Birmingham City Council has unveiled a ‘City Centre Retail Strategy’, which will see the transformation of the ‘Retail Core’, strengthening its position as a destination of choice for visitors and shoppers.
The strategy builds on the strengths of the ‘Retail Core’ and its distinctive character areas, taking a comprehensive view to ensure it provides an outstanding experience.
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. It will see the ‘Retail Core’s’ current offer expanded to include leisure, family entertainment, food and beverage and the revitalisation of key streets.
The strategy capitalises on a range of investments currently underway which are continuing the overall improvement of the ‘Retail Core’. Some highlights include the £150m Grand Central shopping centre with its £35m flagship John Lewis store, a £50m refurbishment of The Mailbox, £20m refurbishment of Selfridges, over £30m in improving the public realm to create a high quality and exciting environment and upward of £300m in the Metro network. In the longer term, High Speed 2’s arrival in the City Centre will bring huge additional benefits.
The vision for the future of the ‘Retail Core’ 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 in the City’s Retail Core 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. The strategy can be downloaded and details of how to make comments can be found at www.birmingham.gov.uk/ccretailstrategy
Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council, 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 at Birmingham City Council, 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 Birmingham City Council, said: “The Retail Strategy sits in the context of the City Council’s 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.”