Architects behind the £600 million transformation of Birmingham's New Street Station have been told to get the car and cab access right.
The city council planning committee is worried that long queues of traffic and taxis around the station, which frequently bring Smallbrook Queensway to a standstill, will not disappear when the new station opens in 2016.
They also fear that designers are being over optimistic about the numbers of people using trains and buses to get to both the station and the new Pallasades shopping centre, complete with four-storey John Lewis department store, above.
The committee warned planning officers and Foreign Office Architects, which designed the station, to make sure they get the car parking, passenger pick up points and taxi ranks right.
Coun James Hutchings (Con Edgbaston) said: “I am not convinced there is enough parking for this shopping centre, it seems to be a fundamental weakness of the plan.”
His view was echoed by Coun Bob Beauchamp (Con Erdington) who added: “Parking is of paramount importance. We also need to make sure taxis and cars can get in and out quickly to pick up passengers. Now is the time to get this right, we don’t want the long queues we have now.”
Coun Peter Griffiths (Lab Kings Norton) suggested that more parking should also be provided at rail stations around the city to encourage use of trains to the city centre.
Officers and architects have promised to take a closer look at traffic arrangements.
In a presentation from Foreign Office architects the committee was told that the station’s cladding would be a highly reflective mirrored surface to reflect the ‘blue skies’ above. Trains and tracks running below street level will also be reflected up.
Planning officer Richard Goulborn said: “Simulations have been carried out to make sure that bright sunlight does not reflect onto buildings, pedestrians and most importantly that train drivers are not dazzled.”
The committee was otherwise satisfied with the design.
Council director of regeneration Waheed Nazir said: “Attracting John Lewis has been a long term ambition for Birmingham. This is a major driver of economic growth and jobs. This will help Birmingham become one of the top retail destinations in the country.
“We will take back the issues around transport and look into them further.”