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Delay looms for McAslan's Birmingham New Street scheme

McAslan and Partners' Birmingham New Street scheme is likely to be hit by delays because a government decision on the station's redevelopment will not be made until next summer.

Transport minister Tom Harris stated in the Commons that a 'considerable amount of work was still to be done' before the redevelopment could be given the go-ahead.

His statement came amid warnings from Birmingham MPs that action must be taken, because the station already cannot cope with the number of passengers passing through daily.

The proposals for a £500 million redevelopment would ease congestion that often leads to the station's closure.

Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart said: 'It is a station which, to pick up on the parlance of the day, is not fit for purpose. More passenger capacity is desperately needed at New Street.'

The admission that a decision on the station's future will be delayed follows criticism by a local authority councillor who claimed the station lacked a 'wow factor' and the designs would need to be reconsidered.

A spokesman for developer Network Rail said government decisions were always likely to take a long time.

He added: 'We anticipated these delays and scheduled them into our plans. The redevelopment will cost an awful lot of money - £380 million of public funds - so it is understandable that it will take time.'

by Richard Vaughan

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