- Birmingham City Centre
Birmingham City Centre is the business hub of the city of
Birmingham, United Kingdom. According to the Parkinson Masterplan of Birmingham, published in 2007, the city centre is defined as being the area within the A4540 road.cite web| url=http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/Media/UDP%2015%20-%20CITY%20CENTRE.pdf?MEDIA_ID=152332&FILENAME=UDP%2015%20-%20CITY%20CENTRE.pdf |title=Birmingham Unitary Development Plan Chapter 15 - City Centre |publisher=Birmingham City Council |accessdate=2008-01-11 |format=pdf]
The area within the A4540 road, also known as the Middle Ring Road, is largely covered by the
Ladywoodconstituency. The city centre is split into seven areas for the purpose of the Birmingham Unitary Development Plan of 2005:
Between Aston Triangle and the Digbeth Millennium Quarter is the area of Eastside which is undergoing |date=2007-11-12 |accessdate=2008-01-11]
Running through the city centre is the "Birmingham Fault", a sandstone ridge. [cite web|url=http://www.jpservicez-searcharticles.com/article.detail.php/179361/17/Travel/144/Vacations/The_Geography_of_Birmingham |title=The Geography of Birmingham|publisher=JPServicez Search Articles|author=Susan Ashby|date=2007-12-10|accessdate=2008-01-11] The "High Places" document produced and published by Birmingham City Council encouraged the construction of highrise buildings on the ridge. [cite web|url=http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/Media/high%20places.pdf?MEDIA_ID=164991&FILENAME=high%20places.pdf |title=High Places - a planning policy framework for tall buildings |publisher=Birmingham City Council |date=March 2003 |accessdate=2008-01-11 |format=pdf] Flowing through the city centre at
Deritendis the River Rea. It is believed that Birmingham originates to a settlement at the banks of the river [cite web|url=http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/GenerateContent?CONTENT_ITEM_ID=684&CONTENT_ITEM_TYPE=0&MENU_ID=51 |title=Heritage: Digbeth |publisher=Birmingham City Council |accessdate=2008-01-11] where a crossing named Deritend Bridgewas created. ["Communications - A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 7: The City of Birmingham" (1964), pp. 25-42. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=22960. Date accessed: 2008-01-11.]
Places of interest
The city centre contains many tourist destinations as well as landmarks.
Brindleyplace, a regeneration scheme by Argent Group PLC, regenerated an area of derelict warehouses alongside canals near Broad Street. The final phase of the scheme, Eleven Brindleyplace, is under construction. Brindleyplace consists of three public squares, offices, retail units and the Sea Life Centre. Oozells Street Board Schoolwas refurbished to become the Ikon Gallery. [cite book|author=Andy Coupland|title=Reclaiming the City: Mixed Use Development|year=1997|publisher=Taylor & Francis|isbn=0419213600] On the opposite side of Broad Street Tunnel on the canal network is Gas Street Basin. Nearby is also the International Convention Centre and Birmingham Symphony Hall, which is considered one of the best performance venues in the world. [cite web|url= http://www.cbso.co.uk/?page=about/symphonyHall.html |title=Symphony Hall, performance home of the CBSO |publisher=City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra |accessdate=2008-01-11] This overlooks Centenary Squareand is adjacent to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Centenary Square was redeveloped in 1989 and given its current name in that year. Within Centenary Square is the Hall of Memory and Baskerville House.
Other public squares in the city centre include Victoria Square,
Chamberlain Squareand Old Square. There are two public squares within the Bull Ring complex and another in the Custard Factory.
Retail is mainly focussed on the Bullring Shopping Centre, Corporation Street, New Street and High Street. There are other shopping centres in the city centre such as
The Mailboxon Suffolk Street and the Pallasades Shopping Centreabove New Street station. Great Western Arcadeis one of several arcades in the city centre. Digbethis the focus for many independent retailers. Broad Street is the main centre for Birmingham's nightlife. There are further nightclubs in Digbeth. Cultural attractions include Birmingham Central Libraryin Chamberlain Square and Birmingham Museum & Art Galleryand the Council House, Birminghamin the same building together with the clock tower, Big Brum. Thinktank opened in the Millennium Pointcomplex in Eastside in 2002, replacing the Museum of Science and Industry on Newhall Street. The history of the Jewellery Quarter is documented in the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. Also in the Jewellery Quarter is the Colony art gallery, the Royal Birmingham Society of Artistsand St. Paul's Gallery. A group of back-to-back houseson Hurst Streetwere restored by the National Trust. The Birmingham Back to Backsare the last surviving court of back to back houses in the city. [cite book|author=Kennedy, Liam|title=Remaking Birmingham: The Visual Culture of Urban Regeneration|year=2004|publisher=Routledge|isbn=041528838X] Colmore Rowis the centre of the Colmore Row and Environs Conservation Area which consists of St. Philip's Cathedral. [cite web |url=http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/colmorerowca.bcc |title=Colmore Row and Environs Conservation Area |publisher=Birmingham City Council |accessdate=2008-01-11] The Jewellery Quarter is also covered by a conservation area. [cite web| url=http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/GenerateContent?CONTENT_ITEM_ID=3214&CONTENT_ITEM_TYPE=0&MENU_ID=1675#j |title=Birmingham's Conservation Areas |publisher=Birmingham City Council |accessdate=2008-01-11] Other quarters in the city centre are the Chinese Quarter, Irish Quarterand Learning and Technology Quarter.
