Posted on:
20th April, 2020

Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP map post pandemic recovery plan for town centres.

Latest Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP report to Local Authorities provides insight on growing town centres after Covid-19.

Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP map post pandemic recovery plan for town centres.

The new report is providing insight for Local Authorities that will assist them in maximising the potential of their town centres.

Commissioned by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), it provides guidance on how investment in towns and local centres could be made in the future. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is hoped that the report can be utilised by Local Authorities and wider partners to enable them to plan effectively for the end of the current restrictions.

The Growing Our Towns report builds on the 2019 Towns and Local Centres Framework to provide a series of recommendations based on clear evidence about strengths, challenges and opportunities for the future prosperity of towns in the city-region, developed through the input of 10 towns: Bromsgrove, Burton-upon-Trent, Cannock, Kidderminster, Lichfield, Redditch, Rugeley, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, and Tamworth.

Towns and local centres are a crucial part of the economic and social success of the GBSLEP area.  The 10 town centres in this report are home to nearly 20,500 businesses, 27.5% of the total businesses in Greater Birmingham. These towns are also important places to live and home to 670,000 people. The report explores the interaction between individual towns and their relationship to the city of Birmingham, based on extensive research and supported by workshops with town stakeholders.

Whilst each town will have its own set of specific requirements and economic issues to overcome, the report makes a number of broad recommendations including: locally focused enterprise support to connect local people to opportunities; unlocking of major mixed-use sites that can offer longer-term economic benefits; improving public realm, including pedestrian and cyclist accessibility; and increasing sustainable and high quality town centre residential provision. Many of these recommendations can be applied across a number of towns with some being taken forward and shaped during the lockdown to ensure plans are in place when we emerge.

Simon Marks, Board Director for Optimising Assets, GBSLEP, said:

The last 12 months has proven to be an exceedingly challenging time for many of the towns in the city-region, which were already suffering considerably from the difficult retail market even before restrictions in relation to the control of Covid-19.

“These restrictions will be temporary, and we must ensure that those involved in recovery planning in the Greater Birmingham city region are equipped with this kind of insight, coupled with strong, evidence-based recommendations and priorities to guide future investment.

“Through the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), we have a clear objective to develop thriving towns and local centres and in our view there has never been a more important time to consider the part that these locations play in the economic future of this region and the wider UK.”

"While the aspects of many towns can be complimentary to one another, some also feature competitive dynamics through their balance of providing employment, retail and leisure, and residential uses.

"Each location has its own particular strengths and opportunities for growth, investment and development. This report provides a holistic view of the Greater Birmingham area and will play a vital role in informing future growth planning and identification of areas that will benefit most from investment through both public and private sector channels.

“We are exceedingly thankful to have had truly invaluable input from our partners in forming this report.”

A full copy of the report can be found here: