Birmingham news 'Dated' shopping centre could be 'catalyst' for town centre revamp MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - Birmingham City Council says the Red Rose Centre could be the key to realising the 'masterplan' to regenerate Sutton town centre
Breaking News ! Plans to revamp a rundown Birmingham shopping centre could prove the spark to regenerate a once bustling retail area, the second biggest in the city. The Sutton Coldfield Town Centre Regeneration Partnership’s ‘masterplan’ is set to be adopted by Birmingham City Council this week as a supplementary planning document (SPD). This will help shape future changes in Sutton’s heart, with its series of ‘Big Moves’ aimed at revitalising the second city’s north easterly outpost. The masterplan sets out a vision to boost the town centre’s fortunes, breaking the ‘concrete collar’ of its ring road and building a new £20 million transport hub by the railway station. Read More Related Articles Sutton Coldfield town centre – one year after Covid struck - what's changed and what's coming Read More Related Articles Bollywood Balti Indian restaurant in Sutton Coldfield closed as site repossessed by landlords That in turn will remove buses which split the town’s retail sites, the Parade and Gracechurch Centre, New Hall Walk and the city council-owned Red Rose Centre. The broad aim is to encourage a wider range of uses of town centre space from leisure, culture heritage, to living education and office space as well as retail, bars and restaurants. Current state of the Red Rose Centre And the Red Rose Centre could prove key to kickstarting the revamp. But the centre is on need of some TLC. The masterplan describes it as ‘dated’. Read More Related Articles Otto Wood Fired Pizza to open in Sutton Coldfield's former Bodega restaurant site Read More Related Articles Live entertainment venue The Rhodehouse to open in Sutton Coldfield this summer Glass was removed from its canopy last September as it was feared to be dangerous. It has not been replaced. A city council spokeswoman said: “A building surveyor inspected the canopy above Red Rose shopping centre last summer. They concluded that it was in poor condition and that the glass panels posed an imminent danger to the public. “We took immediate steps to remove the glass, and are working with shopping centre tenants on how the shopping centre will be further developed.” Its adjoined Victoria Road car park is closed up, with broken lifts and locked doors. With demand for car parking low – another symptom of the pandemic. The Victoria Road multi-storey car park remains shut with the council saying the demand is not there yet to warrant reopening The city council spokeswoman added: “Our three display and display car parks, located nearby the Victoria Road multi-storey car park, are monitored closely and we are currently seeing low levels of use. “We will continue to monitor parking demand at this location and consider re-opening the multi-storey should there be a significant increase.“ A floor remains empty in a block which includes the town’s library. And within that a café and children’s play area has fallen victim to the commercial ravages of the pandemic. While the Rumour nightclub and former Cool Trader freezer shop are empty. Glass was removed from the Red Rose Centre's canopy last year as it posed an 'imminent danger to the public' but some eight months later it has not been replaced A ‘catalyst’ for town centre change But despite the Red Rose Centre’s current state, the site has been identified by Birmingham City Council as a ‘catalyst for change’ for the town’s regeneration. The authority bought it in 2016 for £10.4 million, largely to free itself from ‘onerous leases’. The masterplan says the centre is a ‘major opportunity’ especially given its public ownership. The document says: “Its prominent location within the town centre is fundamental to considering how the site may be re-imagined, being at the gateway for people approaching the town centre in all modes of transport. “It also fronts onto the re-imagined heart of the town centre on Lower Parade. “The overall aim for this site will be to create a distinctive, vibrant, daytime and evening destination. “And workplace that could include independent retailers and creative studio space alongside contemporary new homes to attract people to visit, live and work within the town centre.” Read More Related Articles Sutton Coldfield restaurant receives 1,200 online bookings ahead of first re-opening after lockdown Read More Related Articles New COOK food shop to open at former Sutton Coldfield pharmacy site A city council report on the adoption of the Sutton Coldfield Town Centre Masterplan as an SPD, which is expected to be confirmed by the city’s cabinet on Tuesday (May 18), sets out the city authority’s ambition to redevelop the centre. It has a vested interest. Principal planning and development officer, Charis Blythe, who authors the report says: “The council-owned Red Rose Centre is a key project in the masterplan and the city council is fully committed to its delivery.” Diversifying is key with the Red Rose Centre to have a ‘a cultural and creative hub, that complements the library and community uses already proposed’. Read More Related Articles Free car parking plan for Sutton Coldfield town centre in bid to boost trade Read More Related Articles Labour take Sutton Coldfield Town Council seat from Conservatives bucking national trend Ms Blythe’s report continues: “One of the main projects in the masterplan is the Red Rose Centre. “It states the site should be redeveloped to achieve a vibrant mix of uses maximising the prominent location. “The city council owns the Red Rose Centre and a considerable amount of the other land within the ‘extended Red Rose Site’. “It is therefore agreed that the comprehensive redevelopment of the site should be a key priority for the city council. “This is for two main reasons.
. Secondly, to optimise the existing investment the city council has made in the Red Rose Centre.”
The Red Rose Centre houses businesses like Hays Travel, Specsavers, Greggs and Wilkos as well as Sutton's main library
When could a future Red Rose Centre blossom? So what next? Birmingham City Council’s cabinet is expected to adopt the Sutton regeneration partnership’s masterplan. The council is a partnership member and has helped shape it. Within Charis Blythe’s report is a tantalising line on when we may hear more on the Red Rose Centre’s future. It says: “Further work is required to understand the mix of uses that would be viable on the site and the best method for bringing forward its comprehensive redevelopment. “It is proposed that this work is developed further with the intention of submitting to cabinet an outline business case for the Red Rose Centre’s redevelopment towards the end of 2021.”
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What have Sutton’s politicians said? City and town councillor, David Pears, whose Trinity ward encompasses the town centre and its Red Rose Centre is pressing for earlier action. He said: “I have asked the officers to look at the options for the awnings. That area is going in to a state of decline. The car park’s not being used. The lifts don’t work. “We need to do something about it. “There are green shoots with re-openings in the town and people allowed inside cafes, restaurants and bars."
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He added: “We are pressing for more information on the Red Rose Centre. We want to see the economy improve and want to look after what we have got at the centre. We don’t want it to decline any further. “I’m encouraged by the fact that Birmingham City Council is making something happen in that quarter. If capital is being invested it will encourage other land owners to do the same. “What we want to see is something better than what we have got at the moment. “I would be disappointed if we didn’t see it happening in the next three to five years.”
Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council leader, and chair of the regeneration partnership, Cllr Simon Ward, said: “It’s massively helpful that the city council own that building. “It’s an opportunity to be one of the early big moves and act as a catalyst for other land owners in the town centre to invest. “It could have the library, a heritage centre with the town’s archives. And a cultural hub which can dovetail with the town the town hall is doing. “We need to get more things to encourage people to spend time in the town centre and this could do that, as well as leisure, retail and restaurants. “The fact that two significant players - the city council with the Red Rose Centre and the [West Midlands] combined authority with the transport hub, have landmark projects on different sides of the town is massively positive. “Andy Street [West Midlands Mayor] has made big commitments that Sutton will be high on his priority list.”
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