Transforming the District in the face of adversity
Colmore Business District has undergone quite the transformation over the past 12 months. With many of us working from home during this time, this transformation may seem to have happened overnight, but I can tell you with confidence that these projects have taken the hard work and determination of the BID team and its partners in order for them to be realised. Our parklet scheme, which saw the creation of five new outdoor community spaces in 2020, grew with the addition of a further two on Church Street. These spaces have since been adorned with stunning artwork from several artists, including a former student of Birmingham School of Art.
It wasn’t just Church Street that had a splash of colour though as our ambition to install a new mural on Livery Street came to fruition. Following a delay on work due to Covid, artists EL Thrush and Anna Davies, also known as the Window Artists completed the 8ft high, 60ft wide mural at the entrance of Livery Street by the junction of Great Charles Queensway, with the theme ‘Greening the city’. If you haven’t seen this piece yet, I’d highly recommend you have a walk down as you take in the work that features various Birmingham landmarks and historical events.
Perhaps the BID’s most significant piece of public realm work to be completed in the last 12 months forms part of the £10 million Snow Hill Public Realm Programme. Work on Colmore Row East has seen the introduction of significantly wider pavements and improved access for pedestrians. The new stone paving installed has made the area more visually appealing as we not only aim to make Colmore Business District more attractive to those that work, live and visit here, but also improve safety by re-directing traffic around the city.
Alongside the Colmore Row project, Cornwall Street has seen a dramatic improvement in the quality of its public realm, again as part of the Snow Hill Programme. The quality of the stone paving, planting, benches and lighting, as well as the reduced emphasis on motor vehicles, have lifted this space to become the kind of place people will want to spend a little time, especially when the weather picks up!
Building upon our commitment to creating green spaces in the District, our Greening Strategy, which has been developed in partnership with Retail BID and co-funded with GBSLEP, launches this year.
The plan demonstrates the benefits of green infrastructure within the city and the significant role it can play in addressing global challenges such as the Covid pandemic, high street decline, climate change and health and wellbeing.
The wonderful thing about cities is how quickly they can evolve. The pandemic has meant this evolution has now become a necessity rather than a ‘nice to have’. Many of the programmes we are delivering look to further enhance the District’s offering, making it safer for those who frequent the area, while encouraging others to visit or invest. As always, our work continues and I look forward to playing a part in what Colmore BID has in store for the District next.