Approval for Solihull's town centre revamp - The Solihull Observer

Approval for Solihull's town centre revamp

Solihull Editorial 15th Sep, 2023   0

CONCEPT plans to improve and upgrade Solihull town centre’s public spaces over the next decade has been approved.

In the summer Solihull Council called on residents to comment on phase one of its Town Centre Public Realm Strategy, which focused along High Street.

The plans approved by chiefs at the Environment and Infrastructure Decision Session include installation of a green spine made up of ‘rainwater gardens’ providing the area with greenery all year round.

And how the pedestrianised core of the town centre might be extended with the creation of an attractive new town square opposite the Grade 1 Listed St Alphege Church to create a focal point and be used to host community and ceremonial events.

The term ‘public realm’ refers to the space in around and between buildings that is publicly accessible including streets, squares, parks and open spaces.

In 2020 the Council adopted an ambitious new Town Centre Masterplan which takes a wider view of upcoming developments and investment opportunities in housing, leisure, business and culture.

The Council say this latest strategy supports the Masterplan by looking at how to improve the attractiveness and feel of the town centre through the delivery of seamless, high quality public realm spaces and establishing a clear set of design guidance which respect Solihull’s existing character and heritage.

Funding for the design phase of the project has largely come from the West Midlands Combined Authority via the Council’s UK Central programme.

Councillor Ken Hawkins, cabinet member for Environment and Infrastructure, said: “Solihull town centre has a proud history and an exciting future ahead of it.

“This coordinated approach will ensure continuity across our public spaces and ensure it remains a vibrant, attractive and welcoming place for people to live, work and visit.

“From bins to benches and lighting to street signage we want to ensure our approach to high quality public realm respects and enhances Solihull’s distinctiveness and identity.”

The next phase of the project will involve producing a business case which will identify further potential sources and clearly set out the economic benefits associated with upgrading Solihull’s public realm.

The Council said future funding is likely to come from a variety of sources and include a significant portion of external grant funding.

Leader of Solihull Council, Councillor Ian Courts, said: “This strategy represents part of a much wider parcel of planned investment in the town centre over the next decade.

“We have exciting plans to redevelop and upgrade Solihull Station, deliver world class new developments at our Eastgate and Westgate sites and, this Autumn, intend to announce the appointment of a developer to help deliver a new vision for Mell Square.

“This strategy sets out a coherent vision for our public realm which respect and enhances Solihull’s distinctiveness and identity to create vibrant and dynamic spaces that can be enjoyed by residents, workers and visitors alike and that celebrates Solihull’s history, character, diversity and future.”


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