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New Street Letter Thread

11967 Views 74 Replies 25 Participants Last post by  882774
So according to neon18, we have this information about the New Street Redevelopment.

About Networkrail's latest cost cutting exercise.

According to the twitter stream Ian Austin an MP for Dudley North and former minister for the West Midlands (also a villa fan) will raise questions in parliament but needs some help. Please could you email him some details so he could generate PQs. His email address is [email protected]
Because it might provide a chance for forum members to get something done, could everyone in this thread please provide their specific complaints and concerns regarding New St, adding as much detail as possible, so that we might compile a single letter to help Mr Austin in formulating his questions?
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recieving a single letter from the forum would not be anwhere near as effective as sending him numerous personal emails surely!
recieving a single letter from the forum would not be anwhere near as effective as sending him numerous personal emails surely!
It will be if it is signed by all and goes into way more detail. If you are an MP, would you prefer one document which details the argument carefully, or a dozen emails each dealing with a small part of the problem?
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Do we have any Dudley North constituency residents who will be able to get in touch with him. Usually MPs act more strongly to residents of their own constituency!
Might be worth contacting Gisela Stuart too... She has a reputation for working hard.
Oh, he's my MP. I could get a little traction going here.
Oh, cannon ball fired across the bow. I have written a short e-mail to Ian Austin to say I have concerns that we are being short-changed. My concerns started with the atrium roof and now changes to the western elevation, and that I'm unsure how to object to the planning application being a Dudley resident and that grounds of aesthetics would now be enough if I could object. Hope the conversation starts now with him.

I suggest you all write to him. I've started the debate with him, he's a family friend so he'll listen.
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^^^^ :banana::banana:
Thanks mate.

I think someone who has a deep understanding of planning should formulate a template with enough ammunition to counter any typical replies. You know what the former Birmingham mail paper delivery boy Patrick Mcloughlin will reply back with after his visit at New street station today.

Remember ideally you should be a resident of the MP's constituency for them to even consider taking any action.

Yes Gisela Stuart of Edgbaston is a tremendous lady. She is highly committed to Birmingham and region.

For additional info, New Street Station is in the Ladywood Ward & Constituency.

The MP is Shabana Mahmood (Web site at

The Ward Councillors are:-

Sir Albert Bore - [email protected]
Kath Hartley - [email protected]
Carl Rice - [email protected]

These are the people who should be taking an active interest in this and ensuring Birmingham is not being short-changed.
A list of MP's from the West Midlands:

Edgbaston: Gisela Stuart MP :[email protected]
Dudley North: Ian Austin MP: [email protected]
Northfield (Shadow Rail) : Richard Burden MP [email protected]
Ladywood: Shabana Mahmood MP [email protected]
Erdington: Jack Dromey [email protected]
Selly Oak: Steve McCabe MP [email protected]
Wolverhampton North East: Emma Reynolds MP : [email protected]
Wolverhampton South East: Pat McFadden MP : [email protected]uk
Walsall South: Valerie Vaz MP : [email protected]
Hodge Hill: Liam Byrne MP [email protected]
Walsall North: David Winnick MP: [email protected]
Warley: John Spellar MP : [email protected]
West Bromwich East: Tom Watson MP : [email protected]
West Bromwich West: Adrian Bailey MP : [email protected]
Perry Barr: Khalid Mahmood MP [email protected]
Solihull: Lorely Burt MP : [email protected]
Yardley: John Hemming MP: [email protected]
Redditch : Karen Lumley : [email protected]
Halesowne &Rowley Regis: James Morris : [email protected]
Tamworth: Christopher Pincher : [email protected]
Wyre Forest (Kidderminster) : Mark Garnier MP : [email protected]
Bromsgrove : Sajid Javid : [email protected]
Nuneaton: Marcus Jones : [email protected]
Lichfield : Michael Fabricant MP :
Meriden : Caroline Spelman MP : [email protected]
West Worcestershire : Harriett Baldwin MP: [email protected]
Staffordshire Moorlands: Karen Bradley MP [email protected]
Cannock Chase : Aidan Burley MP : [email protected]
Burton : Andrew Griffiths : [email protected]
Stourbridge : Margot James : [email protected]
Stafford: Jeremy Lefroy [email protected]
Mid Worcestershire : Sir Peter Luff : [email protected]
Sutton Coldfield : Andrew Mitchell : [email protected]
North Shropshire : Owen Paterson : [email protected]
The Wrekin : Mark Pritchard : [email protected]
Aldridge-Brownhills : Sir Richard Shepherd : [email protected]
Wolverhampton South West : Paul Uppal : [email protected]
Worcester : Robin Walker : [email protected]
Warwick & Leamington : Chris White MP : [email protected]
South Staffordshire: Gavin Williamson : [email protected]
Kenilworth & Southam : Jeremy Wright MP : [email protected]
Stratford-upon-Avon : Nadhim Zahawi : [email protected]

Not an MP but has power's just below of Sir Albert Bore:
[email protected] Chief Executive of Birmingham CC
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^^^^ :banana::banana:
Thanks mate.

