Category Archives: News

Council supports website helping homeless people make the right move  

Homeless people in Birmingham are just one click away from connecting with with local landlords thanks to a new website Homeless Rooms Birmingham .

HomelessRooms logoBirmingham City Council is working with the creators of this new scheme in a pilot to help homeless people make the right move into long term accommodation.

The idea for Homeless Rooms Birmingham came from social entrepreneurs Mark Peters and Lee Blake. After speaking to prospective tenants (mostly young people) who were searching to find a place to live in the city, they found that the expensive deposits and high fees charged by some landlords and estate agents were putting accommodation way out of these young people’s reach.

On the Homeless Rooms Birmingham website, people can search for decent quality accommodation, offered by landlords who accept people as tenants without deposits, admin fees or high rents. There is also advice to help prevent a person from becoming homeless, or support a person to move on from a hostel.

Councillor Sharon Thompson, Ambassador for addressing rough sleeping and homelessness at Birmingham City Council, said: “Homeless Rooms Birmingham is an innovative way of helping homeless people make the move into long term accommodation. We are keen to see this scheme for increasing access to supported housing get off the ground, so we are match funding monies that they raise via their Crowdfunding campaign. “

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, added:  “We’ve seen a dramatic rise in homelessness and rough sleeping across the country in recent years and Birmingham is no different. So we’re looking for creative ways to tackle this crisis and we work closely with partners to find solutions to support those at risk.

“Homeless Rooms Birmingham is the latest new initiative, following the recent launch of Change Into Action – an alternative giving scheme created in partnership with the Mayor for the West Midlands. We will also be introducing a Housing First pilot, to offer people entrenched in homelessness permanent homes and help them get their lives back on track. These are all part of our vision to eradicate homelessness in Birmingham.”

Commonwealth Games Federation selects Birmingham as Host City Partner of the 2022 Commonwealth Games

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) today announced that it has selected Birmingham, England as the host city partner of the XXII Commonwealth Games in 2022.

At a special Media Conference staged at the Arena Academy school in Birmingham, CGF President Louise Martin CBE applauded the city’s ambitious and innovative vision to engage and benefit its local community, showcase the best of global Britain and warmly welcome and inspire athletes and fans from right across the Commonwealth.

Birmingham 2022, which is expected to take place from 27 July – 7 August 2022, marks 20 years since Manchester 2002, the last time the Games were held in England.

CGF President Louise Martin CBE said: “We warmly congratulate Birmingham and England on today’s announcement – it is a defining moment for this truly Commonwealth city. With its rich history, cultural diversity, youthful dynamism and ambitious spirit, Birmingham embodies all that we cherish about the Commonwealth, and so the Commonwealth Sports Movement looks forward to collaborating with all the Games partners to showcase the city’s humanity and pride to a global audience over the coming months and years.

“The vast majority of the Games venues are in place, and with extensive experience in the UK of hosting successful major events – including Manchester 2002, London 2012 and Glasgow 2014 – the CGF looks forward to a truly spectacular Games that delivers not only for the 2.4 billion citizens across the Commonwealth but the wider world, too. Today is a fantastic day for Birmingham, global Britain and our resurgent Commonwealth Sports Movement.”

The CGF President also thanked Canada, Malaysia and Australia for the continued interest expressed in hosting a future Commonwealth Games, and confirmed that the Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) in these countries have signalled their potential hosting interest in either 2026 or 2030.

The final, complete Birmingham 2022 bid documentation was submitted by Commonwealth Games England (CGE), the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on behalf of the UK Government, and Birmingham City Council, supported by the West Midlands Combined Authority. The foundations for the Games have now been laid, with the official handover to Birmingham set to take place at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony on April 15 next year.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley said: “Birmingham will put on a fantastic Commonwealth Games in 2022 and I am delighted that the Commonwealth Games Federation has awarded us the right to host what will be a sporting spectacular. The Games will also give us a chance to show the best of Britain to the world, give great opportunities to the people and businesses of the West Midlands and beyond while inspiring many to get involved in sport. I look forward to working with the Commonwealth Games Federation, Commonwealth Games England and Birmingham City Council over the coming years as we prepare for 2022.”

