A plan setting out Birmingham’s vision for the way the city centre retail landscape will evolve in the future is set to be approved by the city council’s cabinet.
The Birmingham City Centre Retail Strategy aims to provide a clear framework that will guide future development and investment decisions regarding the city centre’s retail offering.
The long-term intention is to ensure that Birmingham is able to offer a high quality environment, an attractive public realm, convenient connections and a pleasurable shopping experience to visitors. In particular, the strategy identifies a need for greater diversity in the retail and leisure activity in the core city centre area.
Birmingham’s retail offer received a boost with the recent opening of the successful Grand Central shopping centre, above the newly refurbished New Street station, creating an immediate and eye-catching focal point for visitors to the city, together with the revamped Mailbox due to open later this month.
Major future proposals for the city centre include the Birmingham Smithfield development, Arena Central, the Martineau Galleries and the arrival of High Speed 2 in Eastside, significantly enhancing the city’s connectivity. The Midland Metro extension will also help better connect the city centre core with areas such as Digbeth’s creative quarter.
Councillor Tahir Ali, cabinet member for development, transport and the economy, said: “Expectations of what city centres should offer is changing, with shoppers now wanting a diverse range of shops and services, including mainstream, high-end, independent, specialist and value retailers, complemented by a food, beverage and leisure offer. Being able to create a shopping experience is key to encouraging people to spend more time and money within the city centre, which in turn will help attract more investment and, ultimately, help create new jobs and boost the local economy.
“While Birmingham has developed a strong mainstream offer, there is still a need for a more diverse range of leisure and retail activity in the core city centre area. In short, we know Birmingham has plenty to offer to visitors, but we want to make it even better in the long-term, which is why this strategy is so important. Our shared aim is for Birmingham to be a vibrant, attractive, prosperous and better-connected city for all who visit, live or work here.”