A Birmingham university is demanding a £30 million refund from taxpayers, after learning its long-awaited new campus will have to be scrapped because of a proposed new high speed rail station.
Work began last year on Birmingham City University’s new £123 million campus in Eastside, which is due to open in 2013.
But the plans have been left in disarray, after the Government’s High Speed 2 inquiry recommended building a new station right on top of the campus site.
Now, the university is asking the city council and government to repay the £30 million it has already spent on the scheme,
A new campus would have been a key part of Birmingham City Council’s Eastside quarter redevelopment project, the largest physical regeneration project in Birmingham, designed to create a new learning district in the neglected area east of the city centre.
It was to be built between Park Street and New Canal Street - but Government plans published last week show that this area will be taken up by the proposed new six-platform “Birmingham Curzon Street” station, which will be used to serve high speed lines to London, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.
The council’s planning committee was expected to approve the detailed proposals this week, after granting outline planning permission last year.
A state-of-the-art campus would include television studios, a library, a theatre, and a 250-seat lecture theatre. The development was also due to include shops and a student bar.
Preparatory work, including cleaning up pollution and ensuring there were no toxic substances on the site, began in January 2009.
Professor David Tidmarsh, the university’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “Right up to the last minute we have been working hard to deliver our ambitious plans at Eastside and have been in very detailed discussions with Birmingham City Council.
“Our proposals have outline planning permission and an application for detailed planning approval is to be determined in the coming days.
“To date we have invested more than £30 million, as well as a lot of hard work by many people across the institution and our partners. We will of course be seeking full restitution of our costs incurred to this point.
“This is a frustrating but a temporary set-back. Birmingham City University is still determined to deliver a high quality education in the heart of the city.”
The city council said it hoped to press ahead with other Eastside developments such as the planned City Park Gate, a complex of high quality apartments, retail space and a hotel, along with a new public square, between Park Street and Moor Street Queensway, although this will also require some changes.
.A spokesperson for Birmingham City Council said the authority would adapt its strategy for the city centre, called the “Big City Plan”, to take into account the effects of high speed rail.
“High Speed Rail will bring great benefits to businesses located close to the proposed Eastside terminus and wider city as a whole. As part of stage two of the Big City Plan we will be looking in detail at the impact of High Speed 2 on Eastside, and how we can work with landowners and developers in the area to help them benefit from the new station.”