Meeting due to decide on proposed redevelopment of New Street Station to design by Alsop Architects
A crunch decision on whether to press ahead with the redevelopment of Birmingham's main rail station was due to take place as Building went to press.

The design consortium in charge of the work on New Street station, which includes Alsop Architects and multidisciplinary consultant Atkins, was due to have presented final designs to the council's steering committee yesterday afternoon. This body includes representatives from Network Rail, the Strategic Rail Authority and Advantage West Midlands, the regional development agency.

Building understands that there have been disagreements about the funding of the project, with the SRA calling for the council to provide extra money.

It emerged last year that the Alsop plans would cost the client group £150m but estimates from Atkins suggest that the whole transport interchange for the station will come to £330m.

One project insider said that the council was keen to give the go-ahead to the scheme in the next couple of weeks to generate some publicity before the municipal elections next month.

He said: "The city council and Network Rail are 90% sure they want to press ahead with the Alsop designs and can allocate the funding."

He said that a number of options had been put forward but the Alsop and Atkins consortium was the only team in the running.

The city council and Network Rail are 90% sure they want to press ahead

Project insider

It is expected that the designs will radically overhaul the station above the concourse.

The insider said: "The plan is to knock down the Pallasades shopping complex and rebuild with a fresh retail development."

He said that the station would also link up to the Birmingham Bullring shopping development, which opened last year.

"It has been an embarrassment to the council that the station has not been redeveloped when the Bullring is looking so good," he said. "They are keen to have a stylish link between the two centres."

Birmingham council confirmed that a meeting was to be held on Thursday.

A spokesperson said: "There will be a regular meeting of the steering group tomorrow and a number of issues will be discussed."

Birmingham New Street is one of the most overcrowded stations in the country and an upgrade is seen as vital to regeneration.

Alsop Architects was selected from a shortlist of five in November 2002. It refused to comment on the meeting.