Big City Plan 5- the options

The end of the draft report on the Big City Plan gives issues and options for each of the policy areas.

The caveat in the report is as follows.

Possible options are set out for each Policy Area. The options are there to stimulate discussion and to get people thinking about the best way forward for the city centre. Sometimes several options can be combined. Sometimes they cannot - they will be of the “either/or” variety. You may think of other options that haven’t been mentioned. If you have, please tell us.

Core Options
Core Option C1:
The Core as the regional retail centre. There would be a continuation of the current distribution of retailing, together with modest growth. Shopping would expand into the areas where retail development has been permitted. Retail floorspace would not expand too far in order to allow patterns of retailing to continue to adjust to the Bullring development. The aim would be to use any growth in retail expenditure to support the existing street-based shopping pattern rather than seek further major growth. Investment would be concentrated on the public realm, for example improving the upper end of the High Street to create a better magnet of attraction at the opposite end from the Bullring.

Core Option C2:
The Core as a retail centre with a more global appeal. Retail floorspace would be substantially increased with further major development south of the Bullring (see Southside). High end market retailing and specialist and niche retailing would be encouraged towards the northern end of the shopping centre, supported by the office employment sector. Special efforts would be made to harness Birmingham’s ethnic diversity in developing a core with a uniquely diverse range of shops, cafes and retail products.

Core Option C3:
he Core as a regional office centre. The existing office corridor of Five Ways – Brindleyplace – Colmore Row – Snow Hill would be maintained with expansion in line with previous medium term trends. Growth would be modest to enable the market to absorb the ongoing floorspace development at Snow Hill and Colmore Circus.

Core Option C4:
he Core as a global business hub. major expansion of office floorspace would take place in a polycentric pattern with different kinds of office and commercial growth in a range of locations including the area of New Street Station, Eastside and Southside.

Core Option C5:
he Core as the focus for fine buildings, great streets and fine walking routes. Further landmark buildings would be encouraged to mark the centre of the global city. The large highways such as the A38 axis would be greened and made into pedestrian-friendly boulevards. Better connections would be established across Queensway into the neighbouring quarters, such as the Jewellery Quarter.

Southside Options
Southside Option S1:
Southside as a prime office destination. A major new office quarter would be located near New Street Station and the area of the Wholesale Markets with ancillary independent retail, cafés and restaurants. In order to maintain activity in the area in the evenings and at weekends, the offices would be supplemented by residential apartments and active ground floor uses, such as restaurants and cafés.

Southside Option S2:
Southside as an important shopping destination. Southside would be developed as a major mainstream extension to Birmingham’s shopping centre, to draw shoppers down from the Bull Ring towards the area currently occupied by the Wholesale Markets.

Southside Option S3:
Magnet Southside. major new public square of the scale and quality of Victoria Square would be created on the site of the former moated manor. The area would also contain a lake and water feature. Southside would be come a magnet for people using the city centre and would host a wide range of activities from open air events to markets, theatres and cafes. It could also be the location of a landmark cultural building.

Southside Option S4:
Southside for specialist shopping. Niche retailing and leisure would be developed around Hurst Street, with smaller units reflective of the historic grain, including independent shops, cafés, restaurants and residential. Birmingham’s retail offer would be expanded to the south of the station which would create a retail loop from the Mailbox, through Southside, the Bullring, along New Street and back to the Mailbox.

Southside Option S5:
Southside as a food quarter. Southside would be the location of outdoor food markets, retaining the legacy of food in the area by bringing together the markets, shops and restaurants together into a food quarter, potentially centred around Moat Square (See Option 3).

Southside Option S6.
Southside as a theatre and entertainment district. A
major entertainment quarter would be developed to complement the existing Hippodrome, back-to-back museum, Electric Cinema and Birmingham Royal Ballet. large square would be created on the site of the Wholesale Markets, large enough to stage major outdoor events, and make this a focus for a much enlarged leisure and theatre sector, with close links with the Hippodrome and Gay Village.

Southside Option S7:
outhside living. high-density residential neighbourhood would be developed, with ancillary local retail, cafés and restaurants and one, two and three bedroom apartments and penthouses of generous proportions, distinguishing it from existing developments in the city centre.

Southside Option S8:
Southside High. Southside would become a focus for a cluster of tall buildings. The two towers proposed to the south of New Street Station would be the focus of a larger cluster of tall buildings. Very tall buildings would be encouraged on the Wholesale Markets site.

Southside Option S9:
Southside medium rise. Southside would become a high density but medium rise area of 6 to 8 storeys based on a perimeter block system, with mixed uses on the ground floor.

