Posted: 03.03.20 at 12:36 by Nick Hudson
Architectural features of a planned HS2 interchange station have been designed “more as a statement” than for ease of use for rail passengers, town planners in Atherstone heard last night.
Digital impressions of the high speed rail development – not due to be operational until 2035 – reminded North Warwickshire Borough Council’s planning overlord of a scene from H G Wells’s The Time Machine.
Councillor Mark Simpson said it appeared an “ugly” proposal – not in keeping with either the countryside, or with the future in mind.
The Planning and Development Board chairman said: “I have misgivings about the design of this building.
“It is like something from The Time Machine,” added the councillor, where The Time Traveller character witnesses the menacing troglodyte Morlocks who live in darkness underground and surface only at night – their only means of sustenance is to eat members of the elegant, childlike-adult Eloi community in AD 802,701.
The description by the leading councilor came as board members were invited to comment on an application from neighbouring Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council.
But because the matter falls under Schedule 17 of the High Speed Rail (London to West Midlands) Act 2017, it was more a matter of “dictatorship” being foisted on the North Warwickshire authority rather than a normal planning application process, said Councillor David Wright.
“I am fundamentally opposed to the HS2 proposal,” he argued.
The proposed scheme was split into three applications involving the construction of the new HS2 station, three long-stay car parks and a one-and-a-half mile overhead transport link between the interchange, the NEC, Birmingham International and the airport.
Councillors expressed concerns if changes have to be made between now and 15 years hence, North Warwickshire Borough Council will not be able to alter or amend the applications as it is a Schedule 17 directive.
“Clearly there is no time for a redesign as it is due to be built by 2035,” added Cllr Simpson.
Councillors in Atherstone thought the 14 minutes saved on current train timings by HS2 between the new interchange and London would give people extra leeway in parking their vehicles or getting to the station.
No objections were lodged to the application involving land and buildings at the Interchange Triangle of the M42/A452 and A45 for the project that crosses North Warwickshire.
The comments come as new HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail minister Andrew Stephenson has spoken of the Government’s determination to deliver on the “biggest and most important rail projects since Victorian times”.
The Transport Minister told a Manchester conference it as an historic challenge and an unprecedented opportunity to “reverse decades of underinvestment”.
The Pendle MP added: “That’s why we’re going ahead with both HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail. These are not either/or projects, they are both crucial to our future prosperity.
“HS2 is not simply a project that the Midland and north benefit from, it is a project for these regions. Transforming journeys, liberating new capacity on the existing railway, connecting communities, and unleashing their potential.”
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