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Ben Parkinson
Ben Parkinson
  • 1 Minute Read
  • 26th February 2013

Birmingham council launches £1.2bn enterprise zone scheme

Formal plans for a new City Centre Enterprise Zone, encompassing 7m sq ft of prime office space, is set to be unveiled by Birmingham city council this morning.

The scheme is set to cost in the region of £1.2bn, and will bring a mixed portfolio covering a total area of 13m sq ft across 26 sites. 6m sq ft of leisure space will be bought to market as part of the plans which, when combined with the sum generated by office space, is likely to produce around £2.8bn GVA annually.

The investment will be raised through a rise in current business rates, with further details set to be released once Chancellor George Osborne and further delegates meet at Birmingham’s Town Hall this lunchtime.

The Chancellor is set to be joined by Birmingham council leader Sir Albert Bore, the chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, and John Lewis managing director Andy Street, as well as Lord Heseltine, with the announcement expected to address the initial development of 970,000 sq ft, due to be delivered by 2015.

Together, the council and LEP have already plunged approximately £128m into infrastructure projects to support the enterprise scheme, including the redevelopments of the city’s key New Street Station, and the extension of the Midland Metro from New Street to the Westside district.

As reported by Search Office Space in September, the 1.5m sq ft mixed-use Paradise Circus development will form a key aspect of the scheme – which was first raised in April 2011 and approved in July 2012 - with £61.3m of the initial £76.3 funding allocation dedicated to its completion. Current projects including Arena Central, Snowhill, Masshouse and Eastside Locks will all receive a timely boost as a result of the improved status.

The enterprise zone is a result of Birmingham’s Big City Plan, and coincides with a pilot project to devolve commercial influence from London to regional centres following Heseltine’s 'No Stone Left Unturned' report, submitted in November 2012.

The city was given three months to come up with a blueprint, coined the Greater Birmingham Project, to be submitted to government representatives for consideration. If successful, the approval and initiation of the plans could be worth millions to the local economy and help boost job numbers in the often barren regional landscape.


Photo courtesy of Paradise Circus