Petition launched to protect Birmingham’s Chinatown and Gay Village

Catherine Muxworthy March 6, 2023

A petition has been launched objecting to Lendlease and Smithfield development plans which ignores Chinatown and “provides a under-developed and limited pedestrian access to the LGBT quarter.”

The Say No to Smithfield Development campaign – created on by Councillor Alex Yip – aims to “Help us to do justice to Birmingham’s Future by objecting to the outline plan at the Smithfield Development – forcing them to link their proposals to our city’s Chinatown and Gay Village, and to create a much-needed World Class Festival Space as Birmingham City Council promised businesses and communities when they closed the Wholesale Markets.”

The current proposed festival space will only provide a small public space, on the site that for the past few years has been home to Birmingham Pride festival – which attracts more than 115,000 visitors a year. The petition suggests that that is “far from fitting for our great city.”

Further concerns have also been raised because the development has been “designed by Crosby Lendlease who are yet to sign the building safety repairs pledge that seeks to improve fire safety standards after the Grenfell Tower Disaster.”

During a council meeting, Councillor Alden asked the leader, Councillor Ian Ward, “Lendlease is one of a handful of major developers reported as still holding out against the Secretary of State’s instructions to sign up to a commitment to repair unsafe buildings. So far, the leader and the council have resisted calls to take a tougher stance against the developer.

“Will the leader, therefore, commit to putting residents’ safety above large contracts with international firms or flagship projects, and issue a notice saying the council will not work with contractors who refuse to accept responsibility for cladding on buildings they built, and will they ban such developers from working with the council going forward?”

In response, Cllr Ward said: “I am aware of the issues with Lendlease and the buildings they have constructed which have cladding that needs to be replaced. We are talking to Lendlease about those matters.

“Unfortunately, I’m unable to commit myself to the request that Cllr Alden has made because that would place the council in a very precarious position.”

People who are equally as concerned about not only the fire safety regulations but also the impact of this development on the city’s Chinatown and LGBTQ+ village can have their voices heard by signing the petition.