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Sprawl into the gap

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New designs for the ‘£286 million revamp’ of Birmingham International railway station have been revealed as Solihull council’s Urban Growth Company secured £9.27 million from the West Midlands Combined Authority to develop the project, the Birmingham Post reported. As its name suggests, the Urban Growth Company is tasked with urbanising the rural space separating Coventry from the Birmingham conurbation.

'How [revamped] Birmingham International station could look'

[New designs revealed for £286m revamp of Birmingham station, Tamlyn Jones, Birmingham Post 3 May 2018]

The images show how the station could look as transport chiefs bid to tap into the potential economic benefits of the new HS2 station due to be built in Solihull by 2026.
The vision for the Solihull station is to transform it into a transport exchange, bringing together existing rail, future high speed rail, air, trams, buses, rapid transit, private vehicles, taxis, bicycles and an automated people mover to create seamless connections with Birmingham Airport and the HS2 Interchange station.

Actually, the existing Birmingham International station has been a ‘transport exchange’ since it opened in 1976, and it appears to be in fair condition. The case for spending tens or hundreds of millions of pounds of public money on a vanity rebuild, has never been explained.

Perhaps some of the £286 million might be for fitting batteries to trains running through the station, as the official visualisation shows all overhead wires as having been removed.

Midland Metro Alliance, 'East Birmingham Solihull [tram] map'

The costs of rebuilding Birmingham International station, and a 2 km people-mover to Middle Bickenhill HS2 station, and a £500+ million Midland Metro tram link to Birmingham city centre, are not included in the HS2 budget. The full costs of HS2 are likely to be far higher than £55.7 billion, when projects like these, outside of the ‘core programme’, are taken into account.

GBSLEP, 'HS2 growth strategy investment programme


Written by beleben

May 4, 2018 at 9:24 am

Posted in Birmingham, Politics

One vision going forward

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Birmingham Conservatives have launched their vision for Birmingham City Council going forward.

Birmingham Conservatives, One City Vision 2018


They are concerned that suburban areas have not benefited from concentration of investment in the city centre.

But concentration of investment in the city centre was, and is, Conservative party policy.


So how are things going to change, going forward?

Written by beleben

April 19, 2018 at 11:37 am

Posted in Birmingham, HS2

The aggression starts here

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The planned HS2 station at Birmingham Curzon street is supposed to ‘regenerate’ the area around it.

HS2 Curzon site

But the area around the site is already largely rebuilt, as a result of plans which pre-date the HS2 project. In fact, some of the new buildings are in the way of the HS2 line, and are now scheduled for demolition.

HS2 Curzon site

Parts of the station site have been fenced off for preparatory works.

HS2 Curzon site

From the public highway, sawn-up felled trees can be seen inside the main compound.

HS2 Curzon site

Or at least, until the nasty and aggressive LM security man comes out, and starts laying the ‘law’ down.

HS2 Curzon site

Written by beleben

February 2, 2018 at 9:07 pm

Posted in Birmingham, HS2

Joy and bunkum

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In December 2004, West Midlands transport authority Centro “responded with joy” at the announcement of government approval for extension of the Midland Metro to Brierley Hill. It claimed the extension could “create more than 750 jobs“.

'Responding with joy' in 2004

‘Responding with joy’ in 2004

On 20 November 2017, the Birmingham Mail reported that “A major extension of the Midland Metro funded with a £250 million government grant is set to create 8,000 new jobs”.

So, what is this “major extension”?

[Jonathan Walker, Birmingham Mail, 2017-11-20]

Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the West Midlands will be the first to benefit from a new £1.7 billion “Transforming Cities” designed to improve transport within regions across the country, as she visited the EEF Technology Hub in Birmingham.

The West Midlands Combined Authority will receive the grant and is set to use it to fund a new metro line from Wednesbury to the new “DY5 Enterprise Zone” for high-tech businesses at Brierley Hill, running through Great Bridge, Horseley Heath, Dudley Port, Dudley town centre, the Waterfront and Merry Hill, before terminating at Brierley Hill town centre.

[David Wood, Conservative MP for Dudley South] said: “Independent analysis suggests it’s worth just over 8,000 permanent jobs.

“It means about 15,000 extra houses a year. Brownfield sites will become viable for housing development because of the improved transport connections.”

It’s the same Brierley Hill extension that ‘created joy’ at Centro in 2004. But now, apparently, it’s going to create ‘8,000 jobs’, rather than ‘750 jobs’.

Written by beleben

November 20, 2017 at 4:10 pm

Spending twenty seven million pounds on a tram stop

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twitter @RailLeaders, £27.5 million of WMCA (public) money to be spent on a tram stop

Written by beleben

September 19, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Where are the bin women?

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Birmingham’s bin dispute, about the long-overdue modernisation of the refuse collection service, is costing “£40,000 a day”, the Birmingham Mail reported.



Why bin men should receive much more favourable pay and conditions at the expense of other staff, and why the Birmingham refuse collection continues to be an almost(?) wholly male occupation, has never been explained.

But misogynistic labour relations practices have a long history in the municipality, and have cost hundreds of millions of pounds.

'Birmingham council underpaid women for decades',
Anne Perkins, The Guardian

Written by beleben

August 15, 2017 at 10:40 am

Posted in Birmingham, Bizarre

Not playing catch-up

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Although Birmingham was once one of the biggest producers of bikes in the world, it is now cycle-unfriendly London mayor Sadiq Khan promised to make the capital a byword for cycling, but has achieved depressingly little in his year-and-a-bit in office (wrote Peter Walker).

[Peter Walker, Bike blog, The Guardian, 30 July 2017]

And while London has the inbuilt advantage in tempting people on to two wheels by having a central congestion charge for cars and very slow roads, others may catch up.

Last week saw Andrew Gilligan, who achieved much as [Boris] Johnson’s cycling tsar, charged by the National Infrastructure Commission with boosting cycling in Oxford, Cambridge and Milton Keynes.

More directly relevant to London was the news that the mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has appointed Chris Boardman as his cycling and walking commissioner.

On the first-hand evidence available, one city not playing ‘catch up’ is Birmingham. Its cycling infrastructure is awful, and nobody in a position of power seems to be much bothered about making the city cycle-friendly.

Written by beleben

August 2, 2017 at 11:33 am