The new National College for High Speed Rail in Birmingham has been given the go-ahead after Birmingham City Council’s planning committee granted planning permission today (4 February). Planning permission for the College’s other site in Doncaster was previously granted in December 2015.
It is the latest milestone for the brand new, three-storey, 5,700 square metre building, which will be located on the site of the former Birmingham Science Park off the A4540 Dartmouth Middleway and Lister Street.
The £22 million facility will contain workshops, classrooms, a café and office space alongside a car park and external teaching area containing railway tracks, masts and social space next to the canal.
The elite college will provide specialist vocational training for future generations of engineers. It represents the next step in developing the highly skilled workforce needed to build major rail and infrastructure projects including High Speed Two (HS2).
In September 2014, the Government announced that the National College for High Speed Rail would be jointly located at two sites, one in Birmingham and an additional hub in Doncaster.
The Birmingham team has since been working in partnership with Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and HS2 Ltd to develop the plans, along with Willmott Dixon as the main contractor and Bond Bryan Architects.
Cllr John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: ““Birmingham is at the heart of the national HS2 network with Curzon Station, the construction headquarters in the city centre and the maintenance depot at Washwood Heath. The National College for High Speed Rail will be a much-needed conduit for the thousands of young engineers and scientists within Birmingham to access cutting-edge developments in high tech rail.
“I’m keen to ensure that HS2 becomes part of the solution in relation to our challenges with jobs and skills in Birmingham. We should see this as an opportunity to build skills in this city and it’s really important that people from across the city benefit.”
John Evans, Chief Executive of the National College for High Speed Rail, said: “I am delighted that planning permission has been granted for the National College for High Speed Rail site in Birmingham today. This is a significant step forward in the development of College and with Doncaster’s planning permission granted last December this is real progress for the College opening in September 2017.
“The National College for High Speed Rail will have a major impact on the ability of the UK rail supply industry to develop a suitable and sustainable workforce to deliver HS2 and other infrastructure projects in the future.”