Highgate Options
Highgate H1:
Highgate transformed. Highgate would be developed as an exemplar family residential neighbourhood supported by high quality local services such as schools, doctors surgeries, local shops and cafes. It would be held up as a model example of a residential neighbourhood in terms of its environmental standards, its utility services, its adaptable homes, its neighbourhood facilities, its accessibility, its digital communications and its vibrant, safe streets. A mix of homes would be provided which would be designed to be adaptable to people’s changing needs and to the evolving social and economic environment. This option would build on the existing residential strengths of this area; there are already primary and secondary schools as well as Highgate Park. The park would be improved and there would be a focus on housing renewal to provide a better edge to the park and better natural surveillance. new Highgate would be linked to Southside and the City Core by an attractive new route to encourage people to walk to the centre.

Highgate Option H2:
Highgate improved. The mixture of housing and employment uses in the area would not change significantly but there would be incremental change including selective redevelopment or improvement of existing housing and industrial buildings and some infill development. This option would promote gradual change as and when opportunities arise. The frontage to the Park would be improved through selective housing renewal to provide better natural surveillance.

Highgate Option H3:
Highgate Strategic Park. Highgate Park would be expanded and its range of facilities greatly increased in order to create another major city park to match Birmingham’s aspiration as a world city. The park would be of the highest quality design, with imaginative landscaping and a variety of functions which reflect the diversity of surrounding communities. park would be promoted as a resource for people of all ages and abilities and would be used for relaxation, learning, sport and children’s play. Improvements would be made to the boundaries of the park, ensuing that buildings front onto the park, providing natural surveillance at all times of the day.

Highgate Option H4:
Highgate Local Park. Under this option Highgate Park would be retained in its current form with improvements to its overall quality and function and a better park edge through selective redevelopment. Investment would ensure that the park was of the highest quality design, with imaginative landscaping and a variety of functions that provide for all surrounding communities. Where possible, improvements would be made to the boundaries of the park, ensuring an element of natural surveillance at all times.

Westside Options
Westside Option W1:
Westside as a commercial quarter. This option would encourage future commercial redevelopment within the Westside area, including higher value office, retail and leisure uses. This would build on the success of Brindleyplace and capitalise on the proximity of to the legal and financial centre of the city.

Westside Option W2:
Westside as a specialist shopping area. Specialist retailing would develop further in the area, focused on the canal, The Mailbox, Cube, the area around Bridge Street and the NIA area. This option will encourage higher end retailing to locate in Westside, therefore consolidating the existing retail offer at the Mailbox. Cube would act as an anchor and as a springboard for future specialist retailing.

Westside Option W3:
Westside as an entertainment quarter. Broad Street would become a major entertainment boulevard. Much more commercial leisure development would be encouraged with larger scale buildings, wide pavements and vibrant advertising along the street to create the character of a brash and buzzy entertainment boulevard.

Westside Option W4:
Westside as a local centre. Broad Street and Fiveways would be the focus of the growing residential and business community and would provide a range of locally-oriented shops and services for those communities, with good links through to Park Central, Ladywood and Icknield Port Loop.

Westside Option W5:
Walking Westside. Create a tree lined avenue along the route of Suffolk Street Queensway, lined with tall buildings, to create a pedestrian friendly boulevard. This could require the removal of the slip road adjacent to the Orion Building and its replacement with a wider pavement and trees. It might even involve the removal of some of the heavy duty highway structures such as the flyover over Navigation Street. Further attention would be given to improving the pedestrian links between the Core and Westside through Paradise Circus and Holloway Head, and between Broad Street and the neighbouring residential areas. Road crossings would be ‘at grade’ wherever possible rather than via bridges and underpasses.

Ladywood Options
Ladywood renewed. The area would be comprehensively
redeveloped to create a medium density residential urban neighbourhood fully supported by local amenities of exemplary standard. The area would be developed with higher quality homes, better streets and spaces and a greater variety of local amenities and a more even balance between privately owned, shared-ownership and council rented homes. There would be apartments around key focal points like the local high street or square, and a range of other homes elsewhere including family dwellings, retirement homes and special needs housing. The quarter would have an improved range of community facilities, schools, local shopping, working opportunities and green spaces. New linkages through the area would be developed to connect Ladywood with surrounding areas, particularly Icknield Port Loop and Westside.

LAYDWOOD option L2:
Ladywood evolving. Ladywood would gradually change to create a medium density residential urban neighbourhood, supported by local services. The aim would be to move towards a better environment, a better balance of housing tenure, improved green spaces, community facilities and connections with other areas. Housing Department and RSLs would make improvements as and when sites are available, focusing on improving existing dwellings as well as introducing new homes.

Jewellery Quarter Options
Jewellery Quarter Option JQ1:
Jewellery Quarter: a growing creative quarter. The focus would be on expanding the number and range of quality freehold workshop and business premises with parking, suitable for jewellery businesses, professional offices and other creative industries. Larger development sites including new build and conversions would be developed for commercial uses with a range of unit sizes including such workshop/professional space. Where the existing historic buildings did not lend themselves easily to this approach, residential conversions would be acceptable.

