Roundtable to help unlock an exciting future for Solihull Town Centre
A Solihull town centre roundtable, convened and chaired by the leader of the Council, Ian Courts, aims to focus partnership efforts on unlocking the centre's full future potential and making it even more attractive for visitors.
The roundtable included leaders from Solihull Chamber of Commerce, Solihull Business Improvement District (BID), Touchwood and Solihull College & University Centre and discussed key ambitions and priorities for the town centre over the short, medium and long term.
Solihull town centre enjoys a well-established reputation as a vibrant, attractive and welcoming destination for high quality shopping, business and leisure and is one of the best-performing town centres in the country. However, as retail habits and the way local centres are used continue to change, the Council is working closely with its partners to ensure it remains an exciting, thriving and accessible place to live, work and visit.
The Council's ambitious Town Centre Masterplan takes a wider view of upcoming developments and investment opportunities in housing, leisure, business and culture. Developed in conversation with a range of key stakeholders, the Masterplan provides a blueprint for investment and phased development over the next 15 years.
Since adopting the Masterplan last year, the Council has also developed a public realm strategy which provides design principles to support future development, enhancing the visitor and resident experience. Significant steps have also been taken in progressing the redevelopment of Solihull Station, with an approved early concept design showing a modern Integrated Transport Hub, serving as a high-quality new gateway into the town centre.
The next major milestone is expected this Autumn when the Council will announce the appointment of a developer partner to deliver a new vision for Mell Square which will include a new diverse mixed-use space, offering the optimal balance of residential, leisure and commercial use.
Councillor Ian Courts (pictured), leader of Solihull Council and Portfolio Holder for the Economy, said: “This is an exciting time for Solihull town centre, but with so much planned investment and development coming forward over the next few years it's more important than ever that we have a clear plan and shared vision in place. Town centre developments take time and it was good to discuss with our partners possible longer and shorter term actions.
“We know the Council has a key role to play in the future of Solihull town centre alongside our other key stakeholders from business, leisure and education. One of our strongest assets historically has been our partnership working and willingness to collaborate with stakeholders including the BID, Touchwood and many others.
"This roundtable provided an opportunity to work together even more closely and keep each other updated as the pace of development really starts to ramp up."
Mel Palmer, chief executive of Solihull BID said: “With so much going for it, it's not surprising that Solihull town centre is bucking the national trend and outperforming other local centres in the region.
“We recognise that the key to a successful town is to create an inviting space for social interaction, somewhere where people don't 'need' to shop but they want to visit to shop, dine and meet.
“There are some really exciting proposals contained in Solihull's Town Centre masterplan and we will continue working closely with partners across the town centre to try and maximise all of these opportunities.”