On Thursday 27th February, Birmingham City Council (BCC) unveiled the Birmingham Curzon HS2 Draft Masterplan.
The Masterplan shows how Birmingham hopes to integrate HS2 into the fabric of the city, by creating infrastructure for HS2 around Digbeth before the new terminus is built.
The Shed vs The Slug
Although on the whole it is a positive document, Digbeth Residents Association has a few concerns:
1. The proposed tram route connecting HS2 with the Coach Station via Digbeth High Street seems to have been changed beyond recognition in the new document. DRA would encourage the final Masterplan to revert to the original and preferred route through New Canal Street and Digbeth High Street.
2. Phil Burrows, Manager of the Birmingham FOE Warehouse explains our next concern in a blog entitled Can BCC Stop HS2 From Choking off Digbeth?:
The station proposed by HS2 is monolithic and is in stark contrast to the organic curves put forward by BCC and its ‘shingled slug’. The Shed feels impenetrable, forgetting to compensate for closing Park St and Fazeley St, by squeezing visitors to Digbeth through Paternoster Row. On the other hand, BCC have ensured that the Slug is a gateway to Digbeth with its open gentle steps and enticing public space.
This is why I’ll be signing up to the Curzon St masterplan and petitioning HS2 as it goes through parliament. I implore the rest of Digbeth to do the same. We need to make sure that we don’t rebuild the concrete collar.
3. Last, but not least, DRA welcomes the inclusion of a ‘Skypark’ through the Duddeston Viaduct in Digbeth. This idea has been proposed in various forms over the years and over numerous Masterplans for Digbeth and Eastside. With the transformative effect HS2 will have on the city, and the loss of green space, we strongly encourage BCC to petition HS2 to support this project in its entirety so that the Duddeston Viaduct will finally be given a new lease of life the structure and Digbeth so badly deserve.
An artist's impression of the view from Duddeston Viaduct Skypark looking towards Warwick Bar, from the Birmingham Curzon HS2 Masterplan
More information on the Birmingham Curzon HS2 Draft Masterplan and how to respond to the consultation is available on the BCC website.
The Masterplan is also available to download in full at the following links:
(Please note that these are large files so we would suggest not clicking on them if you are using a mobile device.)