Birmingham City Council has today (26 January) launched a consultation on the future vision for Birmingham City Centre – the ‘Our Future City Plan: Central Birmingham 2040’ (OFCP) represents a momentous refresh of the hugely influential Big City Plan from 2011 and outlines an ambition to establish Birmingham as a green, equitable, liveable and distinctive city by 2040.

The Plan is guided by six strategic ‘City Themes’ – focused on creating a city characterised by multiple centres, inclusive growth, easy access to nature, multilayered culture, and knowledge and innovation – all of which could bring potentially bold changes to the city’s built environment.

Fundamental to achieving its vision, the OFCP proposes to redefine the extent of the city centre by looking beyond the inner ring road – which has long been a barrier to the evolution of the city – and out towards inner-city suburbs such as Balsall Heath, Bordesley Green, Lozells and Edgbaston, as a means to promote and link growth opportunities and investment to these communities.

The vision of the Plan is more pertinent than ever in the context of the city’s declaration of a Climate Emergency in 2019, its status as the UK’s first ‘Biophilic City’, and also the economic and social challenges to urban environments that have been exposed more recently as a result of Covid-19.

In terms of locations to be aware of, the Plan sets out a commitment to unlocking new and unrealised development opportunities for mixed-use development across eight Central Renewal Areas. These are: Hockley and St Georges; the Knowledge Quarter and Nechells; Digbeth and Bordesley; Park Birmingham; Smithfield and Rea Valley; Highgate and Balsall Heath; Edgbaston Village; and Ladywood. In these areas, the City Council will be proactive in developing, enabling and encouraging innovative delivery partnerships across community, development and investment sectors to bring about change.

These renewal areas will also sit alongside established major development sites such as Paradise, Arena Central and Smithfield, the delivery of which was initiated by the publication of the first Big City Plan.

To review the Plan and learn more about its vision, visit Birmingham City Council’s consultation website. It is important to note that feedback to the OFCP consultation will go on to inform the next stage of work – a draft Central Birmingham 2040 Framework, to be launched for consultation in the summer – and therefore Rapleys’ Planning team in Birmingham would be happy to assist with any queries or consultation responses you wish to make in relation to this. Please contact Jeevan Thandi or Sarah Smith for more information.