Our response to the City Centre & Snow Hill public realm improvements consultation

Filed under: Consultation

As ever with these schemes, there’s no detail as to why each design decision has been made, so the usual disclaimer applies that we’re sorry if there’s a good reason for each decision, but it’s not obvious from the design.

We cannot stress enough that we wish that all design proposals contained the reasoning behind each element of the scheme, along with possible alternatives and the reasons they were rejected. We believe that would make these consultations far smoother and more productive.

These are my thoughts on the current proposal to improve the area around Cathedral Square in the centre of town. The proposal, and all associated documents are online here.

The good

We will start with what we consider to be the good parts of the proposal:

The less good

There are, however, aspects of the scheme that puzzle us. A couple of us did go to an in-person consultation for this scheme, and had a very enjoyable chat with the designers there.

The alternative

We ask whether Temple Row, Waterloo Road, and the entirety of Bennetts Hill could be pedestrianised. That would leave Newhall Street as one-way, and installing either a contraflow cycling lane or a fully protected lane would allow it to be used as a cycling route to and from the Jewellery Quarter.

Additionally, with the focus on improving the permeability of the city centre for cyclists, Pinfold Street and Stephenson Street could also be pedestrianised, especially given the number of times that illegally parked cars hold up trams. Again, there’s no need for vehicular access to these roads, other than for deliveries.


In summary, whilst there are many aspects of the proposal that are to be applauded, we feel that this scheme should be more ambitious. Whilst the general improvements are to be welcomed, we can’t help but wonder why the city must seemingly move forward in such small steps. Be Bold, Birmingham!

Paul Manzotti

Worrying about my wife's daily cycle commute and the health of my born-and-bred-in-a-city children, I may have become slightly obsessed with creating a network of protected cycle lanes in Birmingham! Which includes LTNs.

In my defence, they can solve so many problems our country suffers from currently.