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30-YEAR-OLD PLANS RIPPED UP FOR PUB.

Byline: Vicky Farncombe

A THIRTY-year-old road scheme to ease congestion into the city centre has been abandoned to allow the redevelopment of a landmark city pub.

Planning bosses over-rode transport plans for Hill Street, Station Street and Hinckley Street, and voted to informally approve the extension of the Crown pub, in Station Street, to create a new building with 95 apartments, a restaurant and car parking.

The decision has "disappointed" transport bosses as the site was earmarked as far back as 1982 for a highways improvement scheme which would have helped traffic conditions in Birmingham.

While there were no defi-nite plans in place, it was thought the scheme would have seen the three oneway streets widened and turned into two-way roads for use by public transport.

Having sought legal advice, planning members agreed progress could not be halted for the sake of plans that had shown no sign of being implemented in three decades.

Coun Timothy Huxtable, cabinet member for transport, said: "While I am disappointed that the development runs over a Highways Improvement Line (HIL), I fully understand the reasoning behind the planning committee's decision.

"The HIL does not, unfortunately, have a reasonable prospect of being implemented in a more clearly defined timescale.

"In order to preserve the HIL, a transport scheme would have needed to have been designed up and be in an approved programme with a timescale for delivery and potentially some view as where the funding would come through.

"While I am confident this would have been done by this time next year, it clearly is not in a position currently," he added.

The Crown development is seen as one of the first in what is hoped will be many new investments attracted to the city by the Gateway project which is set to transform Birmingham's New Street station into a stunning 21st century transport hub. Developers LMM have already pledged to donate a substantial amount to Gateway if the plans go ahead.

CAPTION(S):

Abandoned: The Crown pub and, inset, artist's impressions of the proposed scheme.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Sep 28, 2011
Words:341
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