A new bid to help hospitality businesses and encourage the crowds back to a Birmingham city district has been launched which could see a street partially closed.
Jewellery Quarter Development Trust, which operates the area’s business improvement district, has revealed a series of proposals in response to the recent months of lockdown as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.
The proposed work is set to be split into two phases with the first outlining plans to close Livery Street at the junction with Great Charles Street Queensway.
This would enable the hospitality venues in that section to spill out onto the street and increase their capacities for customers.
The trust said this closure would cause “very minimal disruption” to vehicles but allow hospitality venues to take full advantage of the additional space.
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Other projects within the plan include further changes to increase safety on Livery Street, utilising underused car parks for craft fairs and repurposing public realm, such as the Golden Square in Warstone Lane, for outdoor food and cultural events.
The Jewellery Quarter is renowned for its small, independent businesses and, like other districts in Birmingham, has suffered from a dramatic drop in footfall since the pandemic started.
In recent months, the city council has experimented with temporary measures such as pop-up cycle lanes and traffic restrictions in a bid to help with social distancing and to boost pedestrian movement around the quarter.
Luke Crane, executive director of the trust, said: “Our Covid Response Plan is an amalgam of conversations with many stakeholders over the course of the past three months.
“We are excited to work with Birmingham City Council on a number of these projects and look forward to their co-operation in what is a crucial step for the future of the Jewellery Quarter.”
Abigail Connolly owns wine bar Arch 13 which fronts onto the section of Livery Street covered by these new proposals.
She said: “The plan turns a street that is neglected and forgotten about into a real hub and has the potential to transform the way people look at the Jewellery Quarter.
“It will encourage those from Colmore Row to venture further down and explore the quarter more, improve trade and showcase one of the absolute gems of Birmingham that is the Jewellery Quarter.
“We see this road closure as vital for our business in current times and can’t wait to see the plans be put into action.”
The activities outlined in the plan are in addition to several other initiatives due to complete next year including the £2.3 million restoration of the quarter’s cemeteries and the return of the famous Chamberlain Clock after extensive repairs to its tower and mechanism.
Improvements to restore the Jewellery Quarter’s industrial middle will also see work finished on a number of the area’s most historic buildings, including the 157-year-old Argent Centre which houses the Pen Museum.
More than £4 million is currently being spent on improving the Jewellery Quarter’s landscape and protecting its heritage in partnership with bodies such as the city council and Heritage Lottery Fund.
Mr Crane added: “We can’t wait to see many of the trust’s projects finally come to fruition in what promises to be an exciting year for the Jewellery Quarter.
“The area is a national treasure and the projects we are working on will protect it for generations to come.”