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‘Distinctive streets and places’ vision for Birmingham shopping core

‘Distinctive streets and places’ vision for Birmingham shopping core

🕔16.Sep 2014

Shoppers are being asked for their views on a city council strategy to transform Birmingham’s retail core and strengthen its position as a “destination of choice for visitors and shoppers”.

Planners want to build on the current £220 million of investment in the city centre, which includes development of the Grand Central shopping centre with a John Lewis store as well as refurbishment of the Mailbox and Selfridges.

The intention is to increase the diversity of the retail offer, making sure that Birmingham does not rely solely on the mix of chain stores to be found in any other large city.

Two key themes are central to the strategy: the delivery of a high quality attractive environment with distinctive streets and places and the creation of a “unique and diverse offer” which could include more street markets.

The aim is to expand the retail core’s’ offer to include leisure, family entertainment, food and beverage and the revitalisation of key streets.

The vision has been developed in partnership with Retail Birmingham, the Business Improvement District for the retail core, and has been informed by extensive stakeholder engagement.

Major investors including Hammerson, part owners of the Bullring, John Lewis and owners of The Mailbox, Brockton Capital and Milligan, are supportive of the council’s ambition to have a comprehensive vision for the future of the retail core and see the strategy as a key part of this.

A six-week period of public consultation will start on 19 September 2014 running until 31 October 2014.

Council leader Sir Albert Bore said: “Birmingham has a highly attractive and successful retail core that positions the city as one of the top destinations in the UK. The strategy will be integral to the ongoing transformation of the retail core and is testament to our commitment to the improvement and enhancement of the city.”

Cllr Tahir Ali, cabinet member development, transport and the economy , said: “We recognise that while the city centre is very successful there is more that needs to be done both now and into the future to ensure it retains and strengthens its position.

This will include diversifying the offer to provide for changing demands with leisure, family entertainment, food and beverage and enhanced retail markets. We also need to match this with an outstanding public realm. The Retail Strategy sets out the vision and actions to deliver the ambition.”

Jonathan Cheetham, chair of Retail Birmingham, said: “The launch of the strategy is a great statement for the city providing a comprehensive vision for the future of the retail core. Partnership working and the pooling of resources will be key to delivering our ambition to strengthen the role of the centre as a top visitor destination.

“The involvement of retailers, businesses, landowners and developers in the implementation of the strategy will be crucial to its success”.

Waheed Nazir, director of planning and regeneration at the council, said: “The retail strategy sits in the context of ambitious plans for growth for the city centre and the city as a whole. A strong retail offer and a successful city centre are key elements of the growth agenda, and the strategy seeks to respond to these aspirations.”

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