Birmingham Smithfield to attract £500 million of investment

By on 11/03/2015 in Leader, News

  • The ten year plan will see the redevelopment of 14 hectares of prime city centre land
  • The site will deliver over 100,000 sq. metres of floorspace, 1,000 new homes and 3,000 new jobs, adding £470 million GVA to the local economy and attracting millions more visitors to the region
  • The plan will see the creation of a unique destination that includes vibrant retail markets, an exciting new family leisure quarter and new residential neighbourhoods
  • The launch of the plan marks the start of extensive public consultation as the city seeks to deliver a legacy development

Birmingham is today (Wednesday 11th March) launching a £500 million plan to regenerate a 14 hectare site at the heart of its city centre. It represents a once in a generation opportunity to deliver a unique destination for the city, which builds on the area’s rich heritage and focus for retail markets.

Based in the city centre, Birmingham Smithfield will be able to capitalise on its location next to the prime shopping area – which attracts over 40 million visitors a year, spending £2 billion on the local economy – and New Street Station, which is used by more than 51 million people a year.

The development will be set within a vibrant new area, featuring high quality pedestrian and cycle routes, and a series of new public spaces. This includes Market Square, the focal point for the site, around which the markets and family leisure quarter will be located.

The 14 hectare site is expected to create over 100,000 sq. metres of new floorspace, 1,000 new homes and 3,000 new jobs, adding £470 million GVA to the local economy and attracting millions more visitors to Birmingham.

The city’s Midland Metro tram system will be integrated into the site and bring Birmingham Smithfield within minutes of the proposed high speed rail (HS2) terminus at Curzon nearby. Further enhancements to public transport facilities for the site will also be delivered.

Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham has an impressive track record of investing in its future. The £600 million redevelopment of New Street rail station will complete this year, while the transformation of its retail scene – which includes the Mailbox, Grand Central, Selfridges and John Lewis – will drastically improve what the city has to offer. Birmingham Smithfield presents a once in a generation opportunity to build upon our recent successes and deliver a truly unique asset for the city. Our plans for Birmingham Smithfield will create a vibrant new destination – adding to the city’s reputation as a top visitor destination and a great place to live and do business.”

The area’s vibrant heritage, dating back to 1166 with its focus on markets, will be central to its future transformation, with the name Birmingham Smithfield reflecting its unique history. While the area’s wholesale markets will move, its retail markets will be improved to encourage more niche and specialist traders to locate alongside the famous brands on offer at the nearby Bullring retail centre.

Designed as a family quarter, Birmingham Smithfield is expected to further establish the city’s reputation as an increasingly popular visitor destination. Birmingham – named by Rough Guides as one of the top ten global locations to visit this year – attracted a record 34 million visitors from outside the region in 2013, while work to target tourists in markets such as China and India has increased the number of international trips to the city by 32%.

Andy Street, Chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP, commented: “Birmingham Smithfield provides a new and exciting opportunity to secure investment for the city’s gathering renaissance – which will create new jobs and long-term economic growth. The site’s status as part of the City Centre Enterprise Zone will bring added impetus. The LEP is absolutely behind realising huge opportunities such as Birmingham Smithfield, and over £40 million of Enterprise Zone funding has already been committed to supporting the delivery of these plans.”

The plan for Birmingham Smithfield is being unveiled at international real estate show MIPIM, where major cities across the world showcase their development opportunities to international investors.

Waheed Nazir, Director of Planning and Regeneration at Birmingham City Council, added: “The opportunity to create such a unique and vibrant development is very rare. Birmingham Smithfield will have a transformational impact that capitalises on the area’s unique heritage and focus for markets. It will radically enhance the city’s retail, visitor and residential offer, as well as unlocking the growth potential of a much wider area. By showcasing the scheme at MIPIM, we are directly targeting potential investors and developers to secure interest from across the globe.”

A launch in Birmingham on 19th March will see the commencement of an eight-week period of public consultation. Birmingham City Council will be holding a series of exhibitions and events for the people of Birmingham to visit and contribute their ideas. The Birmingham Smithfield visioning document is the starting point to develop a clear plan for the future of site and leave a legacy for the City.



  • In 1816, the Street Commissioners purchased the old moated Manor House of the De Birmingham family and a year later opened the Smithfield Cattle Market on the site which now forms part of the Wholesale Markets Precinct.
  • The Old St. Martin’s Market was used as a Wholesale Market until 1897. The Wholesale Fish Market in Bell Street was opened in 1869 and demolished in 1958.
  • St. Martin’s Lane opened in 1883 and was divided into two sections, the larger upper part forming the wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market, and the lower part, bordering Moat Row, initially used as a toll market for farmers and growers. The lower part was also home to the retail Rag Market each Tuesday and Saturday afternoon selling clothing, hardware and manufactured goods.
  • A Cattle and Pig Market in Montague Street was opened in 1892.
  • The City Meat Market and Abattoir in Bradford Street opened in 1897. The deterioration of the old Smithfield and City Meat Markets, the loss of the Fish Markets in Bell Street for the new Inner Road, and congestion of the narrow streets around the wholesale area, all led to the decision to build a new Wholesale Market complex. In February 1974 phase 1 of the scheme, the New Fish, Meat and Poultry Markets, was opened for trade.

Media contacts

  • Rebecca Bannister, PR manager, Marketing Birmingham – 07903 924 896 / 0121 202 5112,
  • Rabia Raza, PR executive, Marketing Birmingham – 0121 202 5002,



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