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New square landmark in BID delivery.


Anew public square in Birmingham's principal business district has been unveiled - in one of the first capital projects overseen by a city business improvement district.

Business and city leaders gathered at a launch event to celebrate the completion of Church Street Square in Birmingham city centre, a joint venture between Colmore Business District (CBD) and Birmingham City Council, on May 11.

The new space, previously a wide carriageway with more than 20 car parking spaces, has now been transformed into a public square with seating, soft landscaping, trees, enhanced lighting and a piece of public art called Umbra by Wolfgang Buttress.

The new Church Street Square, which is part of Birmingham's Big City Plan Initiatives programme, has been welcomed as tangible proof of what business districts can achieve in partnership with local authorities.

Colmore Business District chairman Gary Cardin said: "Church Street Square shows the strength of BIDs in Birmingham and the ambition that CBD shares with the city to make Birmingham a competitive and attractive place in which to do business. Investment in our public spaces is a priority for us as it's what businesses have told us they want; we will continue to champion the merits of walkable and quality spaces, with support from our partners. "The Church Street Square project has brought public and private sector organisations together to co-deliver improvement and we want to build upon the success of this. We are already looking ahead to future initiatives, which will act as a catalyst to other improvements to the Colmore Business District area."

Mr Cardin said the Church Street project emerged from a joint vision to invest in the District, improve pedestrian links with the Jewellery Quarter and create greener spaces for people to enjoy.

The event heard plans for future working between Birmingham City Council and CBD, with a particular focus on the square outside Snow Hill Station and the surrounding Colmore Row area.

Referred to as the Snow Hill Gateway project, plans for more seating, lighting and a pedestrian-friendly area were presented to guests.

Another future project referred to at the event was the improvement of Colmore Square, the space between Colmore Row and Steelhouse Lane.

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore said: "The partnership between Birmingham City Council and Colmore Business District is founded on innovation and enterprise, and a commitment to making Birmingham an inclusive and prosperous city. "This collaborative approach has been realised in Church Street Square: a high quality public realm that will host events throughout the year, provide meeting opportunities for local people, and strengthen connections to the Jewellery Quarter.

"Church Street Square and future projects within the District will serve to attract entrepreneurs and businesses to the city, accelerating innovation, inward investment and growth for the benefit of all."

The Colmore Chorus, a singing group of businesspeople formed by CBD, is preparing for a special event to coincide with the CBD Food Festival.

The group will perform five speciallythemed songs led by John Laird, the formal chorus master for Birmingham Opera Company, on July 13 and 14 in Victoria Square.

The group, which convenes at Livery Place at lunchtimes and after work once a week, has featured in several events across the city since its formation, including the Christmas Parade at Birmingham Cathedral grounds.


Mike Best from Colmore Business District with Sir Albert Bore and BID chair Gary Cardin at the new Church Street Square
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 12, 2012
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