LEP to give Birmingham regeneration project £51m

The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) has agreed to provide £51m to help fund a controversial regeneration project.

The GBSLEP board ‘provisionally’ agreed to provide the funding for the £700m Paradise Birmingham project at an extraordinary meeting before Christmas.

‘After a thorough due diligence process, the GBSLEP Board has provisionally approved additional funding for Paradise worth £51m,’ said a GBSLEP spokesperson in a statement.

‘This decision is subject to the formal governance process being completed in early 2019.’

The regeneration project includes 10 new buildings for offices, shops and dining, hundreds of car parking spaces, a new hotel and public spaces between Centenary Square and Chamberlain Square.

City centre landmarks such as the former central library and Fletchers Walk have been demolished to make way for the scheme.

The scheme hit the headlines last year after it was revealed Birmingham City Council had been forced to hand over control of the project to GBSLEP amid spiralling costs.

A report by the council’s corporate director for finance and governance, Clive Heaphy, to the audit committee in November said both the council and LEP were ‘unsighted on major cost changes’.

Last week, it was announced that Birmingham City Council has selected Lendlease as its development partner to deliver the £1.5bn Birmingham Smithfield regeneration project.

Lendlease will form a contractual joint venture with Birmingham City Council and lead the creation of an urban quarter that includes a new home for the city’s historic Bull Ring retail markets, a family destination including a leisure and cultural offer, a new public square, integrated public transport and more than 2,000 homes with a public park and community facilities.

The 42-acre Smithfield project is part of the city’s Big City Plan – launched in 2010 – which sets out a 25-year vision to grow the city centre by more than 25%.

Jamie Hailstone
Senior reporter - NewStart


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