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Birmingham is to spend a total of £15 million on a string of new regeneration schemes which are to be developed as part of the council’s Big City Plan

Speaking at the MIPIM international exhibition in Cannes, the world’s leading property and investment event, Coun Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council, revealed how £10 million set aside by the council in its 08/09 budget will be spent to develop the city centre.

Key projects set to benefit from today’s announcement include the £12 million City Park, a new multi-storey car park in Eastside and redevelopment of Curzon Street Station and Digbeth Institute.

Part of the money, which will be supplemented by £5 million from partner agencies, will also be used to improve connectivity and street scenes for pedestrians travelling between the Jewellery Quarter, city centre and Mailbox.

Cash will also be made available for the Interconnect Birmingham project – which seeks to improve the legibility of signs and ease of pedestrian movement within the city.

Coun Whitby said: “The Big City Plan sets ambitious targets for the future of the city, and we are consulting with as wide an audience as possible on to ensure we get this ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity right. However all the good work and ambitious development plans do not simply stop while this process is taking place.

Both Curzon Street Station, in Eastside, and the Digbeth Institute are listed buildings which over recent years had fallen into disuse and disrepair. Thanks to today’s announcement the council will now be able to push ahead with plans to restore the fabric of each and work with developers to bring them back into use.

Coun Whitby added: “Clearly one of the biggest issues facing a compact city centre such as Birmingham is how to maximise access and movement between our many significant tourist and economic attractions.

“As our status on a national and international stage grows, and the expansion of both New Street and the airport grow ever closer, this pressure will only increase. That is why it is so important that we act now, to capitalise truly on the opportunities which are over the horizon, and ensure they are felt as widely as possible throughout the city.”

Connecting the Jewellery Quarter more effectively to the core city centre has long been one of Birmingham’s main challenges. The Council now plans to tackle this issue by improving the appearance and ease of access to streets running between St Philip’s Cathedral to St Paul’s Church, while at the same time encourage more bars, restaurants and shops to open along the routes.

A similar project aiming to “beautify” connecting streets will also take place between the Mailbox and New Street Station.

Ends (449 words)

For further information please contact:

Simon Houltby
Press Officer, Birmingham City Council
0121 303 3503

Or

Andy Skinner,
Press Officer, Team Birmingham

07990 978257

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