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Birmingham’s Our Future City Plan

Mark Hempshell comments

Birmingham has undergone a dramatic transformation over the last few decades, from a post-industrial regional city to one of European significance. However, the city is now making plans to move on to the next level with the recent launch of Birmingham’s Our Future City Plan – Central Birmingham 2040.

The Our Future City Plan (or OFCP) builds on Birmingham’s Big City Plan of 2010. The Big City Plan was a 20-year city centre masterplan focused on five areas to support the growth of the city core. It had an aim of creating 1.5m sqm of new floor space, 5,000 new homes and 50,000 new jobs.

Whilst it wouldn’t be unfair to say that not all the ideas in the Big City Plan have been realised, the level of development and regeneration in Birmingham has been impressive indeed. Projects which have transformed the city include Snowhill, Paradise Circus and Arena Central to name but a few, with preparations for the arrival of HS2 underway and large projects at Smithfield and the Martineau Galleries upcoming.

Birmingham City Council launched Birmingham’s Our Future City Plan at the end of January at a live streaming event with council and industry figures under the theme of ‘shaping our city together’. The initial proposals are open for public feedback, including a series of online events, until 26 March.

The feedback received on this plan will be used to create an Our Future City Plan: Central Birmingham 2040 Draft Framework to shape future statutory and non-statutory plans. The aim is to launch this for consultation this summer and approve it in early 2022.

Now to look at what OFCP involves. The founding principles of the plan are that, as elsewhere, Birmingham faces a number of challenges. The plan mentions climate change, that digital technology is changing working and living patterns, Covid, inequality and the housing shortage. The plan has been framed to help achieve the three objectives of sustainable development – a city that delivers social, economic and environmental gains to its people.

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