Category Archives: News

Birmingham City Council announces preferred development partner for Birmingham Smithfield

Birmingham Smithfield

Birmingham City Council has announced Lendlease as its development partner to deliver the transformation of the 17-hectare Birmingham Smithfield site.

Located in the heart of the city centre, Birmingham Smithfield is a £1.5 billion redevelopment project that will reposition the city on an international stage.

Lendlease will form a contractual joint venture with the city council and lead the creation of an urban quarter that includes a new home for the city’s historic Bull Ring retail markets, a unique family destination including a leisure and cultural offer, a new public square, integrated public transport and more than 2,000 homes with a public park and community facilities.

The development of Birmingham Smithfield is part of the city’s Big City Plan, launched in 2010, which sets out a 25-year vision to grow the city centre by more than 25 per cent. As one of the areas of transformation, Birmingham Smithfield is located directly adjacent to the Bullring and New Street Station; and will be a short walk from the new High Speed 2 City Centre Terminus Station which is set to open in 2026.

Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council said: “We are extremely excited to be working with Lendlease who are an internationally leading developer with a proven track record of bringing forward major development schemes. The delivery of Birmingham Smithfield will be a major boost for Birmingham. With the new cultural and leisure attractions, the public realm, new homes and retail markets the development will appeal to both national and international audiences. Alongside these fantastic new facilities, the development will also deliver substantial benefits for the people of Birmingham. Lendlease have committed to invest in the local community and create 1,000s of new jobs and training opportunities. This scheme will create a legacy for the citizens of Birmingham and become an exemplar for inclusive economic growth.”

Welcoming the appointment, the Rt Hon Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State for Department of International Trade, said: “I’m delighted to welcome this significant investment into Birmingham which will bring jobs and prosperity to the city and surrounding areas, also creating substantial opportunities for the local supply chain. It demonstrates the significant potential of the Midlands Engine region at a time when overseas investment into the UK is at its highest level ever.

“The Department for International Trade is committed to encouraging investment into the whole of the UK, and I’m pleased that teams from across my department – in the UK and internationally – were able to support this major project.”

Waheed Nazir, Corporate Director for Economy, Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham Smithfield is the city’s most important redevelopment opportunity. The site is the location where Birmingham first developed and where its future will now be defined. The calibre of bidders that have been attracted through the procurement process has shown the strength of the city as a place to invest. Lendlease has the capabilities and resources to realise the city’s vision and deliver a truly transformational development scheme. Working with Lendlease we will be creating a new family leisure destination complemented by an exciting mix of cultural facilities, independent retail and business space. This will create a major attractor for residents and visitors. The scheme will have an emphasis on green infrastructure alongside community facilities and affordable housing.”

Lendlease, a leading international property and infrastructure development company, has been selected following an OJEU Competitive Dialogue Procurement process. Lendlease has delivered major developments across the UK including the iconic Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, the 2012 Athletes’ Village and is continuing work on International Quarter London, a major commercial scheme in Stratford.

Dan Labbad, CEO, Lendlease, Europe, said: “Smithfield is the birthplace of Birmingham, known for its markets which have always been at the heart of the city. Much like Birmingham itself, the area is brimming with creativity and opportunity. Our plans for the redevelopment will respect this heritage and bring more jobs, homes and environmental benefits to the area and the people of Birmingham.”

Lendlease is also working on the over station development of Euston, south London’s Elephant Park and was recently selected as the preferred contractor for Birmingham’s Perry Barr development, due for completion in 2022. It will now use its wealth of experience to bring to life plans for the growth of the city centre – creating more opportunities for local people and businesses and increasing economic growth for Birmingham and the wider West Midlands region.

The redevelopment of the area, which is twice the size of Brindleyplace, is expected to take 15 years to complete. The first phase of the scheme will include new homes, the new retail markets building and public realm.

The city council will now work with Lendlease to finalise the terms of the partnership, commence the preparation of a planning application and produce a business plan for the site’s redevelopment before the formal award of the Birmingham Smithfield Development Partner contract. This is anticipated to happen by late 2019 with development expected to commence in 2022.

The site is part of the Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone, which was established in 2011 to unlock key city centre development sites and accelerate growth.

Tim Pile, Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), said: “As one of our largest Enterprise Zone sites, Birmingham Smithfield will play a crucial role in generating economic growth and job creation for the city and its surrounding areas. The scheme is set to become a unique destination that will attract more visitors, new businesses and investment here. Birmingham City Council’s announcement of its preferred partner is a key milestone in realising the ambitious vision for Birmingham Smithfield. With Enterprise Zone designation, we are also able to secure funding to improve local infrastructure, which will help to accelerate the delivery of this site.”

West Midlands first out of the blocks for superfast 5G

From the Industrial Revolution onwards, Birmingham and the West Midlands have been at the very forefront of technological advances.

Back in the 18th Century, the likes of Matthew Boulton, James Watt and William Murdoch made this the Workshop of The World – a city renowned for endeavour and invention.

Fast-forward 250 years or so and we continue to be a centre for progress in areas such as advanced manufacturing, life sciences and digital innovation. This city and the wider West Midlands is home to one of the largest tech clusters in the UK with more than 40,000 people working in web development, data, e-commerce, animation and other digital industries.

