Birmingham needs an improved inner-city transport system to tie together disparate development projects, top regeneration experts have said.
But the city’s regeneration chief said he was astonished by the claims.
Ian Cornock, the head of the Birmingham office of property consultants King Sturge, said the city’s public transport infrastructure had not been improved to take account of the areas due for redevelopment.
He said: “We must focus on Metro, or a suitable alternative, to link the station, city centre, Westside, Eastside and beyond.
“For example, no one has yet explained how people are going to reach Eastside.
“It’s supposed to be a sustainable scheme, but it doesn’t have public transport links or good pedestrian access. Birmingham has missed out on massive financial support from central government, because it was unwilling to proceed with congestion charge proposals.
“Unfortunately the city council didn’t have the same will and political muscle of Manchester in persuading neighbouring authorities to adopt a common approach.”
He added a “scatter-gun” approach to regeneration projects meant none of them were being completed properly, adding: “We hear a great deal about one site, but the focus soon seems to switch to another, and then another.
“We then notice that nothing of substance has happened at the first site, and start to wonder how serious the proposals really are.”
Rob Blyth, the chief executive of Hortons said he agreed there was a need for new transport in the city centre, but said he would rather see a cheaper and easier road train system linking key points.
He added: “The capital cost would also be very modest by comparison with light rail, and we would need only minor roadside alterations, such as lowered kerbs, signage and traffic control systems.”
But council planning chief Clive Dutton defended the city’s transport plans, saying: “The comments seem to me to be quite extraordinary.
Eastside has a quarter of a million people within 20 minutes of public transport and half of the bus services in the city of Birmingham use the bus mall at the back of the Bullring.
“Eastside is literally a moment’s walk from Moor Street and New Street railways stations and we are also committed to building a 1,000-space multi-storey car park at Millennium Point.”
And he denied claims the city was not doing enough to work on transport issues with the rest of the West Midlands.
He said: “We have submitted the city region’s local transport plan which the Department for Transport has said is excellent.
“We are working to deliver our priorities across the region and we have been successful in gaining approval for the new Street Gateway project. We are working now to achieve the Birmingham International Airport runway extension and new Midland Metro lines.
“One of the characteristics of the city centre, of which Eastside is an extension, is that it is one of the most walkable cities in the UK.
“It seems very odd to me that a respected property adviser should make these comments, particularly at a time of economic hardship. He should get his facts right.”