Birmingham council’s own planners have snapped up a prestigious new award for a city centre master plan designed to maximise the potential of the HS2 network.
Produced entirely in-house by Birmingham City Council’s planning and regeneration department the Curzon master plan — which covers almost 350 acres and hopes to generate at least 14,000 jobs — was described as “ambitious and highly strategic” by the 24 judges, chaired by Planning magazine editor Richard Garlick.
Launched in February this year, the development blueprint “sets out a vision for the creation of a world-class integrated city centre terminus station for HS2 alongside major development and regeneration opportunities”.
It has already secured a number of high speed rail network-linked benefits for the West Midlands’ city, including the Government’s decision to locate the HS2 construction headquarters at Two Snowhill, creating 1,500 jobs. Birmingham has also been chosen to host the new national high speed rail college at Aston Science Park.
Other, direct spin-offs have been the establishment of the Curzon Regeneration Company which itself attracted more than £130m through the Growth Deal Funding Allocation for the Midland Metro extension. The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership has also allocated £30m to kick-start the master plan.
“The huge success that has been achieved since the launch of the Curzon master plan demonstrates the value of providing a strategic vision and clear direction,” commented Waheed Nazir, Birmingham’s director of planning and regeneration. “Over the next 12 months the city council will continue to work to maximise the potential of HS2 for Birmingham.”
Among the plan’s other proposals, centred around Birmingham Curzon HS2 Station, are an extension to the Midland Metro tram system, creating a number of new high-quality pedestrian streets and squares, the construction of 600,000 sq ft of commercial floor space and more than 2,000 homes.
“These successes are just the start and the city is set to benefit significantly from billions of pounds of international investment delivering development and jobs on the back of HS2 and the Curzon master plan,” added Nazir.
Other commercial winners were: The Winsford Neighbourhood Plan, in the Neighbourhood Planning and Public Participation in Planning section and London’s Royal Albert Dock which took the Planning for Economic Growth award.
“It was inspiring to see so many entries showing planners and developers working with communities to win local approval of much-needed homes, commercial facilities and infrastructure. As a whole, the entries showed just how proactive the best planning teams are, and how much they do to ensure quality design, environmental protection and community benefit,” commented Richard Garlick.
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