We recently informed our followers that Digbeth Residents Association attended a meeting at Birmingham City Council about the proposed City Centre Enterprise Zone. DRA was very keen to go along to ensure our voices are heard, and we appreciate the invitation and opportunity to do so.
The information presented at the meeting is briefly summarised on the Birmingham City Council website at http://birmingham.gov.uk/ez
There is also a link to download an information leaflet from this page; please click here to see the PDF file.
Some important information to note:
- Not all of Digbeth is included in the Enterprise Zone (EZ), only certain ‘pockets’ which can be just a particular building.
- The council’s definition of Digbeth does not match DRA’s definition: only land between Digbeth High Street and Millenium Point is included. No buildings in the more ‘residential’ part of Digbeth are in the EZ.
- Although the ‘residential’ part of Digbeth is not included in the EZ, these residents would still be affected by the proposal. We have made our voices heard and look forward to further consultation exercises.
- The streamlined planning process is to help businesses change the use of existing buildings easily, without the need to go through lots of hoops. The council is not releasing control over what is built in the EZ.
- Any listed buildings would not be subject to relaxed planning permission. We have raised the question about ‘locally listed’ buildings, which carry no legislative protection, and are awaiting a response.
The official line of reasoning for the Enterprise Zone is to “reconnect the markets to Eastside and the city core”, which recognises that there are lots of dead spaces in Digbeth (the failed Connaught Square development is an example of this). We look forward to working with Birmingham City Council on the consultation about the EZ proposals, and feel that the Digbeth Summit: Keeping Digbeth Different is perfectly timed to take place on 16th February.
Keep checking back for more announcements and information about the Digbeth Summit. Should anyone wish to make a comment about the EZ via Digbeth Residents Association, please contact DRA Secretary Pam.