High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill

Written evidence from Digbeth Residents’ Association, Birmingham (HSR 27)

1. Introduction

1.1 Digbeth Residents’ Association represents the interests of those who live, study
and work in this distinct district of Birmingham city centre, and who will be affected by the construction phase and operation of the new Curzon Street Terminal and approach.

1.2 Whilst we are broadly in favour of the HS2 project, we would like the following concern to be recognised and appropriate mitigation included in any future proposals.

2. Summary

2.1 As the Bill focuses on the financial aspects of the project, we believe that there is insufficient recognition of the need for compensation for the loss of community assets during the construction phase.

2.2 Section 1.4(c) refers to ‘providing compensation in respect of property likely to be affected’. We would like an undertaking that even where this is viewed as temporary loss of amenity or utility, that compensation will be made to the local community if the loss represents the use of all or part of an established park. The loss of utility during the construction phase should be compensated for by means of the creation of similar park areas of equal value and utility to that which has been lost.

3. Evidence

3.1 The Draft Environmental Statement (DES) issued by HS2 clearly indicates the intention to locate their main site office, storage area and service road for the Birmingham Curzon Street Terminal on a substantial part of Eastside City Park. This park was only opened to the public in March 2013, at a cost of £11.75 million. In addition, nearby Park Street Gardens will be lost permanently.

3.2 Eastside City Park is Birmingham’s first new park in 130 years. It is an exemplar of high quality public realm, recently having won a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) national award and currently shortlisted for the Stirling Prize for Architecture. However, about 20% of the park will disappear for a period of between 6 and 7 years during the construction phase. This includes the loss of a plaza, fountains, lawned areas and pergolas.

3.3 HS2 acknowledges the situation in section 5.5.15 of the HS2 Phase 1 DES Consultation, but suggests that because the loss is temporary, no compensation is due. To deprive a community of a valuable asset for between 6 and 7 years warrants some form of specific compensation.

4. Proposal

4.1 Following consultation with local residents, that assurances be given that appropriate redress will be available for the loss of the community asset – either permanent or temporary – and that this compensation reflects both the value of the asset and the duration of the loss during the construction phase.


(i) An aerial image of the affected area may be viewed on the RIBA Awards website:


(ii) Further details regarding the loss of Park Street Gardens and impact of the HS2 construction phase on Eastside City Park may be found on our Digbeth is Good website:


July 2013

Prepared 18th July 2013