The second phase of consultation for one of the most eagerly awaited - and controversial - development schemes in Birmingham has been announced.
The public after being invited to air their views on the plans to transform Paradise Circus - the eight acre site currently occupied by Birmingham Central Library, the Copthorne Hotel and the Conservatoire - once they are demolished on the completion of the New Library for Birmingham.
The fate of the old library was all but sealed once the Government decided not to list the John Madin-designed building and a new library in Centenary Square was commissioned although campaigners have consistently argued that the Brutalist structures are a crucial part of Birmingham’s urban history.
Nevertheless, Coun Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council, believes the potential redevelopment of the site is an opportunity not to missed.
He said: “This is one of the most strategically and historically important sites, not just for Birmingham but for the UK itself. The plans for Paradise Circus are at the forefront of Birmingham’s new Enterprise Zone and the Big City Plan. They have the capability and capacity to create a high quality commercial, retail and leisure development that will encourage visitors, open up other parts of our city and return our
world class historic buildings to a more suitable setting at the very heart of Birmingham. I would encourage everyone to view the proposals and see what could be achieved.”
It is anticipated that the proposed redevelopment of this eight acre site which lies between Centenary Square and Chamberlain Square, could comprise up to 1.7 m sq ft of commercial space spread across 12 new buildings, all set within a series of new streets and squares.
The exhibition will include a model of the proposed scheme and a series of display panels which will highlight plans for the redevelopment, setting out the key issues and design principles for the site.
Developer and joint land owner Argent - which has a long-standing agreement with the city council on the site - is working alongside Gary Taylor’s Altitude Real Estate, and representatives from both organisations will be joined at the exhibition by Glenn Howells Architects, planning consultants Drivers Jonas Deloitte and transport planners, Peter Brett Associates to respond to queries.
Argent project director Rob Groves said: “These proposals have the capacity to make a major transformation to a key part of Birmingham city centre. The exhibition highlights the major elements of our plans including connectivity, the setting of historic buildings, improved public realm and sustainability. Any feedback received will inform our plans and ensure that the redevelopment of Paradise Circus is influenced by the people of Birmingham.”
Birmingham City Council and developer Argent signed an Exclusivity Agreement in February 2009 and between them, own or lease the majority of the land within Paradise Circus. Argent has committed significant funds over the last three years to exploring the development opportunities
and is working towards entering into a landowning Joint Venture Agreement with the City Council. Once the proposals have been worked up as a result of the public consultation, it is likely that an outline planning application will be submitted in Summer 2012.
The exhibition is to be held in The Waterhall Gallery in Edmund Street, to the rear of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery on the following days:
*Wednesday February 22 between 3pm and 7pm
*Thursday February 23 between 8am and 8pm
*Friday February 24 between 8am and 3pm
*Saturday February 25 between 9am and 1pm
For those unable to attend the Exhibition, a website showcasing the proposals for Paradise Circus will be available at www.paradisecircus.co.uk from 22nd February. Feedback forms for the project can be also completed and submitted online.