The first potential interventions in a major project to transform the city environment around Birmingham’s business district have been identified following the completion of a public realm masterplan.
The aim of the multi-stage project being designed by Broadway Malyan is to deliver more comfort for pedestrians and cyclists with a public realm that is able to host a variety of activities, add value for tenants and attract further investment.
Broadway Malyan has now completed a public realm framework across the whole Snow Hill area, which stretches from Steelhouse Lane to Victoria Square, and identified six project areas that will now go forward for detailed design development.
The six areas that have been identified are Colmore Row, the junction of Colmore Row and Newhall Street, Cornwall Street, the south end of Church Street towards Colmore Row, Barwick Street and Steelhouse Square outside Colmore Plaza at the top of Steelhouse Lane.
Broadway Malyan director Danny Crump, who is leading the professional delivery team that also includes SYSTRA, WYG and Hoare Lea, said the completion of the public realm masterplan laid down an important framework that established street typologies that could be implemented across the study area.
He said: “Each of these areas have their own character and characteristics with different needs and opportunities to improve the public realm and having completed the strategic plan we are now able to develop each area further and refine concepts while adhering to a consistent set of design principles.
“We are looking at initiatives that will completely reimagine the Snow Hill area by “detuning” the highway character, moving away from vehicle dominance and putting pedestrians and cyclists first and at its heart.
“Ultimately this will include the introduction of some new public spaces and pedestrian priority areas, new green infrastructure, pocket parks, new street furniture and general decluttering as well as encouraging businesses to spill out and occupy a more vibrant streetscene, helping to add value to the Snow Hill Area while creating a more interesting and energetic street environment.”
Mike Mounfield, projects manager at Colmore BID, added: “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to radically improve the experience of people who work, live and visit the Colmore area. We are currently building a coalition of property owners interested in supplementing the programme funding to make sure all these transformational projects go ahead.”
Councillor John Clancy, leader of Birmingham city council, said: “I’ll be watching with interest the regeneration of the area around Snow Hill and Colmore Row.
Not only is this the beating heart of Birmingham’s business district, it is also an important gateway into the city centre where improvements to the public realm are long overdue. The changes planned will help to revitalise Snow Hill making it easier to attract inward investment, creating jobs and inclusive economic growth.”
The detail design stage of the project is likely to take up to ten months with work potentially starting on the first project in late 2017.
An early delivery phase of the £10m project, which is being funded by Birmingham LEP’s Growth Fund subject to a full business case following an application by Birmingham City Council and Colmore BID, will see significant improvements to the square outside Snow Hill Station including traffic calming, new street furniture and tree planting alongside the development of a new underground restaurant.