Birmingham City Council is installing temporary pavement widening measures in the Colmore and Retail Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), to help retail and hospitality businesses get back on their feet.
Work to install these measures, which involves re-allocating space from the carriageway for footway overspill, will be installed on Temple Row, Temple Row West, Edmund Street and Church Street to enable safe social distancing for outdoor queueing and to help pedestrians pass safely.
The measures on Temple Row are being funded through the European Regional Development Fund’s (ERDF) Reopening High Streets Safely Fund, with the remaining measures funded by the Council.
The space can also be used for additional seating by local hospitality businesses, providing they have secured a Temporary Pavement Licence. The licences were introduced in July by the UK government and have a quicker, cheaper application process to help support economic recovery post-pandemic.
Temple Row West will also be made one-way from 23 November, with the direction of traffic reversing on Waterloo Street, meaning that vehicles can travel from Colmore Row along Temple Row West and Waterloo Street, and must use Waterloo Street/Bennetts Hill to access Newhall Street. Temple Row will remain two-way. Temple Street remains one-way towards New Street.
The new measures are also designed to complement the five new parklets that were installed earlier this year by Colmore BID and EventMen on Waterloo Street, Colmore Row, Church Street and Barwick Street. Parklets are created by turning on-street parking spaces into outdoor seating areas for hospitality.
Each parklet has capacity for up to 20 people within defined areas, including seating with a low table for coffee and drinks, and an area for dining with a high table and standing room. They also include an area that has been specifically designed to be accessible for wheelchair users.
Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This has been an incredibly tough year for Birmingham’s hospitality and retail sectors, and we know that businesses and their workers have really felt the impact of COVID restrictions. That's why we're doing all we can to help them to reopen safely when the lockdown is lifted.
“These new measures will provide much needed space for pedestrians to maintain social distancing when queuing outside shops and restaurants. This reallocation of road space should also encourage more footfall and make the area a nicer place to shop, eat and drink. It’s great to be able to deliver these measures now, in collaboration with the Business Improvement Districts.”
Michele Wilby, CEO of Colmore BID, said: “The Covid-19 restrictions, while vital, have decimated the country’s leisure and hospitality industry. Social distancing has meant venues are operating at significantly reduced capacity, some even struggling to cover overheads. The pavement widening, paired with our parklet scheme, will hopefully ease some of the difficulties businesses are facing, providing increased seating across the city centre.”
Steve Hewlett, Retail BID Manager said: “It is important now more than ever that the hospitality businesses in the city centre are supported and we welcome these public realm improvements to encourage customers to return."
Work to install the temporary measures started on Monday 9th November and will take approximately 3 weeks to complete (until Monday 30 November).