Birmingham City Council has moved a step closer to starting work on the Gateway Project by purchasing The Pallasades shopping centre.

The centre, situated above New Street station, is key to the redevelopment of the entire area as part of the £ 600million scheme.

Leader of the Council Mike Whitby said it was a significant development and claimed: “This speedy acquisition means the momentum is building towards delivering a completely new rail station for Birmingham, the region and the UK. The current station is creaking at the seams with double the passenger numbers it was designed to cope with. New Street sees over 33 million passengers a year and each week the entire combined population of Manchester and Liverpool pass through it.

“The purchase of the Pallasades was an important component of the plan and shows our commitment to the project and our determination to ensure Birmingham has a station fit for the future. Network Rail are key partners in our proposals and will continue to undertake the day-to-day management of the centre through their agents Savilles. So it will be ‘business as usual’ for tenants, staff and shoppers alike – a new start for New Street begins now.”

Network Rail construction director Neil Thompson said: “The commercial agreement is a significant development for the project. Network Rail has been working on detailed designs for the station following the launch of visionary concepts last year which will enable us to start on site as early as possible. The public has made it absolutely clear it backs our plans to transform New Street. Passengers are one step closer to the station they deserve.”