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said: “The UK has a brilliant track record for putting on the biggest sport events in the world and it is great news that Birmingham has been selected to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. I am sure that we will put on an event that will make the country proud, leave a strong sporting legacy and strengthen relationships with our friends across the Commonwealth.”

Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council and Chair of the Bid Team, said: “This is a wonderful way to end the year and celebrate the festive season – with an early Christmas present for the city! At the start of 2017 we were looking into the feasibility of hosting the Games in 2026, but when 2022 became a possibility in April, we made the decision to back ourselves even though we knew that we would need to do a lot of work in a short time frame. That work and belief has been rewarded.

“This has been a team effort and the Bid Team would like to thank everyone who has contributed. We have had excellent support from residents and businesses in the city; our regional partners including Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, and the West Midlands Combined Authority, the Midlands Engine, Local Enterprise Partnerships, the NEC Group, and the University of Birmingham; as well as venues, sport and cultural organisations across the Midlands. We have also enjoyed a close working relationship with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Commonwealth Games Federation and Commonwealth Games England.

“The hard work begins now and we all have just four-and-a-half years to deliver an unforgettable Games that will shape the future of our city, our region and our people. Thank you for backing Birmingham’s bid.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “The success of this bid has depended entirely on the whole of the West Midlands region getting behind it and recognising the benefits it will bring. The Games will provide the opportunity to not only see world-class sport but bring economic and social benefits.

“Above all, this will be our opportunity, along with the Coventry City of Culture the year prior to the Games, to showcase a resurgent, diverse and confident West Midlands to the world.”

Ian Metcalfe, Chair of Commonwealth Games England, added: “I am delighted that the Commonwealth Games Federation has awarded the 2022 Games to England and to Birmingham. In particular I am excited for all the Team England athletes who will have the immense privilege of competing at a home Games, backed by many thousands of proud England fans.

“England has a proud tradition of welcoming the world to our country and creating fantastic sports events, culture and the warmest of welcomes for the entire Commonwealth movement. We cannot wait to welcome the Commonwealth once again in 2022.

“Being awarded the Games is clearly just the start of a very long journey. We look forward to partnering with the Commonwealth Games Federation, Birmingham and the wider West Midlands region to deliver the best Commonwealth Games that anyone can remember.”

Today’s announcement by the CGF follows the Gold Coast 2018 Coordination Commission taking place earlier this month in Australia. Gold Coast 2018 organisers have committed to share all their experience and advice with Birmingham, passing on the baton and putting the city in the strongest position to deliver an inspiring, impactful and successful Games.

The Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee will also be the first to benefit from the new CGF Partnerships delivery model – as the CGF takes an increasingly active and direct role in the delivery of the Games through the creation of an integrated delivery team, working in close partnership with the host city and CGA. This will help to deliver the Games more efficiently and economically, and create a strong legacy for future hosts.

Gold Coast 2018 Chairman, Peter Beattie AC said: “The Games in Glasgow in 2014 set the benchmark very high and delivered an exceptional experience for athletes and spectators and I am confident that Gold Coast 2018 will be another outstanding Games.

“There have been many lessons learned on the journey towards 2018 with more to come as we move into Games time.

“We are very keen to transfer as much of our knowledge as possible to enable the new host city to develop a robust Games business plan early in the establishment of the organising committee so they can literally hit the ground running when we hand over the flag at the GC2018 Closing Ceremony.”

First building at Paradise tops out

The first building of the £700 million Paradise development in Birmingham has topped out, almost two years to the day from when the initial demolition of the site began.

Just days after PwC announced plans to take all of the commercial office space, PwC Midlands Regional Chair, Matthew Hammond, led the topping out ceremony of One Chamberlain Square by officially finishing off the last section of concrete on the eighth floor. He was joined by representatives from funders Hermes Investment Management and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), development manager Argent, construction contractor Carillion, Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, together with the wider project team.

Designed by Eric Parry Architects, the eight storey, 172,000 sq ft building overlooks Chamberlain Square, one of the most vibrant and well-known locations in the city, and sits across from Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Town Hall. The building has been fully let to leading professional services firm PwC. As well as relocating its existing 1,400-strong Birmingham team from Cornwall Court in summer 2019, the building has the potential to accommodate an additional 1,000 people as PwC grows across the Midlands.

