PLANS for a new £17.4 million rail station in Bromsgrove have been approved by Worcestershire county councillors.

The full council approved its contribution to the scheme, which will see a new station built on New Road, Aston Fields - 250 metres to the south of the current station - with construction planned to begin in 2014 for an opening the following year.

The multi-million pound station, funded by the county council and Centro, is said to be needed because:

  • The location of the current station would not allow the extension of existing three-carriage platforms, a significant barrier to increasing capacity on the line. The proposed new station would accommodate six-carriage trains, with the possibility for future extension for nine-carriage trains.
  • The new station would provide a fully accessible environment for all users.
  • The existing station design would not accommodate the needs of the proposed electrification of the railway line.
  • The existing station does not have the passenger service facilities which Network rail and Centro recommend for the size of the station. It offers no commercial or retail units, has no manned ticket office and no public toilets. Parking is also limited.

The proposals for the new development include:

  • A new station building, including a staffed ticket office, passenger waiting room ticket/travel information and toilets.
  • New 350-space car park providing standard parking bays, disabled parking bays, electric vehicle charging stations, car share bays and two bus stops.
  • An external concourse linking to new bus stops, taxi rank, pedestrian footpaths, cycle store, disabled parking bays and car park areas.
  • Fully accessible station concourse capable of handling 800,000 passengers a year. That will include passenger information, automated ticketing, covered cycle storage, vending machines and covered access to the lift and stairs to platform.
  • A covered bridge link to platforms from concourse with stairs and lifts to all platforms.

Conservative councillor Simon Geraghty, the county council deputy leader and cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure, said: "I'm pleased with the approval from councillors - it takes forward something which Bromsgrove have been waiting for, for many years. It not only provides good news for commuters into Birmingham but also to the south of the county and further.

"Improving transport links in our county is a key priority to secure future economic growth."

The total project cost is estimated at £17.4 million, made up of £1.9 million development costs - of which £0.8 million has already been spent - and £15.5 million.

The scheme will be delivered in partnership, with the county council funding £5.5 million of the capital costs.