So, as the West Midlands Combined Authority lead for Economic Growth, I’m excited that we have today approved plans to put the West Midlands at the very heart of the next big tech revolution – 5G.

Short for Fifth Generation Mobile Networks, 5G will be significantly faster than previous generations and is widely tipped to bring huge benefits to businesses, public services and to the wider population as a whole.

Of course, as with all new technologies, turning the clever science into practical uses is the tricky part. And that’s where we come in.

This region has been selected to become home to the UK’s first multi-city 5G test bed in a multi-million pound project that will trial new 5G applications and services at scale.

The Urban Connected Communities Project will develop a large-scale, 5G pilot across the region, with hubs in Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton and initial plans include:

  • Hospital outpatient appointments and emergency consultations carried out remotely by video link.
  • “Connected Ambulances” – Paramedic crews at an incident could access specialist advice while they are at the scene, eg video conferencing with consultants or other clinical specialists. Live streaming of patient data from ambulance en-route to hospital would help inform the immediate care patients receive on arrival.
  • Live streaming of CCTV footage from public transport buses, enabling immediate action to be taken against anti-social behaviour. “Intelligent cameras” using artificial intelligence (AI) to identify incidents could provide the opportunity for far greater coverage than is possible at present.

These examples are just some of the potential uses of this exciting technology and Birmingham will be at the very heart of a 5G revolution that experts believe could dramatically transform our daily lives.

I’m sure Messrs Boulton, Watt and Murdoch would approve.

West Midlands to become UK’s first large-scale 5G testbed

The West Midlands has been selected to become the innovative home to the UK’s first multi-city 5G test bed. The multi million pound trial of new high speed connectivity will pave the way for the future rollout of 5G across the UK, making the region the first in the UK ready to trial new 5G applications and services at scale.

The Urban Connected Communities Project, the next step in the Government’s 5G Testbed and Trials Programme, will develop a large-scale, 5G pilot across the region, with hubs in Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton.

Up to £50m is currently available for the project, subject to further development and approval of the business plan. This includes £25m from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and a further £25m match funding from regional partners. An additional £25m may be made available at a later stage.

Minister for Digital, Margot James said: “5G has the potential to dramatically transform the way we go about our daily lives, and we want the citizens of the UK to be amongst the first to experience all the opportunities and benefits this new technology will bring.

“The West Midlands Testbed, which is the first of its kind anywhere in the world, will be instrumental in helping us realise this ambition.”

Following its selection through open competition, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) will now work with the 5G Testbeds and Trials Team at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and industry partners on preparing the formal business case for approval, with the first of a series of projects expected to go live early next year.

The West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) bid has an initial focus on the health, construction and automotive sectors, with its overarching ambition to help drive economic growth and benefit people’s lives through participation in new digital technologies and digitally transformed public services.

Subject to formal approval, initial plans include:

  • Hospital outpatient appointments and emergency consultations carried out remotely by video link not subject to droppage or latency barriers. As well as being more convenient for patients, this means they can play back their appointment at a later date or share it securely with a family member or carer to help inform their care.
  • “Connected Ambulances” – Paramedic crews at an incident could access specialist advice while they are at the scene, eg video conferencing with consultants or other clinical specialists. Live streaming of patient data from ambulance en route to hospital would help inform the immediate care patients receive on arrival.
  • Live streaming of CCTV footage from public transport buses, enabling immediate action to be taken against anti-social behaviour. “Intelligent cameras” using artificial intelligence (AI) to identify incidents could provide the opportunity for far greater coverage than is possible at present.
  • Autonomous vehicles will transform the way we travel, preventing major accidents, improving traffic flow and reducing energy consumption. The WMCA will partner with Jaguar Land Rover to facilitate real world testing of driverless cars.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:“This announcement is game-changing for the West Midlands economy. This will be the backbone of our future economy and society.

“We have been working to put the foundations in place to grow the industries which will create the jobs of the future, particularly around driverless vehicles and life sciences where we have a genuine advantage. To deliver the future of these industries we need the power of 5g.

“The potential of this technology is endless  – and we will enjoy the benefits first.

“From monitoring the health of babies and the elderly, to the way out people are linked to the economy of the future, the way companies do business, the way we deliver public services, the experience of travellers on public transport and the way we deliver City of Culture and the Commonwealth Games – everything can be made better thanks to the power of this technology.”

Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council and WMCA portfolio lead for economy and jobs, said: “We want to lead the way in 5G and the potential for this technology in the West Midlands is unlimited, which is why we’re delighted with today’s news.

“The possibilities for businesses, individuals, investors and innovators are huge. Not only that, but imagine the difference having a fully operational 5G network in the West Midlands will have as we host the Commonwealth Games.

“The way people are consuming news and digital content is changing by the day and 5G gives Birmingham the opportunity to be the first city to host a major event using this technology.”

DCMS funding for the project will come from the £200 million government has assigned  to develop 5G technologies as part of more than £1bn of investment in next-generation digital infrastructure, including via the £31bn National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF).

The 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme forms part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, aimed at continually driving the UK’s connectivity, telecommunications and digital sectors, and investing in the skills, industries and infrastructure of the future.