The possibility of a major new railway station being built in Birmingham is an unwanted distraction and could delay the £350 million redevelopment of New Street Station, business leaders have warned.
West Midlands Business Transport Group chairman Jerry Blackett said the new station plan, which is being considered by the Department for Transport and has the backing of Virgin West Coast, would give the Government a golden opportunity to refuse to fund the long-awaited New Street scheme.
Mr Blackett said the DfT's latest proposal was based on claims that a redeveloped New Street would not have enough capacity to cope with demand for rail use and it would be cheaper to build a new station on a brownfield site.
The suggestion was untrue because the New Street project would include an option to add a tunnelled track, significantly increasing the number of trains able to use the station, he said.
Mr Blackett warned against fuelling a perception that a redeveloped New Street would not meet the rail requirements of the West Midlands.
He added: "The lead-in times for these projects are so long that if we start suggesting we haven't got the right answer the Government will wash its hands in glee and it will take another five years to get something planned."