Transport Minister announces go-ahead for £60m station revamp
RAIL passengers will see the first signs of a major revamp of Nottingham railway station as early as January.
That is when work on a new 950-space multi-storey car park is due to begin – as well as highway improvements in Queen's Road.
The whole project is set to be complete by November 2014.
It will be the realisation of a long-term ambition to transform the station into a state-of-the-art transport hub – where trains connect with trams, cars, buses, taxis, and bikes.
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But earlier this year there were fears it might not be possible. The coalition Government told East Midlands Development Agency (emda) it must slash £24m from its budget, which meant emda had to withdraw £7.1m it had intended to contribute.
But the other funding bodies have now come up with a way to go ahead with a £60m project, rather than the £67m originally planned.
Transport Minister Norman Baker was asked to make the announcement about the Nottingham Hub today after being invited by Nottingham South MP Lilian Greenwood to tour the city's tram system and award-winning buses.
Mr Baker said: "A modern railway station with excellent customer facilities can speak volumes about a town or city.
"The plans for Nottingham's station are very exciting. Not only will passengers find the station more pleasant, the redevelopment will enhance accessibility and help kick-start regeneration in the area, bringing a welcome boost to the local economy."
Construction at the station's entrance will start in July 2012, with booking hall upgrades from January 2013 – followed by an overhaul of station buildings, platforms and canopies from June 2013.
Nottingham Express Transit project director Chris Deas said he was delighted that all the partners had agreed the funding for the hub and the regulatory approvals had been signed. "It is a big milestone," he said. "We are confident it will act as a catalyst to bring the city out of recession with its ability to drive development at the Southside of the city."
Cash for the project includes £41m from station owners Network Rail, £14.8m from Nottingham City Council through the workplace parking levy, £2.1m from emda, £1.6m from East Midlands Trains and £500,000 from the Rail Heritage Trust.
Mr Deas said work costing £7.1m had been postponed, but that this was mainly storage, office and utility buildings that would not be accessed by the public.
"The partners will look for alternative funding and if it can be found, this work will take place after the main redevelopment had finished.
Ms Greenwood said: "I've made my transport priorities clear to the Minister and I look forward to pressing our case in the strongest possible terms today. As far as my vision for Nottingham transport is concerned, today's announcement that the station redevelopment will go ahead is great news – it's definitely one down and two to go."
Fiona Taylor, route director for Network Rail, said the hub would make train travel more appealing.
"The value-for-money upgrade of the station will make interchange between different types of transport much easier and the station will become a more attractive place to begin or end a journey," she said.
"All this will attract more passengers to the railway and, by connecting people with jobs, will help boost the economy."
Toward the end of the works, Network Rail will complete the re-signalling of the line. Platform 4 will be redesigned to increase the number of trains which can call at Nottingham and improve services.
John Watson, chairman of the Hub Project Board, said: "Along with the extended tram network and the widening of the A453, the redevelopment of the station is considered by the business community as key to the future success of Nottingham's economy.
"With the proposals for the extended tram network, the station will become a state-of-the art public transport interchange and gateway to Nottingham."
Lawrence Bowman, project sponsor for East Midlands Trains, added: "With almost seven million passengers a year using Nottingham station, it is one of the busiest train stations on the East Midlands Trains' network and is crucial to the future economic growth of the city."