To create a public park in the centre of Birmingham
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Birmingham does not have a large park in its city centre - a glaring omission for the UK's second city. However, we currently have a unique opportunity to address this and it’s now or never! With the wholesale markets in Digbeth now relocated to another site, a large space of 17 hectares (over the size of 20 football pitches) has been created, with the majority of it public land. This site, called Birmingham Smithfield, which is less than 5 minutes’ walk from New Street station and the Bullring, is an ideal location for a green park that could truly transform our city’s landscape.
Unfortunately, the council has had other ideas for Smithfield. Its Visioning Document released in 2015 had very little public space and certainly no park as part of its plans, which led to the launch of this petition by CityPark4Brum. In 2016, the council then released the Smithfield Masterplan, which now included plans for a new park on one part of the site, as a direct result of this campaign. However the space allocated for this park is simply too small, being smaller than the Cathedral Green and is wedged in between other buildings. Therefore the CityPark4Brum campaign has continued and is now into its fifth year.
This petition presents an alternative vision to the Masterplan in accommodating cultural buildings, markets, homes and transport links connected to one large area of open and green space. See here for more details on the CityPark4Brum plan. Parks like the one we are proposing provide the lungs and fresh air for a city and are good for both the private and public purse. In particular they improve our physical and mental health, promote social cohesion, improve biodiversity, reduce pollution and provide a site for open-air events.
Did you know that the council’s own Parks and Open Spaces Strategy (Section 5.4) highlights a lack of existing public open space in the city centre? In wards that cover the Digbeth area, the current open space provision is much lower than the council's target of 2 hectares per 1000 residents. Now 2000 additional homes are being proposed in the Masterplan with clearly an insufficient amount of new open space to go with it. Eastside Park and the Cathedral Green are the only green areas in or very near to the city centre for local residents and visitors.
Other global cities are known and celebrated for having signature parks at their centres, for example London, Berlin, New York and Washington. In fact, Central Park in New York is a main visitor attraction and generates $1Billion annually to the local economy. There is no doubt that global cities benefit from having well-known parks at their centres. The wholesale markets site is the last area of large open space left in Birmingham's city centre, and one still in public ownership, that could be transformed in this way. So now it’s our turn and our last chance to have a unique city centre park. Situated right next to the Bullring, it would be the missing piece of the jigsaw, a green hub that connects different parts of the city, making a legacy for generations to come. So please join the campaign to turn a brownfield site into a green one by signing this petition and following updates on the CityPark4Brum website, as well as on Twitter, FaceBook & Instagram.
The original petition was submitted to Birmingham City Council as part of its Smithfield consultations in 2015, 2016 & 2018. In January 2019, the updated petition, having reached over 10,000 names, was sent to Birmingham City Council. When it was discussed in June 2019, the CityPark4Brum plans got a fantastic response from councillors. So let's keep up the pressure on the council to think again by asking your colleagues, friends and supporters to sign the petition.
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0 have signed. Let’s get to 15,000!