What one of Birmingham's trendiest neighbourhoods could look like in two decades

Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter is often regarded as one of the city’s trendiest neighbourhoods, partly thanks to its charming Georgian architecture and array of bars and restaurants. And it could have an exciting future ahead of it too, if a vision of Brum’s future, recently published by the city council, comes to pass.

The Central Birmingham Framework 2045 details several ways that Brum could be a greener city with better transport options, a wider range of job opportunities and higher-quality homes by the year 2045. It also suggests Birmingham could rival Vienna in terms of green space and Copenhagen in terms of active travel routes by that year.

While future developments are subject to planning, the framework would aim to shape development within central Birmingham and guide future investment after the council's cabinet voted to adopt it earlier this month. Focusing on the Central West area, the strategy says: “The Jewellery Quarter is Birmingham’s most intact historic neighbourhood, containing over 140 statutory listed buildings and a conservation area designation.

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“The quarter is famous for being one of the original and largest centres of jewellery and metallurgy manufacturing in Europe. Today, the Jewellery Quarter remains an important centre for the jewellery trade, but it is also a major visitor destination, a hub for many creative industries and is home to a growing population of over 10,000 residents.”

Here is a look at some of the ways the Jewellery Quarter could change by 2045 according to the strategy.

1) Great Hampton Street

The framework says Constitution Hill and Great Hampton Street has the potential to transform from a “traffic dominated environment” to a local “high street” and centre for the community. It continues that road space could be reorganised to maximise places for outdoor cafés, street trees, memorials and public art.

“The St Pauls Metro stop is accessed from Constitution Hill but has poor presence on the street,” the strategy continues. “Opportunities to promote the location and improve the access and setting of the stop will be explored.”

2) Summer Hill Greenway

The strategy says Summer Hill Road currently creates a “major barrier” for pedestrians and cyclists between the Jewellery Quarter, Ladywood and Westside. “Supported by the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust, this framework promotes the aspiration to transform Summer Hill Road into a linear park or 'greenway', still accommodating some vehicular traffic but greatly reduced and with over 50 per cent of the road-space being reallocated as public realm with green spaces, planting, street trees and wildlife corridors,” it continues.

“This will help make Summer Hill Road a much more attractive, sustainable and pedestrian- friendly space.”

3) Improved streets

View towards Paradise and Broad Street from the bridge over the top of Great Charles Queensway / A38 Queensway Tunnel system in 2023
View towards Paradise and Broad Street from the bridge over the top of Great Charles Queensway / A38 Queensway Tunnel system in 2023 -Credit:Graham Young / Birmingham Mail

According to the strategy, the Jewellery Quarter Neighbourhood Plan identifies several “key routes” in the area. It adds that a series of studies are proposed that could be used to seek funding or influence development proposals.

“The key routes will be the main pedestrian routes to/from and through the Quarter and will focus on improving the quality of materials, lighting, street furniture, potential for small parklets/play space and contribution to a sense of safety and security," it says.

“Connections to the City Heart at Great Charles Street Queensway are a priority, with the long-term aspirations forming part of the Greenway proposal to downgrade Great Charles Street and create greener, attractive, safer and easier direct connections between the two areas.”

4) Historic cemeteries

The framework says the Jewellery Quarter’s green spaces are provided by Brookfields and Key Hill cemeteries, as well as St Paul’s Square. “There has been significant investment in restoring heritage features in Brookfields cemetery in recent years and proposals will be developed to ensure that these three unique spaces are protected, made more accessible, welcoming and attractive for informal leisure activities,” it said.

“Highlighting the heritage of the spaces and promoting them to visitors to the city would give an opportunity to tell many stories about the growth and development of Birmingham and its past citizens.”

View of the BT Tower and St Paul's Square from outside the Grade I listed St Paul's Church
View of the BT Tower and St Paul's Square from outside the Grade I listed St Paul's Church -Credit:Graham Young / BirminghamLive

5) Centre for Creative Entrepreneurship

The Jewellery Quarter is fortunate in that it is home to the world-renowned School of Jewellery, part of Birmingham City University, and an original industrial cluster which gives the area its name, the framework says. However, it says more needs to be done to develop and retain talent in the area and usher in the “next generation of businesses and skilled workforce which will continue the tradition of jewellery design and manufacture”.

“The creation of a new Jewellery Quarter Centre for Creative Entrepreneurship will act as both a physical incubator space and organisational support for the next generation of craftspeople and business owners,” it adds.

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