Developer was first appointed to city centre Smithfield scheme five years ago

A council decision on Lendlease’s plans for the £1.9bn Smithfield regeneration in Birmingham has been deferred again because of concerns over the amount of outdoor space proposed.

Councillors and local organisations have raised objections about the size of a proposed public square and park, saying it is too small.

Councillor Gareth Moore said that what had been put forward so far was “not compliant with either the Birmingham development plan or the masterplan for Smithfield which always envisioned a large-capacity events space as part of that”.


Concerns have been raised about the size of outdoor space drawn up under the plans

A council officer’s report for a planning committee last week said that while the site can currently accommodate a large festival, “there is no planning policy requirement for the square to be of a minimum size or hold any particular events”.

A spokesperson for Lendlease said: “We respect the planning committee’s decision and will now work closely with officers to understand the reasons for a deferral. We look forward to presenting the application again in the near future.”

Lendlease first lodged its planning application in December 2022 but Historic England said it could not support the proposals stating that it would “harm the historic cityscape but also disturb significant medieval remains”.

In the revised plans, which were submitted in February this year and supersede original plans submitted at the end of 2022, Lendlease said that all proposed buildings would be constructed away from an 18th century moat and medieval walls.

The 4,000-home Smithfield Birmingham scheme, one of the largest in the second city’s history, has undergone a series of major design changes that have also seen second staircases added to residential blocks and building heights increased by 10m.

A number of high-profile architects are working on the plans, located next to the city’s Bull Ring shopping centre, including Stirling Prize-winner Haworth Tompkins as well as dRMM, Intervention Architecture, Minesh Patel Architects and RCKa with James Corner Field Operations designing the public realm and landscape.

Lendlease was first named preferred partner by the city council five years ago and signed a contract with the authority in December 2020.

Also on the project team is Aecom as QS, DP9 as planning consultant, Turner & Townsend as principal advisor to Lendlease, structural engineer Arup, transport and civil engineer WSP and heritage consultant Montagu Evans.