Engineers are applying for planning permission for a £500M redevelopment of Birmingham New Street Station, ready for work to start in 2008. The project will involve creating a new atrium into the building to introduce natural light to the station concourse for the first time. Other work will involve adding 42 escalators, 14 lifts, two new public spaces, extending concourses and giving the station a contemporary facade. The station and shops within it will continue to operate while during the work. According to project director Chris Hayter of consultant WSP, 'the biggest challenge will be to deliver a new station over four and a half years while it is still being heavily used'. Working closely with contractor Sir Robert McAlpine, the design is being developed with these constraints in mind. Prefabricated elements will be used where practicable to make construction as clean and rapid as possible, Hayter says.