I think someone who has a deep understanding of planning should formulate a template with enough ammunition to counter any typical replies. You know what the former Birmingham mail paper delivery boy Patrick Mcloughlin will reply back with after his visit at New street station today.
This is a great idea. Djay, you seem to know your onions in this regard. Can you give us a hand, if only with the basics?
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Just a draft template for a letter, telling us what points are worth quibbling over, how to go about addressing them, and to whom. If you could outline the bare facts then we could compile the letter from there.
Right, as stated before, from a planning perspective...

The only planning grounds this can be objected to are design and materials, maybe visual amenity. Although the bridge is already existing and extending it is offering better visual amenity. I have had a quick review of local policy which accord with the NPPF and NPPG but there isn't really anything these.

The NPPG is somewhat helpful in that it states "Achieving good design is about creating places, buildings, or spaces that work well for everyone, look good, last well". Obviously this is highly subjective.

You could argue that the door onto Hill Street does not fulfil this guidance here... "Public transport, and in particular interchanges, should be designed as an integral part of the street layout".

Furthermore, a paragraph from the NPPG state an issue to be considered is whether entrances to buildings are clearly identified, can be reached by a level or gently sloping approach and are well lit. Particularly, the proposed amendments to the Hill Street Entrance do not clearly identify the entrance to the station and seems not to have been considered. The amendments create what will be perceived as two entrances where one will be an access to a stand alone retail unit. Whereas the consented design met this test and these proposed amendments are a clear departure from the design objectives in this regard.

The Birmingham UDP also shows Hill Street as a primary pedestrian corridor and so there should be a higher standard of integration of the door into the streetscape to reflect its importance as a pedestrian route.

Other Matters for the MP

You should probably state that it is in the public interest to seek a better resolution to the bridge, it's entrance on Hill street and the lack of cladding to the western elevation. This is because there has a been a considerable amount of public money for the development and it would appear changes are being made without an explanation of the impact on cost, particularly in using a cladding technique for this elevation which would be faster and require less complex instillation methods.

As Erbuss states, there were specific objectives established at the outset that not only determined the functional requirements of the building but the design requirements also. To palm those off so willingly seem symptomatic of some mismanagement and resultant financial issue behind the scenes that is not being properly addressed.

You could argue that change D in the Design and Access Statement has been made due to a tenant requirement rather than in the public interest as the consented design had alway suggested this would become a A1 retail unit. Reason D - "The building at the southern end of the footbridge extension will now become a small retail unit (A1 Use Class) providing an active frontage to Hill Street, with two ATMs; this will also accommodate a new means of escape from the footbridge, discharging directly on to Hill Street."

This point could also be made with regard to the atrium changes which have not been put in the public domain for the benefit of the public interest. However, Network Rail is not a public company so they don't have to i don't think.

That's all about all i have to say.
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Who is funding the redevelopment of New Street? Is it publicly or privately funded or a mix?
Public, DfT and Birmingham City Council.
BBC transport correspondent Peter Plisner is interested in looking into this story.
He is requesting that an email is sent to him with a contact number. [email protected]

Dear Simon,

Many thanks for getting in touch about this.

I appreciate your concerns about this. A redeveloped New Street Station is supposed to be an asset not just to Birmingham but to the whole region including Dudley. It’s disappointing that Network Rail is now planning to reduce the scope of the planned redevelopment.

I hope you will be pleased to hear that I have written to Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, on your behalf. I have set out your concerns about Network Rail’s recent attempts to change the plans and asked him to address them.

I have also tabled the following Parliamentary Questions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had regarding the redevelopment of Birmingham New Street station.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of Network Rail’s recent application to downgrade redevelopment of the western elevation of New Street Station as set out in planning application 2014/02551/PA to Birmingham City Council.

