Supportive measures announced to help Birmingham reopen safely
Following confirmation that non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality will be allowed to open on Monday 12 April, Birmingham City Council has revealed new temporary measures to support businesses.
Since the UK Government announced the Roadmap out of Lockdown in February 2021 the Council has approved 18 new Temporary Pavement Licences from businesses looking to place seating on public pavements outside their premises when they re-open next week.
The licences were introduced last year as a means of supporting the economy through a quicker, cheaper application process.
The City Council will introduce new changes in the city centre to support the applications from next week, including pavement widening, parking and traffic changes and additional street furniture. The new measures will build on some of the successful schemes that were introduced last year.
Rob James, Birmingham City Council’s Director of Neighbourhoods said: “I’m delighted that by working across the Council, in partnership with our Business Improvement Districts and other key stakeholders, we have identified a number of ways we can support the safe easing of lockdown on 12 April.
“We have taken a multi-agency approach to this work, engaging with public health, West Midlands Police, and others to ensure we can help deliver safe solutions that will support businesses after a challenging 12 months.
“I want to commend colleagues on their hard work under a short timescale.”
To support businesses in the Colmore BID, additional footway widening will take place on Church Street to allow for social distancing outside. Two additional parklets on Church St, funded and delivered by the BID, are also being installed and will be in addition to five parklets that they introduced last year.
To facilitate new Temporary Pavement Licences on Waterloo Street, the road will be closed to vehicles from Monday 12 April between 11am and 11pm. The closure covers the loop from Colmore Row to the top of Victoria Square, and will also support Colmore and Retail BID in their joint venture to transform Victoria Square in to an outdoor seating space.
Michele Wilby, CEO of Colmore BID said: “The measures we introduced last year have been positively received by the District and city. Over the coming months we intend to build on this with a number of new schemes including Summer in the Square and the introduction of two additional parklets.
“It has been a challenging twelve months for businesses, however we are hopeful for the future and keen to support in any way we can.”
In Westside, hospitality space on Broad Street and Gas Street will be created by enabling the businesses to use the footway and parking bays to support Temporary Pavement Licence arrangements.
Mike Olley, General Manager of Westside BID said: “We have been working with the Council closely to ensure that hospitality businesses in Westside can serve customers safely outside. I’m really pleased that by consulting with local residents, emergency services and other partners, we have been able to come up with a creative, practical solution.”
In the Jewellery Quarter work is already underway to utilise parking bays in Water Street and St Paul’s Square in order to create more space for hospitality businesses, and temporary seating will be introduced on Golden Square.
Small-scale roadworks to prohibit vehicles turning left from Queensway onto Livery Street and to suspend the one way in the section between Lionel Street and Queensway will be implemented, to enable businesses to create outdoor hospitality areas within a safe space.
Luke Crane, Executive Director of JQBID said: “The Jewellery Quarter is a vibrant hub of retail and hospitality, so I’m really pleased that by working with the Council we have been able to introduce traffic changes that will increase space for pedestrians and support hospitality businesses to expand their outdoor offering.”
In Southside District, eighteen on-street parking bays will be suspended and converted in to segregated areas to create outdoor spaces on the highway for hospitality. These will be sectioned off using concrete barriers and painted bright colours to create vibrant eating and drinking areas.
There will be no road closures in Retail BID, however layout changes are taking place on John Bright Street to facilitate Temporary Pavement Licence arrangements. The BID has installed a number of new pavement cafes for hospitality businesses throughout the retail area with help from the City Council licensing team.
Notes to Editors
The new measures that are being introduced are in addition to measures that were delivered last year and remain in place. They are:
- Footway widening in local centres to help with social distancing
- Footway widening in the city centre and the creation of parklets (transforming on-street parking in to outdoor seating areas)
- Improvements to reduce traffic and help with social distancing, walking and cycling
On Monday 5 April the UK Prime Minister announced that planned lockdown easements would go ahead on 12 April. This included the reopening of non-essential retail, personal care premises, most indoor leisure facilities, most outdoor attractions and outdoor hospitality. More information is available here.
There are lots of factors for licensed premises to consider ahead of reopening on 12 April. The Council has worked with West Midlands Police to prepare a joint briefing note with supporting information, which is additional to Government guidance and should not be deemed a substitute. More information is available here