Plans for a new £123 million university campus have been given the green light even though the new Birmingham to London High Speed rail link would run through the site.
Birmingham City University was granted planning permission for the new state-of-the-art campus next to the former Curzon Street Station at Eastside in the very definition of an academic procedure.
The university has spent the last few years working on the plans and only recently completed the purchase of land from the city council.
University officials were stunned when last week the Government announced that its campus would be the site of the new six-platform High Speed 2 rail station from where passengers could travel to London within 45 minutes.
The university’s planning application was already on the agenda for the council’s planning committee meeting and with High Speed Rail just a proposal at this stage was judged in isolation and approved.
Committee lawyer Stuart Evans said: “Everybody is aware that the site of this proposed development could potentially, in 17 to 20 years time be the possible location of the station of the High Speed 2 Rail.
“These are just proposals at this stage so there is no reason why the committee should not consider the campus planning application today.”
The committee, knowing that the campus will likely never be built, simply nodded through the application without further comment.
It is believed the university is seeking £30 million compensation to cover the time and money already spent securing the land, cleaning up pollution on the site and developing the plans.
And with planning permission in the bag, its case will be strengthened. The land will now remain vacant for the best part of a decade until building work on the new station begins.
Development agency Advantage West Midlands has vowed to help the university find a suitable alternative site.