Aston Universityis based in the city centre whilst Birmingham City Universityhas educational facilities there. In the Eastside area is Matthew Boulton Collegewhich moved from its previous location alongside Belgrave Middleway in 2005. Near this, is the New Technology Institute, which opened in 2006.
Birmingham New Street stationis the main railway stationin the city centre with local and national railway connections. The station was first built in 1854 and rebuilt in 1967. The redevelopment of the station in a project named Gateway Plusis awaiting funding from the UK Government. Birmingham Moor Street station, Birmingham Snow Hill station, Bordesley railway stationand Jewellery Quarter railway stationare also located within the city centre. Ten suburban and Inter-City heavy rail routes service the city centre. The first railway station to be built in the city centre was Curzon Street railway station, which acted as the terminus for both the London and Birmingham Railway and the Grand Junction Railway, with lines connecting Birmingham to London and to Manchester and Liverpool respectively. The building, designed by Philip Hardwick, was built in 1838 and is Grade I listed.
Midland Metrosystem, opened in 1999, terminates at Snow Hill station and has stops at St Paul's and the Jewellery Quarter. There are plans to extend Line One into the city centre to New Street station and on to Five Ways, Birmingham. In 2007, construction of a new viaductto carry the Midland Metro line over Great Charles Street Queensway commenced. The viaduct is being built by the developers of Snowhilladjacent to Snow Hill station. The viaduct will be turfed over until the funding for the extension and planning permission have been granted. Birmingham city centre used to have a trolleybus system in the 19th century and early-20th century which extended towards the suburbs.
The trolleybus system was replaced by motor buses and the city centre is now the hub for the bus system in the city. The buses mainly terminate at Bull Street, Corporation Street and Moor Street Queensway. The majority of these buses are operated by
National Express West Midlands. The city centre is also the hub for the national coach network. Digbeth Coach Station, which is currently in the process of being prepared for redevelopment, is owned and operated by National Expresswho are to move their headquarters to the city. It was built by Midland Redin 1929, and until 1997 was also used by Midland Red West as a depot. The shed to the rear of the coach station has been demolished and Spencer House, the office building above the main waiting room, has been boarded up. A planning application for the refurbishment of the building has been submitted and is awaiting planning permission. A temporary coach station on the opposite side of the road is currently being used.
Cars are not officially encouraged in the city centre. Some areas have been
pedestrianisedto prevent cars interfering with pedestrian traffic, and some roundabouts with pedestrian subway systems have been replaced with signal-controlled junctions, e.g. on Smallbrook Queensway, Moor St Queensway, James Watt Queensway and St Chad's Circusnear St Chad's Cathedral. However, there are still the remnants of the Birmingham Inner Ring Roadin (Queensway) in existence despite much demolition and downgrading, with a "de facto" heavily-trafficked "half-ring" with vehicular underpasses for through traffic on St Chads Queensway, Great Charles St Queensway and Suffolk St Queensway. Some at-grade pedestrian crossings go over these roads, but most remain subways or bridges. This "half-ring" does arguably reduce traffic in other parts of the city centre, however.
There are numerous multi-storey car parks located within the city centre, most owned by private companies. A new multi-storey car park is proposed at the rear of Millennium Point whilst the demolition of the multi-storey car park on Dale End has been granted permission by the city council as part of the
Martineau Galleriesredevelopment by the Birmingham Alliance.
The city centre is the location for the
National Indoor Arena, which is operated by the NEC. The indoor arena has hosted many national and international sporting events, as well as music concerts.
Gallery of Birmingham city centre images
* [http://www.birminghamuk.com/citycentre.htm City Centre, Birmingham]
* [http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/GenerateContent?CONTENT_ITEM_ID=721&CONTENT_ITEM_TYPE=0&MENU_ID=666 Birmingham maps]
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