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, said: “Paradise is another example of Birmingham delivering on its growth, skills and jobs agenda. This exceptional development perfectly reflects the confidence and ambition of the city as a leading business destination with an international reputation for quality and innovation.

“The scheme also reflects the very best of a successful public/private partnership, bringing to life the Big City Plan and delivering growth in the Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone. The pace at which Paradise is moving forward and the quality of the architecture being brought to life at the very heart of this city is tremendously exciting.

“The scheme is recognised as one of the most important commercial developments in the UK outside London and in just two years we have seen connectivity across the city centre open up, the roads realigned and now, the buildings making a very visible impact on the skyline.”

Matthew Hammond, Midlands Regional Chair at PwC, said: “Our team is excited and eager to experience PwC’s new home in the heart of Birmingham, the Midlands and the country. With its high quality space and central location in the city’s newest and foremost commercial development, One Chamberlain Square represents a blueprint for our larger regional office model, with a tech-enabled, flexible environment that provides an exceptional visitor experience for our clients and a great working environment for our people. We’re looking forward to continue working closely with the Argent team to deliver this innovative landmark building.”

One Chamberlain Square features an elegant, curved external structure, effectively using a variety of materials to complement the neighbouring civic architecture. As well as plans for top quality restaurant and retail uses on the ground floor of the building, the large roof terrace on the sixth floor offers spectacular views across the city.

Chris Taylor, Head of Private Markets at Hermes Investment Management, said:

“The topping out of the first building to be completed at Paradise marks a significant step in the delivery of the scheme, which is transforming Birmingham city centre into a leading and competitive international city. We have seen strong momentum at the development, having recently announced that PwC will be taking the entirety of the commercial office space at One Chamberlain Square to accommodate the firm’s continued growth.

“We remain committed to investing in regeneration and placemaking to create places where people want to work, live and socialise, while also attracting and retaining talent in the regions.”

Rob Groves, Regional Director at Argent, said: “This is a big moment for both Paradise and Birmingham. We have achieved so many milestones over the past 10 years, but this one feels the most significant and reflects the huge momentum built on this vastly significant scheme.

“Following the fantastic recent news that PwC has now committed to all of the office space in One Chamberlain Square, we are looking forward to continuing the collaborative approach with PwC to deliver the best space to work. From this point forward, the scheme will really start to come to life as we count down to the official handover of the building to PwC in spring 2019.”

Demolition on the site began on 14 December 2015 and now, two years on, the physical frame of the first of up to ten new buildings has reached its highest point. More than half a million hours and a team of over 120 construction workers have helped deliver the building to this point. Work will now focus on making the structure watertight before the internal works commence. A total of 1,140 floor to ceiling window panels will be installed in the building while 12,110 cubic metres of concrete has gone into the frame since construction began in summer 2016.

Simon Dingle, Operations Director at Carillion, said: “One Chamberlain Square represents the very latest in design and delivery implementation and we’re proud to have reached this construction milestone. The overall Paradise scheme is a very complex project in a city centre environment which creates significant location and engineering challenges. Working with Argent and the full design team, we are now ready to move onto the next phase of delivery as we start the internal construction phase and fit out.”

Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said: “It is hard to state just how important this development is to the ongoing economic success of Birmingham and the West Midlands. Visitors and people who work in Birmingham have been very patient with the huge building site in the middle of the city. Now, I hope, they can see the progress being made on creating a place which will effectively link all parts of the city together. It will be worth the wait.

“The news earlier this month that PwC has now taken the whole building we are topping out today and will eventually house up to 2,300 staff here is a huge vote of confidence, not just in the work of all of the partners involved in Paradise but also in the upbeat attitude of our commercial sector.”

At 1.8 million square feet, Paradise will deliver up to ten new flagship buildings, offering offices, shops, bars, cafés, restaurants and a four star hotel across 17 acres. Demolition of the former Birmingham Conservatoire and Fletcher’s Walk is now underway to allow for phase two of the scheme to progress.

The Paradise redevelopment is being brought forward through Paradise Circus Limited Partnership (PCLP), a private-public joint venture with Birmingham City Council. The private sector funding is being managed by Hermes Investment Management which has partnered with CPPIB on the first phase of the development. Argent is the development manager.

A website showcasing the vision for Paradise, in addition to a live time-lapse camera, can be viewed at www.paradisebirmingham.co.uk.