Spotlight on…Birmingham

Birmingham is often described as the UK’s ‘second city’ and is the social, cultural and commercial centre of the Midlands.

The birthplace of the Balti, and with more canals than Venice, Birmingham is home to the world-renowned Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Royal Ballet, and of course … Cadbury’s chocolate!

Birmingham is also home to over a million people, having the youngest profile of any major European city with 37% of the population under 25 years of age and an average of just 36!

Recent years have seen some major building and redevelopment work take place across the city, with even more projects in the pipeline, providing enhanced connectivity and transport links and making Birmingham an exciting place in which to live and work:

Redevelopment of Paradise Circus

This £700 million project is set to completely transform Birmingham city centre and is being hailed a ‘once on a generation’ project. Work began on ‘Paradise’ in 2020 and is being developed out in phases, with a target date for completion of 2029. Once completed, the project will provide the city with office spaces, retail, housing, hospitality, and leisure facilities. Phase one is now complete, which saw the existing Chamberlain Square being completely revamped and is now home to PwC, and work is currently underway on One Centenary Way, which will house engineering giant Arup, bringing 1,000 jobs to the city from its current base in Solihull. The project will also see the world’s first truly octagonal residential tower, ‘Octagon’.  The wider redevelopment has also seen HSBC bring a large volume of jobs out of London.

HS2 and Curzon Street Station

Phase one of HS2 will run from London to Birmingham and is expected to carry over 300,000 passengers a day, around 100 million a year, once fully operational. A £570 million new station at Curzon Street, Birmingham, will be developed, which will see £900 million invested into regenerating the area around the new station. The scheme will take place over 30 years, leading to several new neighbourhoods being created, including 4,000 new homes and 36,000 jobs.

Birmingham Metro

The Midland Metro extension comprises a host of major infrastructure works, which will see trams travel through Birmingham city centre and to surrounding areas, improving local connectivity to the city. The ‘Westside’ development will connect Grand Central to Centenary Square, Broad Street, Five Ways and Hagley Road, with plans recently approved by West Midlands Combined Authority’s board to seek to extend the line to the Black Country. The ‘Eastside’ development will bring Metro services to Digbeth and serve the HS2 station at Curzon Street.

Commonwealth Games

Following Birmingham’s successful bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022, plans are well under way to redevelop Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium and for the Perry Barr Residential Scheme, originally intended to be used as a temporary athletes’ village but which will now constitute a major housing scheme which will deliver 968 new homes, including 312 affordable homes.

Proposed Digbeth transformation

A £1 billion redevelopment of Digbeth over a ten-to-fifteen-year period has earlier this year been approved by Birmingham City Centre’s planning committee. The scheme will include up to 2.2 million sq ft of commercial space and 1,850 homes, together with shops, restaurants, cafes and leisure facilities, with more than 16,000 jobs expected to be created.

The Mailbox

Adapting and responding to how we work now, the Mailbox will provide a significant contribution towards the need for flexible office space in 2022.

Logistics and innovation

The West Midlands already has the highest ratio of warehouse floorspace to homes, and the largest amount of floorspace nationally, reflecting the national distribution role of the wider City area.  Couple this with the engineering legacy of the area and the innovation being promoted, looking forward; with exciting joint public/private projects like the Advanced Manufacturing Hub in Aston, it’s an exciting time to be in the centre of things.

Our work

Our experienced team in Birmingham carries out a spread of Planning work in various sectors such as logistics, strategic housing and retail. Advising on a range and scale of projects, we have a real depth of expertise in highly specialised planning work including planning litigation in the Planning Court.  That has included advising on a proposed 2,000 home strategic urban extension, as well as the legal challenge to the proposed road tunnelling proposals at Stonehenge. New clients this year in this area include Asda, Historic England, Persimmon Homes and L&Q Estates.

Planning Partners, Tim Willis and Stuart Tym and Senior Associate Rachael Coulsting are key contacts within Shoosmiths’ Birmingham Planning Team, which is ranked in both Chambers and Legal 500 directories and is a top 5 firm in the Planning Magazine review of specialist Planning Lawyers.


This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.


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