Birmingham Redevelopment Scheme

Birmingham Redevelopment Scheme

The Birmingham Redevelopment Scheme is a large redevelopment plan for Birmingham, England with the aim of regenerating the city.


The city was subject to a widespread regeneration effort following World War II. This included the designation of five regeneration areas within the city boundaries and the encouragement of development to replace Victorian slums and to reconstruct houses destroyed by bombing raids. Sir Herbert Manzoni was designated as the city engineer [cite book|title=Towns, Plans and Society in Modern Britain|author=Helen Elizabeth Meller|year=1997|publisher=Cambridge University Press|isbn=052157644X] and under his authority, he commissioned the construction of the Inner Ring Road around the city centre of Birmingham. This also resulted in the redevelopment of the Bull Ring area and the construction of elevated roadways within the city. [cite book|author=Peter Baldwin|coauthors=Robert Baldwin|title=The Motorway Achievement|year=2003|publisher=Thomas Telford|isbn=0727731963] However, these buildings and construction had become a product of their own time and the Inner Ring Road was seen as splitting the city centre. [ [ How Masshouse splits the city centre] ] The elevated roadways and the ring roads gave Birmingham the tag; "Britain's motor city"." [ Tackling congestion in Birmingham] " - BBC News, 13 February, 2003] As a result of the postwar development, Birmingham also developed a reputation as a "concrete jungle", with the Bull Ring Shopping Centre being singled out as an example of this." [ New adventures in concrete] " - BBC Magazine, 5 September, 2003]

In the mid-1980s, Birmingham City Council decided that they needed to change the image Birmingham had to the public, and modernise the citycite book|author=Michael J. Thomas|coauthors=Peter Brand|title=Urban Environmentalism: Global Change and the Mediation of Local Conflict|year=2005|publisher=Routledge|isbn=0415304806] . The first main aim was to target the areas in the city centre that had not been developed following World War II, such as the canals. The council worked closely with Argent, a developer, who wanted to redevelop the area around the canals into a mixed use scheme Brindleyplace, which also consisted of the International Convention Centre being constructed. In 1990 they developed a masterplan together. [ [ Brindleyplace: History] ]

Another major part of the plan was to redevelop the skyline of the city. The skyline mainly consisted of postwar office buildings and through the creation of the "High Places" document, the council aimed to encourage highrise development in the city once more. Though the document has been met with criticism. [" [ Take Off Or Crash For Birmingham Skyline] " -, 2005-10-20]

The Birmingham Alliance

A large part of the scheme was the redevelopment of the Bullring Shopping Centre. Earlier plans for the redevelopment of the shopping centre were produced as early as the 1980s, however, the plans never got further than drawing board.cite book|author=Kennedy|title=Remaking Birmingham: The Visual Culture of Urban Regeneration|pages=17-18|year=2004|publisher=Routledge Ltd.|isbn=0415288398] It was a very much disliked building by the public and was a major part of the "concrete jungle" image. An alliance of investment and development companies was formed called the Birmingham Alliance who aimed to redevelop some of the large areas of Birmingham. They designed a £500 million shopping centre to replace the Bull Ring and in September 2003, it opened. [ [ WSP Group: Birmingham Bullring UK] ] The Bullring was a success, attracting millions of visitors in its first year. [" [ UK's busiest shopping centre] " - icBirmingham, September 3, 2004 (Accessed March 17, 2007)]

The Birmingham Alliance also set to work on another large regeneration scheme in another part of the city centre; Martineau Galleries. The development was split into two phases, with phase one being Martineau Place. They developed the Corporation Street site into a retail-led complex consisting of 28 shops. The second phase, named Martineau Galleries, is larger than Martineau Place [ [ Hammerson: Bullring - The Story] ] and is yet to begin construction. Located either side of Dale End, it will be a large mixed use scheme which also includes a 110 metre residential tower. ["Online Planning Application - Number C/07564/05/OUT", Birmingham Alliance, submitted 06/12/2005 to Birmingham City Council] The development has outline planning consent.

Optima Housing

Lee Bank was a large inner-city council estate, which was one of five areas designated as a redevelopment area following World War II under the title of "Bath Row Redevelopment Area". [ [ Tower Block Modernism vs. Urban Morphology: An analysis of Lee Bank, Birmingham] ] Originally slum housing, it was cleared by the council who constructed numerous tower blocks and low rise maisonettes. Lee Bank began to deteriorate following poor construction which led to inadequate maintenance. [ [ Birmingham Community Empowerment Network: BRIEFING 28 SEPT 05] ] The estate was purchased by Optima Housing who aimed to redevelop the site.

