My project to understand how the Inner Ring Road affected Birmingham
has resulted in me becoming interested in how the city is changing
today. Having been working in the city centre since 2002, I have
seen many changes already. I've witnessed the construction
of Beetham Tower, Centenary Plaza and Holliday Wharf on my walk to
work. Near my office, derelict land has been converted to inner
city apartments. I believe what is happening to the city today is
every bit as important as what happened in the 1950's and 1960's.
What's different today is the Internet. So much information is
available, you can't begin to imagine! The problem is that it's
not always easy to find unless you know what you're looking for.
I intend to help by providing links to some of the important sites.
The current round of changes to Birmingham started in the mid
1980's. The construction of Symphony Hall and the ICC, the NIA,
Brindley Place etc. saw an unloved part of the city centre
rejuvinated. When I was a child, the Central Library was as far
as I went! Oh, unless the Ideal Homes Exhibition was on at
Bingley Hall, of course. What's happened since has been part of a
grand plan created by the City Council. The regrading of the
eastern side of the Inner Ring Road and demolition of Masshouse Circus,
the creation of the new Bull Ring, Millenium Point - the list is almost
endless. There used to be a superb website (www.howlers.co.uk)
that contained a superb record of the changes but it sadly
disappeared. At least the
pictures of the old Bull Ring
are still online...
What you may not realise is that there is so
much more to come! The
place to start is the 'Unitary
'. This rather dry document can be purchased
or downloaded in sections. This is the plan for the whole of the
city, not just the city centre so you can find out what's intended for
where you live. It's interesting because it was updated in 2005
having been unchanged since 1993. You can see where changes have
been made due to developments being completed or dropped. The UDP
refers to local, Supplementary Planning Guidance documents. These
provide much more detail and can be found by searching the council website
- they are
well worth digging out.
For the city centre, the Major
page is where it's at. Also, the Blueprint
is worth downloading as it provides a good summary for
the city centre and city as a whole. More information on key
developments can be found at the Locate
website. I would also recommend downloading the
latest copy of Future
, also from Locate Birmingham.
Three of the big developments in the offing are as follows:-
- This will see
the demolition of Oasis, Argos, Priory Square shopping precinct, Toys
'R' Us and the Academy. It's a massive undertaking, due for
completion in 2011.
- Another massive
project involving the demolition of the old Central TV Studios and the
unused Holliday Street multi-storey car park.
Bristol Street South
Matthew Boulton college having relocated and Monaco House practically
empty, the council is looking for a partner to redevelop this area of
the city. I find it fascinating that the development brief
insists that, "Buildings should front onto streets with active
elevations". In other words, just like it was before they pulled
it all down in the 1960's! Another snippet I found rather
surprising was this...
On this page I will also add links some of my own photo's and notes
about current developments. I hope they are of interest.
Some of you may be wondering what relevance all this is to what is,
primarily, a history site. All I can say is that when my father
took his pictures, what was happening was current for him. It
won't be long before the pictures I take now will be showing the
history of the redevelopment of Birmingham.
Just one final point. I think the changes that have happened
since the mid 1980's and the schemes planned for the future are really
succeeding in improving Birmingham. Much as we'd like to, we can
never go back to the city captured by my father's photographs. We
must be proud of how the city is shaping up and how the mistakes of the
1950's and 1960's are being acknowledged and undone.
Don't miss this limited
photograph a part of old Brum! *
* Birmingham School of Speech
and Drama demolished! *
Register Office moving from Broad Street to Holliday Street *
* Birmingham's famous Rotunda reborn *
Centre refurbishment *
House to be brought back to life...? *
West Tower - what next? *
Brum Burns - to lose one
building is careless, to lose three is outrageous *
* The King
Returns - Edward VII back in the city centre *
* Library of Birmingham *