The Big City Plan

Ambitious plans outlining how Birmingham City Centre will be developed over the next 20 years, creating 50,000 jobs in the process, have been revealed.

The Big City Plan is the most far-reaching development project in the UK, and seeks to define how more than 800 hectares of land in the city centre will be developed and used for generations to come.

As well as outlining specific areas where the Council will concentrate its resources in the future, ‘Stage Two’ of the plan also highlights individual projects, schemes and infrastructure which it plans to develop and defines specialist quarters/areas where particular types of investment and development will be encouraged.

Birmingham City Council Leader Mike Whitby said: “I have been a champion of the Big City Plan since its inception in 2007 – and have been proud to launch it internationally in China, Europe and in the Middle East.

“Now, we are taking the plan to the next level – where we transform vision into delivery, and create the framework for 50,000 new jobs in Birmingham’s City Centre. We are making a bold statement, prioritising the areas and projects which can and will be transformed despite the financial challenges the UK faces.

“Our Big City Plan will provide a clear blueprint for investors, businesses and residents alike – with the detail, the grain and the soul, which I believe will inspire imaginations across the world – and capture billions of extra investment and value for our local economy.

“Against a challenging backdrop we know delivery is more important than ever, and our plan acknowledges the importance of the private sector working more closely than ever before with the public sector, whilst embracing the need for exciting new funding mechanisms like Accelerated Development Zones.”

Key objectives of the plan are to deliver significant change in the city centre, supporting sustainable growth, creating new and improved public spaces, giving streets back to pedestrians and enhancing cultural life in the heart of the city.

The plan addresses how future economic growth can be achieved by expanding the City Core area by over 25%, and in the process delivering:

  • In excess of 1.5 million sq metres of new office, retail, leisure and cultural floorspace
  • 50,000 new jobs
  • A £2.1 billion growth in the local economy per annum
  • Five key areas of transformation based around New Street Station, Westside, the Snow Hill District, Eastern Core Expansion and The Southern Gateway
  • 65,000 sq metres of new and improved public spaces and 28,000 metres of enhanced walking and cycling routes
  • Over 5,000 new homes to attract more families.
  • Sets out the value and role of heritage in supporting the creation of an authentic city centre.
  • Visionary proposals for each of the city centre quarters – the City Core, Eastside, Southside and Highgate, The Jewellery Quarter, Westside and Ladywood, Digbeth and The Gunsmiths’ Quarter

Stage one of the Big City Plan commenced in February 2007 with the new city centre masterplan emerging from the recommendations of ‘The Birmingham City Centre Masterplan: The Visioning Study’ produced by Professor Michael Parkinson CBE. This called for a strategic approach to developing the city centre which should cut across public and private sector organisations alike, and bring all their individual long-term plans together in one place.

Work commenced in August 2007 to develop the concepts, objectives and Big City Plan brand, culminating in the publication of the Big City Plan Work in Progress Report.  This document was made available for public consultation from December 2008 to January 2009.

As part of stage one, the city council and its partners made significant progress with key investments; headlines include the £600 million Gateway Project to deliver the redevelopment of New Street Station; The £193 million city council investment in the Library of Birmingham to create one of the largest libraries in Europe; and support for over £500 million worth of private sector development projects.