The development, known as Park Central, is phase one of a larger area Optima are developing called Attwood Green. Phase one is being built by Crest Nicholson and has resulted in the demolition of all the tower blocks on the former Lee Bank estate. [ [ Demolition of Haddon Tower] ] Park Central is one of Europe's largest urban renaissance projects. [ Optima Housing: History] ]

Optima Housing also own the Benmore, The Sentinels, Woodview and Five Ways estates. Phase two of Attwood Green will provide over 300 new homes on the Woodview estate, through a development agreement with Persimmon Homes. The Sentinels were refurbished in the early 2000s. [ [ Skyscrapernews: Clydesdale Tower] ]

Paradise Circus

Paradise Circus is a large site in the city centre, and the council has investigated the possibility of redeveloping the site following a possible relocation of Birmingham Central Library. At present, it is home to the Central Library, Birmingham Conservatoire (including the Adrian Boult Hall), Birmingham Library Theatre and Paradise Forum. It was designed by John Madin and the architecture of the conglomerate of buildings has received critical reviews. [ [ BBC: Trash or Treasure?] ]

The council has looked into relocating the library for many years. The original plan was to move it to the emerging Eastside district, [" [ Library of Birmingham and city centre park - outline planning application] " - GVA Grimley, 19/12/2003] which had been opened up to the city centre following the demolition of Masshouse Circus. [ [ Spring 2005 Update] ] A library was designed by Richard Rogers on a site in the area. However, for financial reasons, the plan was shelved and the council looked into separating the library into two sites; one at Millennium Point and one in Centenary Square. The plans have developed with the appointment of project managers, [" [ Capita Symonds appointed as Project Managers for the Library of Birmingham] " - Press Release by (1 September 2006)] however there was concern over the future of the project still. [" [ Library plans could be shelved] " - Birmingham Post (Jan 24 2007)] The current scheme, and the one now likely to go ahead, is to build the entire library on the Centenary Square site. The library would be joined to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre next door and share an entrance thus create a brand new complex. The plan has been costed at £193 million and would include a new mid-size theatre to complement the Rep's main house and small studio theatre.

The Paradise Circus redevelopment has been an important part of the redevelopment of the city centre, and plans from the 1990s suggested the construction of skyscrapers. [ [ Paradise Circus Redevelopment Tower] ] The site was also identified as an appropriate location for a tall building under the "High Places" document. [ High Places] ] The development is estimated to cost £1 billion, and the council has joined with several major developers involved in projects across the city to establish plans for the site. [" [ £1bn Paradise Circus makeover revealed] " - Birmingham Post, May 2 2005] However, a report into the financial feasibility of redeveloping the site warned the project was financially flawed and unlikely to succeed. [" [ Paradise Circus secrets revealed] " - icBirmingham, Feb 7 2005]

As of May 2007, Argent are investing £2 million to improve the interior of Paradise Forum. [" [ Touches of Paradise come to Forum at last] " - Birmingham Post, Jun 23 2006]


Eastside is a new area of Birmingham that was opened up following the demolition of Masshouse Circus which separated the area from the city centre. The council drew up plans to develop the former industrial area into a vibrant area. They also aimed to create a technology quarter, due to the proximity to Aston Science Park, and to create an education quarter, due to the proximity of Aston University.

The area has been sold to various developers who are being encouraged to build large mixed use schemes. The first building to be completed in Eastside was Millennium Point in the education quarter. This has since been followed by the completion of the New Technology Institute and the new Matthew Boulton College building.

Future plans for the area are in the form of Curzon Gate, Curzon Park, Ventureast and a City Park. Another development in the area is VTP200, a vertical theme park to be built by ROC International Towers [ [ ROC International Towers] ] adjacent to Millennium Point. [ [ Birmingham Pinnacle] (old name for tower)]


The Masshouse development has been made possible by the demolition of Masshouse Circus. This was known as the "concrete collar", and its demolition meant that the Eastside could be connected to the city centre. The cleared land was split into two phases; Masshouse and City Park Gate. Masshouse has already begun construction with one tower almost completed. A new outline planning application for the scheme has been submitted to increase the height of the larger office towers.

The City Park Gate scheme is being developed by two companies working together; Countryside Properties and Quintain. Due to the proximity to the proposed Library of Birmingham, Richard Rogers was appointed architect for the scheme. [ [,4,25,253,256 RSH-P: Birmingham City Park Gate] ] However, when the library plans were dropped, Richard Rogers pulled out of City Park Gate too. An outline planning application for the development, designed by MAKE architects, received consent on May 10, 2007. [" [ Make Architects get green light for City Park Gate project] " - World Architecture News (Monday 14 May 2007)] Construction is expected to begin in early 2008.