I will be in touch as soon as I receive a response. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any other concerns or if there’s anything else I can do to help.

Many thanks and best wishes,

Yours sincerely,

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Wow, superb!! Great going, couldn't have had a better response!
The story has made the front page of BP today, not online yet though
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Please correct me if I am wrong (and I probably am!) but I had assumed that since there were no windows included on the bridge recladding, that it was just to become a pretty fire escape. This makes sense to me as with the increase in space, and therefore people, in the concourse above the platforms, as well as the filling in of the old subways, that it would be sensible to have a dedicated, clear, fire escape from platform level without having to pass through the main concourse. Has there ever been any documentation to say otherwise?

With normal operation having the bridge as another way to access the platforms is going to mean more ticket barriers are required, and therefore more staff are required to man them. If the concourse has been designed to accommodate the new rising demand then why keep this add-on. It doesn't seem overly logical to me.
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Experts criticise latest design changes to New Street Station
Apr 24, 2014 18:30 By Neil Elkes

Latest furore surrounds a revised planning application to retain and extend the old Navigation Street footbridge over tracks and platforms on the northern side of the station

Network Rail has revised a planning application for its redevelopment of Birmingham New Street Station which would have seen the Navigation Street footbridge clad in reflective steel to match the rest of the building's new look. The new application will retain the existing bridge

Network Rail has been accused of cutting corners on the £600 million landmark New Street redevelopment after scaling back plans for the second time this year.

The latest furore surrounds a revised planning application to retain and extend the old Navigation Street footbridge over tracks and platforms on the northern side of the station.

The bridge was initially due to be replaced and clad in the curved mirror-effect stainless steel canopy which dominates the rest of the new station design.

It was revealed earlier this year that globally respected architect Alejandro Zaero-Polo had walked away from the New Street Gateway project over changes to the original design for the station’s atrium.

But while a change in material on the atrium may go unnoticed when the station opens next year, the footbridge is a major feature on the Navigation Street elevation – leading to criticism from city architecture experts.

Architect and chief executive of Millennium Point Philip Singleton said: “This follows the rather unfortunate debacle of the original architect not completing the atrium.

“That seemed to escape proper public scrutiny on a project which is supposed to delight over 30 million passengers and shoppers a year.

“If serious changes are being made now to the external appearance too, we really should be told on what grounds. Is it about making savings and dumbing down the essence of a great idea?

“This should go before the Birmingham City Council planning committee and the people of Birmingham should have a chance to comment on this change. We should be proud of the place, not apologising for it.”

Network Rail has asked for permission to retain the footbridge saying that extensive works could delay the completion of the station by months or lead to the closure of the track for a period.

An application has been submitted to the city council’s planning department and is out for public consultation until May 22.

On his Birmingham Central blog, regeneration blogger Simon Felton said: “I find these proposals a little disheartening against the exciting vision we saw in the original design.

“Whether, if this application is approved, visitors and future residents will wonder why they didn’t finish the plan is a question only hindsight and time will tell.”

Network Rail has stated that the installation of extensive stainless steel cladding over an operational railway is “impractical” – given that work could only take place for a few hours at night.

New Street rail station as seen from above

A Network Rail spokesman said: “Birmingham City Council’s planning committee is currently looking at amended designs for the Navigation Street footbridge.

“The footbridge was not part of the original planning application in 2006, but was added in 2009 and it is this design which has been altered to avoid adding months onto the construction programme plus extended closures to the railway which would cause a large amount of disruption to the travelling public.

“The redevelopment of Birmingham New Street will give Birmingham a station fit for Britain’s second city and transform the passenger experience for the thousands of people who use New Street every day.”

The new plans were revealed in the week that Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin visited to the construction site to check on progress.

Mr McLoughlin said: “I believe the improvements will be very good for Birmingham. It will almost be a destination in its own right.

“There will also be improvements in capacity so that more people can use the station.

“A key part of this government’s long-term economic plan is investing in world class infrastructure. That is why we are putting record amounts of government funding into our railways over the next five years.”

He added that the transformation is all the more remarkable because the station has remained open throughout.

Mr McLoughlin also highlighted a £16 billion investment in HS2 over the next five years. Asked about why the project will take until 2026 to be completed, Mr McLoughlin said he is being lobbied from both sides – those who want it sooner and those who want it stopped.

“We have got to get it right, plan it carefully and look at the environmental considerations. It opens in Birmingham in 12 years’ time and that is not a huge amount of time for a project on that scale.”
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