In the coming weeks, we will delve into an in-depth analysis of the UK's most notable infrastructure projects to ascertain their current status. Our comprehensive investigation will encompass Crossrail, Tideway, Hinkley Point C, the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station, the Stonehenge Tunnel, HS2, the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme, and Birmingham's Big City Plan. This week, we delve into Birmingham's ambitious Big City Plan, a transformative endeavour set to catapult the city from its outdated state into the realm of modernity. This visionary plan aims to expand the city's central area by more than 25%, breathing new life into Birmingham and solidifying its position as a vibrant and thriving hub in the heart of the Midlands.
What is the Birmingham Big City Plan?
The Birmingham Big City Plan is a visionary framework that outlines the city's ambitious transformation over the next two decades. Widely regarded as one of the most ambitious development projects in the UK, this plan aims to revitalise Birmingham and propel it into a world-class city centre. A key aspect of the plan is the substantial expansion of the city's core area by 25%, enabling Birmingham to keep pace with the rapidly changing landscape and establish itself as a vibrant and thriving urban hub.
Following the devastation suffered during World War II, Birmingham underwent significant reconstruction in the 1960s, marked by the construction of the Inner Ring Road, Bull Ring Shopping Centre, and the redevelopment of New Street Station. While these endeavours were instrumental in restoring the city's former glory, they were primarily driven by cost considerations and reflected the architectural trends of that era. Recognising the need for continued progress, the Birmingham Big City Plan was formulated in 2008 by various committees, envisioning a more forward-looking and sustainable future for the city centre.
This ambitious project incorporates principles of sustainable development, acknowledging the challenges posed by climate change and incorporating measures to mitigate its impact on the city's transformation. Moreover, the plan aims to generate over 50,000 job opportunities, improve public spaces, and inject a greater sense of culture into Birmingham.
As part of the overall development, Birmingham successfully launched "Birmingham's Clean Air Zone" in June 2021, which operates in the central area. This initiative, similar to London's Low Emission Zones, imposes a daily fee on vehicles that fail to meet emission standards. The implementation of the Clean Air Zone not only aligns with the city's commitment to sustainability but has already yielded positive results, with a 13% decrease in Nitrogen Dioxide Levels within the first year.
With its comprehensive vision and bold aspirations, the Birmingham Big City Plan sets the stage for a remarkable transformation of Birmingham, ensuring its continued evolution as a dynamic and globally recognised city.
Contractors Involved in the Big City Plan
Arcadis are responsible as lead consultants
History of the Big City Plan
2008 - The plan is launched with an extensive public consultation stage
2009 - Brindley place, a new urban neighbourhood is completed and the first commercial building Snowhill is completed
2010 - Construction begins for Grand Central Shopping Center
2012 - Eastside City Park launches
2013 - New library opens
2014 - Snowhill two is complete
2015 - Redevelopment of New Street Station launches
2015 - Grand Central shopping centre opens it doors following 5 years of construction
2017 - plans for mixed-use, £330 million regeneration of New Garden Square is lodged
2018 - Phase 1 begins
2019 - Snowhill three is completed, phase 2 begins
2020 - Phase 1 is completed
2021 - Construction of Birmingham Curzon for HS2 project begins
Where is the Big City Plan currently?
In July 2022, Birmingham proudly assumed the role of host city for the Commonwealth Games, showcasing exceptional athletic talent from around the world. This momentous occasion has spurred a remarkable £700 million public investment throughout the city, paving the way for its transformative journey.
Currently, the Big City Plan is progressing through its second phase, scheduled for completion in 2023. This phase is centred around cultivating growth in new areas, providing fertile ground for companies to flourish and generating fresh opportunities. It is an exciting endeavour that seeks to create innovative spaces and propel Birmingham to the forefront of urban development.
The Big City Plan has its sights set on long-term prospects, actively exploring opportunities for investment and growth within the city. This includes leveraging the completion of HS2, a high-speed railway link, as a catalyst for progress. Additionally, there is a focus on extending the plan's reach to encompass the wider areas of the city, with a view to maximising its potential.
Through its commitment to the Commonwealth Games, the ongoing development of the Big City Plan, and its forward-thinking approach to future opportunities, Birmingham is poised to realize its full potential as a thriving and dynamic metropolis.
The Big City Plan is now set to enter an exciting phase of completion, with several prominent projects nearing their final stages. Among these notable endeavours are Birmingham Cruzon, New Garden Square, and Peddimore.
Birmingham Cruzon stands as a testament to the city's commitment to progress, serving as a vibrant and dynamic development that will enhance the urban landscape. Meanwhile, New Garden Square will provide an innovative and modern space for both businesses and residents, fostering a sense of community and creativity. Finally, Peddimore represents an ambitious venture that will unlock new opportunities and contribute to the economic growth of the region.
As the Big City Plan progresses, it is currently in the midst of Phase 2, which commenced in 2019 and is slated for completion in 2023. This pivotal phase signifies a significant step forward in realizing the plan's vision, bringing new vitality and transformation to Birmingham's urban fabric.
With the impending completion of these remarkable projects and the ongoing progress of Phase 2, the Big City Plan is poised to propel Birmingham into a new era of prosperity, innovation, and quality of life for its residents and visitors alike.
Created over 30,000 job opportunities
Created 1.5million square metres of floor space for new businesses
5,000 new homes to be built
28km of improved pedestrian and cycle paths
Last week we took a look into the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme, click here to find out more