£1.9bn Smithfield regeneration gets the green light at long last

The revised plans for Birmingham’s £1.9bn Smithfield redevelopment of a 17-hectare site have been approved after several setbacks.

The project, which includes 3,500 homes in the city centre was initially delayed due to concerns raised over the scheme’s open spaces and connectivity. 

Amended plans have increased the size of Smithfield Park by 23% and provided more connectivity to other public spaces.

A new report from planning officers confirmed that another park, Manor Square, is large enough for public events of up to 6,900 people. Although the public spaces still fall below planning policy requirements, the amendments addressed the committee’s previous concerns.

Historic England had previously intervened, citing potential harm to Birmingham’s historic cityscape. This led to a one-year delay and several design changes, including additional staircases, increased building heights, and 500 extra homes.

The huge project in Digbeth is set to provide 82,000 sq m of office space, 3,079 apartments and 44,000 sq m of retail when complete.

Plans include a new home for the city’s historic Bull Ring markets, and new leisure and cultural spaces, including a festival square and landscaped park.

Lendlease, the group behind the £1.9bn proposal, announced last month that it would be withdrawing from UK construction to focus exclusively on development and construction in Australia.

Despite this, the developer affirmed its commitment to its UK projects, including the £1.9 billion Smithfield scheme, and is aiming to secure planning permission as soon as possible.

The project involves architects and firms such as Haworth Tompkins, dRMM, Intervention Architecture, Minesh Patel Architects, RCKa, and James Corner Field Operations for the public realm and landscape. The team also includes Aecom, DP9, Turner & Townsend, Arup, WSP, and Montagu Evans.

Construction is expected to commence on site later this year and delivery will be completed in four phases over the next 15 years.


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