Jewellery Quarter Option JQ2:
Jewellery Quarter: a desirable residential and mixed use quarter. This option would encourage, where appropriate, residential development and conversion on the upper floors of buildings throughout the Jewellery Quarter, with parking, whilst maintaining the existing character of the area on ground floor level with small manufactories. Larger new build sites would be developed mostly for residential. The aim would be to create a highly desirable and fashionable residential quarter (see also Option 3). This option would still maintain the existing character of the Jewellery Quarter whilst encouraging more residential development to help towards meeting the targets of the Regional Spatial Strategy.

Jewellery Quarter Option JQ3:
Jewellery Quarter: a specialist shopping and tourist destination. There would be a strong impetus towards encouraging specialist and niche retailing on the ground floors, particularly in the historic parts of the quarter. The range of shopping would go beyond jewellery to include, for example, niche fashion goods. A focus for retailing would be identified, with associated signage, parking and public realm improvements. The aim would be twofold: this would become Birmingham’s upmarket niche and specialist shopping area; and the initiative would encourage more people into the quarter to sustain the historic building stock and raise the national profile of the area. This option would work well with option 2, which would bring spending power into the quarter.

Gun Quarter Options
Gun Quarter – the workshop quarter. The building stock would be retained as an industrial resource. industrial use of buildings would be protected and incremental improvements would be promoted to the condition of the built environment. Gun Quarter could be a resource for accommodating small businesses displaced from elsewhere in the city centre as a result of redevelopment; for example, if major residential development were to take place at Highgate, the displaced employment could find accommodation in the Quarter. The space available in the Gun Quarter may need to be modernised and adapted to facilitate this option.

Gun Quarter for high end business. This option would encourage higher value city centre uses and high tech manufacturing within the Gun Quarter. The continual improvement and modernisation of existing premises within the area would be encouraged. quarter could take businesses related to the growing office area nearly in the core. Although the Gun Quarter would remain a predominantly employment based area, a mixture of uses including residential and supporting local services could be encouraged where appropriate, for example along the Fazeley Canal. This would help to raise values within the area, ensuring the continual improvement and modernisation of existing premises and uses.

Gun Quarter as a residential as well as business area. This option would envisage a substantial expansion of the existing housing area and a major reduction in the old industrial area, which is already substantially vacant. The option would help considerably to meet Birmingham’s housing needs, could help to foster a more mixed family-oriented residential community and would greatly improve the surroundings of the existing estate and neighbouring schools. This option would also require improved linkages to the city centre. The option would work with Option 2 above, enabling the upgrading of selective industrial areas and at the same time providing coherent residential neighbourhoods.

Eastside Options
Eastside as the learning and leisure quarter. The prime focus for Eastside would be to accommodate university expansion, with emphasis on the space needs of the universities, student accommodation, and spin off industries, including leisure uses.

Eastside as a new office quarter. Eastside would reinforce the eastern end of the linear pattern of office development which extends across the northern side of the city core. This would be a new growth area for large floorplate buildings. Connections with the city core would be improved. This option would make the most of the new city park as a major recreational space for city workers.

Eastside as a residential quarter. Eastside would be developed with a substantial number of apartments in addition to its academic and business role.

Eastside as a media and creative quarter. Eastside would host Birmingham’s largest concentration of media industries.

Digbeth Options
Digbeth Option D1:
Start-up Digbeth. This option would enable Digbeth to evolve as a neighbourhood where business ventures can begin. significant proportion of the existing building stock would be protected as a way of harbouring creative and start up industries. The character of the area would continue to be derived from the industrial architecture, reusing buildings where possible, keeping the variety of small workshops interspersed with larger warehouses. Refurbishment would be confined to keeping the space operational in order to keep rents down. The streets would remain functional in character and the amount of new residential development under this option would be limited.

Digbeth Option D2:
Business Digbeth: Digbeth would become a modern city centre business quarter, involving refurbishment of the best buildings and redevelopment of the remainder. The emphasis would be on growing small to medium enterprises including high grade manufacturing, media and services which desire a city centre location. The area would become the focus for international business connected with Birmingham’s diverse working population and would be supported by a high speed next generation fibre optic network. Residential development would have a lesser role but it could include historic / iconic building conversions, live-work studios and other innovative means of enabling industrial, creative, and residential uses to work together. Improvements to the public realm would be encouraged, particularly along Digbeth High Street and High Street Deritend. This option could involve ring-fencing small areas for creative industries and developing more facilities like the Custard Factory.

Digbeth Option D3:
Living and working Digbeth: Digbeth would accommodate a significant amount of housing as a result of the redevelopment of some of its poorer industrial areas. The area as a whole would retain distinct areas of housing and employment but there would be an increased emphasis on residential. This might include student housing (if there is a continuing demand for such accommodation; demand is forecast to ease somewhat), which would help to support local activities such as the music scene and other creative industries. This option would bring more people into the area to support its local services. Digbeth would go some way towards contributing towards Birmingham’s brownfield housing needs.


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