Over the last decade the City Centre, through schemes such as the Bullring and The Mailbox, has seen its retail offer transformed creating a vibrant shopping experience. The major investments and redevelopments that are currently planned and underway will further strengthen this position.
While the centre has become hugely successful it still faces a number of challenges including how it plans for the future to ensure it remains competitive and attractive. Recognising the opportunity to build on its successes but also the need to respond to the challenges We have commenced the production of a Retail Strategy.
The strategy focus is on the Retail Core, which sits at the heart of the City Centre, and is the primary destination for Birmingham’s shopping offer. The strategy takes a comprehensive view of the Retail Core, setting out the ambition for the future and identifying key interventions and actions.
The approach emphasises the need to diversify the offer to create a rounded destination with leisure, family entertainment, food and beverage and enhanced retail markets alongside a truly outstanding environment with a great public realm.
In producing this strategy we acknowledge that Birmingham has a rich and varied offer that extends beyond the Retail Core including the Jewellery Quarter, Digbeth and Southside as well as a wider network of district and local centres throughout the City. This wider retail offer is covered through a range of other documents both existing and emerging. Improving connections to these areas from the Retail Core is the key and the strategy acknowledges the importance of this.
What is clear is that the Retail Core, which is seeing major changes and will continue to face challenges, requires a comprehensive approach to put in place a strategy that can help plan for the future and direct investment decisions and target actions.
A strategy has been prepared in consultation with the Retail Business Improvement District and an initial engagement exercise undertaken in July and August 2013 to gain the views of City Centre stakeholders comprising retailers, property owners and their agents and shoppers. This engagement was key to establishing a clear understanding of the challenges facing the Retail Core and what can be done to strengthen its position and plan for the future.
The strategy sets out a vision, actions and identifies the Retail Cores distinctive character areas.