New Street Station

Designs were shown to the public in mid-February 2006 for a new Birmingham New Street Station in a project known as Gateway Plus. [ [ Re-New Street: Change at New Street] ] The plans featured a foyer of open space with a multi-storey entrance. The roof was composed completely of glass to allow natural light to enter the entrance hall. The façade will have rounded edges and the Pallasades Shopping Centre above the station will remain.

A planning application for outline planning permission was submitted to the council in August 2006 which shows a glass façade with rounded edges. The entrance on Station Street will comprise of two curved 130 metre tall towers on the site of Stephenson Tower.


The Snowhill scheme adjacent to Snow Hill station is a large mixed-use development on wasteland. Developed by Ballymore, it will feature two office blocks, a hotel tower and a 137 metre residential tower. [ [ Snowhill Birmingham website] ] Construction of the shortest building commenced in April 2007 with construction having been completed in May 2007. The hotel is expected to be of 4* or 5* quality, with Cushman & Wakefield being appointed to find the hotel operator. [" [ Hotel operator sought for Snow Hill, Birmingham] " - Cushman & Wakefield Press Release, 1 Nov, 2006] Construction of the residential and hotel towers, designed by Glenn Howells, is expected to begin in July 2007.

As part of the development, St Chads Circus was levelled with the underpasses filled in. [ St Chad's Intersection / Snow Hill Queensway roadworks] ] A square will be created adjacent to Saint Chad's Cathedral, in the hope of improving the area.

High rise development

To improve the skyline of Birmingham, the "High Places" document was produced by the council to outline appropriate places for highrise buildings and to explain what the council expects from their design. Birmingham city centre is located on a sandstone ridge and is about 100 metres above sea level meaning that towers no taller than 40 storeys are advised due to CAA height restrictions.

Several towers have been proposed for Birmingham since. Beetham Tower was originally proposed at 191 metres, however, the height restrictions meant the height was cut down to 122 metres. [ [ Holloway Circus Tower] ] It has since been completed. V Building, first known as Arena Central Tower, was first proposed at 245 metres [ [ Arena Central Tower] ] but was also shortened to 175 metres. The building was redesigned by Eric Kuhne [" [ Kuhne's Arena Central tower unveiled at MIPIM] " - Building, March 15, 2007] and is proposed at 152 metres. [ [ The V Building] ]

One building, Broad Street Tower, surpasses the height restrictions. It received planning approval in 2006 when Birmingham International Airport withdrew objections to the tower. [" [ Planners give go-ahead to 40-storey Birmingham tower] " - Birmingham Post (Sep 29 2006)]


Smaller projects include the construction of Colmore Plaza by Abstract Land [ [ Colmore Plaza website] ] on the site of the former Post and Mail Building which was demolished in early 2006. [ [ Birmingham Post and Mail HQ] ]

The Rotunda is being refurbished by Urban Splash into residential apartments from an office building. [ [ Skyline for Sale] - BBC Birmingham] The building was stripped to the core and floorplates [" [ Birmingham's Rotunda Development Naked at 40] " - Locate Birmingham, August 9 2006] before new full-height windows and cladding were added, plus two LED boards to the top of the building. [" [ Rotunda keeps an eye on the city] " - Birmingham Post, May 24 2007] Urban Splash also developed Fort Dunlop, a former factory building next to the M6 motorway, which opened in December 2006. [ [ Fort Dunlop website] ]

Residential development in the city has significantly increased [ [ Development in 2005-6] ] with the construction of Beetham Tower, Orion Building and The Mailbox. The final phase of the Mailbox, The Cube, begun construction in late 2006. Designed by Ken Shuttleworth, it will house luxury apartments, a rooftop restaurant and retail units on the ground floor. [ [ The Cube] ]

The Birmingham Super Hospital will be the city's first superhospital upon completion in 2009. [" [ Birmingham gets the go-ahead for new superhospital] " - UHB Press Release, 12/04/2006] The completion cost is estimated to be £559 million. The superhospital will replace Selly Oak Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The City of Birmingham Stadium is a proposed multi-purpose stadium in the Saltley area of Birmingham for Birmingham City F.C., to replace the current St Andrews Stadium in Bordesley Green. The original proposal was the centrepiece of a larger scheme to create a £300 million sports village on a 60 acre site, however, plans for the sports village fell through when plans for a proposed supercasino for the site also fell through. The stadium plans will rejuvenate a contaminated site currently used by Birmingham Wheels." [ New super stadium a step closer] " - Birmingham Mail, May 18 2007 (Accessed May 29, 2007)]

ee also

* List of highrise buildings in Birmingham, UK
* Architecture of Birmingham


External links

* [ A list of developments in this plan] (PDF format) you may need to zoom in to read the writing. (November 2004)

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