, with the station designed to achieve zero carbon emissions from day-to-day energy consumption.
“This makes it highly efficient by generating energy through a range of different technologies to maximise natural resources such as sunlight and water.”