Birmingham’s massive regeneration plans – more details emerge

THE wholesale regeneration of parts of Birmingham City Centre has been approved by the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.

As revealed yesterday, the Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone has moved forward after a game-changing investment plan worth more than £125m was green lighted.

The first phase of activity on the largest regeneration scheme the city has seen since the Bullring shopping centre redevelopment includes an investment of more than £60m into infrastructure to help unlock developments such as Paradise Circus, £25m for the extension of the Metro from New Street to Centenary Square and £40m to support site development and business growth activity.

Paradise Circus developer Argent has submitted an outline planning application for the £450m,1.8m sq ft redevelopment.

The planning application covers 17 acres of land between Centenary Square and Chamberlain Square which will become a mixed-use development including 1.4m sq ft of office space, shops, leisure, cultural and civic amenities together with a new four star hotel to replace the existing Copthorne Hotel.

The redevelopment proposal is based on the Birmingham Conservatoire moving  to Louisa Ryland House on Edmund Street, with a new minimum 450 seat concert hall to replace the existing Adrian Boult Hall being created within the redevelopment.

The redevelopment of Paradise Circus will create a series of new linked pedestrian streets and squares and improve connections to other parts of the city such as the Jewellery Quarter, Summer Row, Brindleyplace and the Colmore Business District.

Architects Glenn Howells Architects have been working on the proposals for several years.  Glenn Howells said: “I believe we have produced a masterplan that successfully combines a contemporary and sustainable approach to design alongside the need to work sympathetically with the magnificent, historic civic buildings that lie adjacent to the site.”

The Enterprise Zone was approved by the Government to provide specific areas where a combination of financial incentives, reduced planning restrictions and other support is used to encourage the creation of new businesses and jobs, while contributing to the growth of local and national economies.

Birmingham’s approach to its Enterprise Zone comprises 26 sites across the city centre, covering 68 hectares, in seven clusters focused on the business and financial services, ICT, creative industries and digital media sectors.

Because Government allows LEPs to retain any business rates growth within  the zone for a period of at least 25 years, this revenue will be used to unlock the growth potential in the EZ and support delivery of the LEP’s objectives for the region.

Andy Street, chairman of the LEP, said: “The Enterprise Zone provides us with an unrivalled opportunity to drive regeneration and create new and additional jobs which would otherwise simply not happen.

“The headline figures are impressive and emphasise why it is vital we get this right.

“Not only will we create a further 40,000 jobs, add £2bn a year to the value of the economy and make available 1.3m sq m of floor space over the lifetime of the EZ, but ultimately we will deliver our ambition of becoming a truly world-class city region.

“The plan for the first phase of investment which we have just agreed will support the redevelopment of Paradise Circus which will help us to unlock the full potential of the Zone.”

Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The success of the Enterprise Zone will be crucial in the achievement of both the LEP and city’s objectives, strengthening the region’s economy, drawing in private sector investment and stimulating job creation.”