Birmingham city center will have 1,350 fewer parking spaces this Christmas – just as retailers struggle to recover from the most difficult commercial period in living memory.
Over the past 18 months, the Central Shopping Area has lost big names like Forever 21, GAP, Burton, Topshop, Topman, John Lewis and Debenhams.
Today Birmingham City Council is demolishing its two cheapest multi-storey car parks to use which are also close to the heart of the city.
Read more: Iconic 50-year-old downtown parking lot demolished
The NCP Grand Central car park is also closed from July 1 to next spring “for improvements”, the city will have 1,359 spaces less at Christmas than during the last normal festive period, two years ago in December 2019 .
The reduction in capacity comes just as the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) forces around a quarter of drivers of older, non-compliant cars to pay Â£ 8 per day (midnight to midnight) to cross the A45430 Middle Ring Road.
CAZ fees were introduced from June 14, two weeks after the program went live with a ‘soft start’.
Anyone who has fined Â£ 120 (Â£ 60 if paid within 14 days) during the first four weeks after June 14 will be able to pay the Â£ 8 fee instead.
What is happening?
As you can see in the video above, the first multi-story parking lot to be demolished is the 317-space Pershore Street site, convenient for Chinatown, the Gay Village, the Indoor Market, and the Theater, including the Birmingham Racecourse.
Next to the Chop is the market parking lot on Moat Lane.
It is also a communal car park with 575 spaces at the gates of the Bull Ring Markets and the Bullring shopping center.
The two sites had the cheapest prices from the city council’s multi-story offer.
Drivers could park for just Â£ 5 for 24 hours, or one-fifth the cost of parking in nearby arenas for 24 hours.
The cost of parking at Moat Lane, for example, was Â£ 2 for up to two hours, Â£ 3.50 for up to four hours, Â£ 4.50 for up to six hours or just 50 pence more for all day – a price that was as convenient for downtown workers as well as shoppers.
Motorists who park under the Bullring itself in one of the 1,015 spaces currently pay Â£ 3.50 for up to one hour.
The Bullring rate then becomes Â£ 5.50 for a maximum of two hours; Â£ 8.50 for up to three hours; Â£ 10 for up to four hours; Â£ 12 for up to six hours; Â£ 15 for up to eight hours and Â£ 25 for more than eight hours (recharging starts again after 24 hours).
The number of spaces on Pershore Street and Moat Lane is 892.
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But as BirminghamLive reported last week, NCP Grand Central will also be closed from July 1 until ânext springâ.
Although Grand Central only opened in September 2015, the parking lot is closed âfor improvementsâ.
This means that another 467 spaces will not be available for Christmas shoppers. –
The closure could actually help alleviate the downtown traffic jam, as there is only one way to get in and out of the Grand Central parking lot and that’s next to Hill Street – right next to the disembarkation lane for New Street Station.
But it remains to be seen whether that also means there will be fewer visitors to the city center during the festive rush.
Parking under study
Birmingham City Council is also keen to demolish the 610-space Paradise car park behind Baskerville House – here the new 550-space car under the ongoing Paradise redevelopment site will compensate for most of these.
The Brunel Street Cage / Town Hall site next to New Street Station is also under consideration.
He also expected that the current ‘bomb site’ spaces next to Great Charles Queensway off Ludgate Hill would also be lost once redevelopment of this site begins to build a 39-story tower in the part of a Â£ 260million scheme to create 722 new homes for rent.
In reports on the future of various car parks, the deputy director of the council for transport and connectivity previously said that there was an oversupply of car parks in the city center “equivalent to almost 10,000 spaces. “.
A tender notice issued on January 26, 2021 stated that the contract for the demolition of the multi-story parking lots on Pershore Street and Moat Lane as well as the Manor House was for 8.5 months (34 weeks).
The notice read: “The two former large multi-storey car parks and the Council office building are part of the Smithfield development site and this land has been earmarked for redevelopment, so identifies the need for safe demolition and ‘a site clearance.
“Part of the cleaned-up site has also been selected to host a selection of key sporting events that will be part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”