Developers behind the #500 million redevelopment of New Street Station have been ordered back to the drawing board to come up with a more exciting design.
Birmingham's Chief Planning Officer, Clive Dutton, said Network Rail still had some way to go before the scheme - described as one of the most important regeneration projects in the West Midlands - could be described as having the "wow factor".
He was speaking after joining Network Rail project director Martin Chambers and members of the city council planning committee on a guided tour of the New Street Station site.
Mr Dutton said: "A world class city requires a world class station. We should be negotiating absolutely excellent design here.
"This is a highly significant proposal in terms of our international city aspirations. It is so important to get it right."
He rejected a suggestion that financial restrictions, with the need to keep the project within a tight budget, made it more difficult to have eye-catching architecture.
"Good design doesn't necessarily require extraordinarily large sums of money. It just requires good design," Mr Dutton added.
He hoped that the partners behind the New Street scheme - Network Rail, Advantage West Midlands and the Birmingham City Council - would be able to incorporate some alterations to the proposed design when the project comes before the council for detailed planning permission later in the year.
Mr Dutton urged the committee to set some "focused priorities" for Network Rail to act on.
Planning committee chairman David Roy welcomed the scheme in principle, but said that aspects of the materials proposed for the new station were "a little lacking in quality and design".
There were also concerns that two new tower blocks planned at the Stephenson Street entrance to the station were not iconic enough, Coun Roy (Con Sutton Vesey) added.
Coun Roy said Network Rail would be "pushing at an open door" as far as planning permission was concerned because the committee recognised the urgent need to rebuild New Street.
But he added: "They have got to get it right."
New Street Station was last redeveloped in the 1960s, when a glass roof was removed to be replaced by the Pallasades shopping centre. Passengers have regularly complained about the dark and claustrophobic feel of the station.
Under the latest proposals, a glass roof would cast light on to the platforms and the Pallasades would be redeveloped.
The station will address over-crowding by operating airport-style procedures, with passengers remaining in a roomy glass-covered concourse until shortly before their trains arrive, when they will be permitted to descend to the platforms.
The concourse, which will include a shopping mall, will be almost twice the size of the existing waiting area.
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