The Big City Plan will shape and revitalise Birmingham's city centre over the next twenty years, putting the city's sustainability, culture, creativity, technology and enterprise at the heart of its future plans, activities and development.”



That’s how Birmingham City Council describe the Big City Plan (BCP), but what exactly is it? In a nutshell, the BCP is the council’s snazzy new planning project that will set out development for the city centre and surrounding areas over the next two decades. The area concerned is the 3 sq miles within the Ring Road (or Middleway) and covers a whole range of different issues and activities; from business to culture and from education to transport.

Late last year the council produced a Work-in-Progress document and asked people to comment on it from 12th December – 6th February. With the BCP having such significant consequences for the future of Birmingham, BFoE decided to prepare a response.

With the BCP covering so many different areas, both geographically and topically, a group effort was needed if we were to respond to everything, so in true BFoE style, we called a meeting. The February evening we had set to discuss our response to the BCP turned out to be cold and windy and there was thick snow on the ground – not promising – but despite this nine people struggled in and made the whole thing more than worthwhile. Birmingham City Council had handily divided up the BCP into sections, so we all took 1 or 2 bits each and got writing. Within a week we had a 15 page response covering every part of the plan. Now that’s community action.

Needless to say it’s a bit tricky to summarise the whole thing, but I’m going to give it a shot.

Business and Industry

  • Should use a Green New Deal approach to regeneration

  • Office space should be green retro-fitted

  • Plan to move industry out of the city centre concerning

  • Would support improved links to research and universities

  • Would support mixed use development


  • Need diverse range of shops selling local produce

  • Current high rent and rates preventing this

  • Suggest having a range of specialist markets

  • Encourage greater energy efficiency amongst existing retailers

Community Population and Households

  • Need to renovate unused housing before building more

  • Mix of housing needed in city centre

  • More family friendly city centre would be welcome

  • Would support sustainable housing, but this needs to include retro-fitting

Education and Learning

  • Need to produce well-rounded citizens, not just consumers

  • A revival of repair and upgrading skills needed

  • Need good schools, not a variety of schools

Culture, Sport and Leisure

  • Should be more cultivation of local creative talent

  • Increased availability of green spaces needed

  • Smaller, local facilities should be provided, not large central ones

Built and Natural Environment

  • This should reflect the needs of people, not cars

  • Greater pedestrianisation would be welcome

  • Should be a reduction in traffic congestion

  • More greenery and improvement to the city’s waterways is needed

  • More allotments should be created

We also responded to the sections covering each geographical area (such as the centre, Digbeth, Ladywood, etc), but this generally covered many of the above points, as well as highlighting the need for resident consultation.

If you would like to find out more about the BCP and read the Work-in-Progress document visit or you can read the “plain English” version at You can also request a copy of our full 15-page response by emailing