|“I am delighted that 2006 has been a year of progress for the Gateway Project, and remain confident that the partnership we have forged will deliver a regenerated station for our City”
Councillor Whitby, who is Chairman of the Gateway Project Group, said the end of the year was an excellent time to reflect on the success of the past 12 months.
“Undoubtedly the momentum behind New Street has increased this year. We now have a range of partners fully committed to the project and now are looking to the Government to deliver”
Over the last 12 months several important milestones have been reached with the Gateway Project:
• May: outline funding applications were submitted to Government agencies including the DfT and AWM
• June: unveiling of outline design proposals
• June: application for rail industry funding submitted by Network Rail
• July: completion of the detailed Business Case
• Summer 2006: Start of negotiations with Warner Estates, owners of the Pallasades Shopping Centre
• November: Achieved outline Planning consent with Birmingham City Council
• December: Galvanised public support with campaign in the Birmingham Mail and Radio WM
• December: Full application for funding to be submitted to AWM
Mike Whitby added: “I am delighted that over the last two years all the partners in the Gateway Project have reached unanimity about the vision for New Street. Together we are pressing a united case to the Government for the funding required to bring the ambition to fruition.”
The scheme now has local, regional and national political support and in a debate in the House of Commons on the 5th December, Secretary of State for Transport, Douglas Alexander MP indicated that the Government recognised the need for a renewed New Street. “In the months to come we should be able to make a specific announcement on the facilities in Birmingham,” said Mr Alexander, adding that ministers “saw the need for improved facilities.”
Councillor Whitby welcomed this recognition. “Now that the Government is starting to appreciate the necessity of this Project and what Birmingham can achieve if given due support, I look forward to progressing this scheme in 2007 and finally giving passengers a New Street Station they deserve.”
Notes to Editors:
Birmingham New Street Station is one of the biggest and busiest rail stations in the UK and the hub of the local and national rail networks. The points below provide some basic facts about Birmingham New Street and the proposed Gateway Scheme which provides a solution to the current problems there:
1. Birmingham New Street serves as the largest interchange station outside of London with direct services to most of the country.
2. Birmingham New Street Station opened in 1967. It was designed to cater for 650 trains and 60,000 passengers per day. It currently caters for 1350 trains and over 120,000 passengers - twice its design capacity.
3. Passenger usage of New Street has increased by 50% since 2000.
4. One third of visitors to the Bullring Shopping Centre travel by train making use of nearby Birmingham New Street Station.
5. The Gateway scheme will increase the size of the passenger concourse by 350%. It will become the size of 2 premier league football pitches.
6. There are currently 5 escalators and 2 lifts serving the platforms. This will increase to 42 escalators and 15 lifts in the Gateway scheme.
7. The Gateway scheme will increase passenger handling capacity by over 100%.
8. The Gateway scheme will lever in circa £200m of private sector investment in the shopping centre and southside towers.
9. The Southside Towers development will create in excess of 2000 new jobs.
10. The Gateway scheme will be fully DDA compliant