Smithfield Birmingham transformation receives green light from council planners

The regeneration plans for Smithfield Birmingham have been unanimously approved by the city council’s Planning Committee. The proposals will transform the predominantly vacant 17-hectare site into a new urban quarter, expanding the city centre and unlocking economic and social opportunities for the communities living and working there.

At the helm of this significant opportunity is the major landowner, Birmingham City Council, in a joint-venture partnership with Lendlease. Working closely alongside this client group since the project’s beginnings in 2018, Prior + Partners has worked as masterplanners to develop the urban framework, and led a wider team of architects, landscape architects, artists and other specialists to bring together designs that establish a cohesive and distinctive place that reflects the area’s rich history.

The delivery of 3,000 new homes will create major economic opportunities, including 9,000 new jobs. These residences will sit alongside new cultural and leisure attractions, as well as space for start-ups, small business, and entrepreneurs. Birmingham’s historic Bull Ring Markets remain at the heart of these plans, rehomed in two new buildings; one consisting of an indoor food market, dining hall, restaurant and event space, and the second the home to the Rag Market. The Outdoor Market will take up residence in a brand new square.

The high-quality architecture sits alongside a network of green infrastructure and public spaces, including the new Smithfield Park. Together these verdant spaces will improve the area’s biodiversity and create a variety of natural habitats, assist with the microclimate, with extensive new tree providing shade in the heat of summer, with Smithfield Park carefully sculpted to attenuate water and manage flooding, to avoid overwhelming the nearby River Rea.

Councillor John Cotton, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Obtaining planning approval is a significant step in delivering the Council’s ambitions for Smithfield Birmingham in partnership with Lendlease. This £1.9bn development will transform the area, creating a new community in the heart of our city, generating thousands of new jobs and training opportunities, and delivering over 3,000 new homes. We are delighted to see these exciting proposals moving forward.”

Colin Murphy, Project Lead on Smithfield Birmingham for Lendlease, said: “This is a major milestone for the Smithfield project and important step forward in Birmingham’s transformation as an international city. We look forward to continuing our engagement with tenants, residents and everyone else connected to this once in a generation opportunity.”

Construction is expected to commence on site later in 2024 and the delivery will be completed in four phases over 15 years.

The exceptional design team we have led to bring forward these proposals include: David Kohn Architects, dRMM, Eastside Projects, Field Operations, Haworth Tompkins, Intervention Architects, Minesh Patel Architecture, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, RCKa and Speirs Major.