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Birmingham New Street station plans approved

4 February 10 14:15 GMT

Plans to transform Birmingham's New Street station have been given the go-ahead.

The city council has approved final planning applications over the £600m gateway scheme, Network Rail said.

A new concourse next to the station is expected to open in 2012 before the old concourse is redeveloped. The scheme is expected to be finished in 2015.

Work has been planned to minimise the impact on passengers, Network Rail added.

It is expected to start in the station later this year.

'Attractive scheme'

Network Rail said all train services would continue to operate and the Pallasades shopping centre remain open throughout the project at the 1960s-built station.

In the future there would be "more accessible, brighter and clearer platforms" reached by new escalators and new lifts, Network Rail said.

It added that there would be a new station façade and better links to and through the station for pedestrians, with eight entrances.

A concourse will be three-and-a-half times larger than at the moment.

Network Rail said the gateway project is backed by itself along with the city council, Advantage West Midlands, Centro and the Department for Transport.

Council leader Mike Whitby said: "It's an exciting scheme. It's an attractive scheme.

"We've got to make sure that inherent beauty and functionality is kept and that's what the planning committee today have recognised and ensured will happen."

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