Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham Smithfield city centre development plans unveiled

Artist's impression of proposal Image copyright Birmingham Marketing
Image caption The development would "drastically improve" the city centre, it is claimed

A £500m plan to regenerate part of the centre of Birmingham has been unveiled by developers.

To be called Birmingham Smithfield, the project involves moving the wholesale market to make way for a major shopping area, tram line and 1,000 homes.

Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore said it would "drastically improve what the city has to offer".

The ideas are being shown to investors at an international property show and will go to public consultation.

The wholesale market was already due to move in 2016. The retail market would remain in the Smithfield development.

Birmingham Smithfield

Image copyright Context model © Zmapping 2015
Image caption Birmingham Smithfield will be near the planned Curzon terminal for the HS2 rail line
  • 100,000 sq m (1,076,391 sq m) of retail floor space
  • 1,000 new homes
  • Family leisure quarter
  • New public spaces, including a centrepiece market square
  • New Midland Metro tram line
  • New cycle and pedestrian routes

A planned Midland Metro tram line, to serve the new HS2 rail terminus and the east of the city, will run along the edge of Birmingham Smithfield development.

The new Curzon terminus station for the HS2 high speed rail line. linking the city to London and Manchester, which is expected to open in 2026, will be adjacent to the new development, the city council said.

A residential hub is planned between Pershore Street and Barford Street, with 1,000 new homes.

The city council said Birmingham Smithfield had "the potential to become an attractive place to live in the city".

Image copyright Birmingham City Council
Image caption The development will include a residential hub with 1,000 homes

The existing wholesale market will move to a 210,000 sq ft (19,510 sq m) site at The Hub industrial estate in Witton, using £40m of Enterprise Zone funding.

Some traders said they were relieved after "more than five years of uncertainty".

However Peter Marshall, of the Wholesale Fresh Produce Association, said there was still some uncertainty about how sales would be affected by moving out of the city centre.

History of the wholesale market

Image caption Birmingham Wholesale Markets Precinct was built in the 1970s
  • 1817: Smithfield cattle market opens
  • 1869: Wholesale fish market opens in Bell Street - demolished in 1958
  • 1892: Cattle and pig market opens in Montague Street
  • 1897: City meat market and abattoir opens in Bradford Street
  • 1974: First part of a 21-acre wholesale market opens in Digbeth
  • 2013: Digbeth site declared not "fit for purpose" by city council
  • 2014: City council announces wholesale market will move to Witton

Marketing Birmingham said funding for the new development would come from £275m committed by Birmingham City Council for the City Centre Enterprise Zone.

Andy Street, chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, said the organisation was "absolutely behind realising huge opportunities such as Birmingham Smithfield".

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