The JQDT releases exciting plans to revitalise the Jewellery Quarter in the wake of COVID-19

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The Jewellery Quarter Development Trust has released part one of a two-phase document which details proposals that will help stimulate business growth for the Jewellery Quarter. 

Established in 2011, the JQDT is a Community Interest Company that is constituted and operated for the benefit of the communities in the Jewellery Quarter. The JQDT carries out a range of projects, most noticeably, the Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement District (JQBID).

The plan which has been received positively by businesses and members of the community comes at a time when the Jewellery Quarter would usually be welcoming thousands of visitors to its shops, bars and restaurants.

Usually a place of vibrancy and energy, the Jewellery Quarter, like other Birmingham districts, has seen a huge reduction in footfall as Government guidance has forced many businesses to close and customers to stay at home. Even though these measures are only temporary, the lifestyle changes that people are now adopting are permanent, which is why it is vital that the JQDT, which sits at the heart of the JQ’s community, acts now to ensure the Quarter’s long-term sustainability.

An example of one of the projects proposed in the plan is the closure of Livery Street at the junction of Great Charles Street Queensway. The closure will cause very minimal disruption to vehicles, yet will allow hospitality venues to take full advantage of utilising additional space for spill-out purposes.

COVID Response - Livery Street JQ
An illustration of what the closure to Livery Street could look like. Illustration by Mark Hipwell.

Abigail Connolly, Owner of Arch 13 – a popular wine bar on Livery Street – welcomes the plan.

“The plan from the JQDT 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 JQ. 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”.

Other projects within the plan include further changes to increase safety on Livery Street, utilising underused car parks for craft and makers fairs and repurposing public realm, such as the Golden Square, for outdoor food and cultural events.

Luke Crane, Executive Director, JQDT, is excited to see the plan finally launched.

“The JQDT’s COVID Response Plan is an amalgam of conversations with many stakeholders over the course of the past 3 months. We are excited to work with Birmingham City Council on a number of these projects and look forward to their cooperation in what is a crucial step for the future of the Jewellery Quarter.”

The activities included in the plan already join several exciting projects that will be completed in 2021. The £2.3 million restoration project of the Jewellery Quarter cemeteries is due to be completed early next year, along with the return of the iconic Chamberlain Clock after extensive repairs to its tower and clock 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 world-famous Pen Museum.

Argent Centre restoration - credit - Blue Monday
Restoration of the Argent Centre on Frederick Street, part funded by the JQ Townscape Heritage. Credit: Blue Monday

Through the JQBID’s unique position within the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust, as well as partnerships with Birmingham City Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, over £4 million is currently being spent on improving the Jewellery Quarter’s landscape and protecting its heritage. With the release of the JQDT’s COVID Response Plan, the Jewellery Quarter can look forward to a more positive future in a post pandemic world.

Luke continues “We can’t wait to see many of the JQDT’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 that the JQDT and JQBID are working on will protect it for generations to come”.

The JQDT COVID Response Plan can be viewed here. The consultation for the second phase of the plan will see the JQDT working with local communities, ahead of its release in 2021.

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