Fort Shop­ping Park to be given more mod­ern look

Birmingham Post - - COMMERCIAL PROPERTY - Tam­lyn Jones Busi­ness Cor­re­spon­dent

THE Fort Shop­ping Park is in store for a ma­jor makeover as bosses look to make a “con­sid­er­able” in­vest­ment to cre­ate a more mod­ern re­tail site.

The out-of-town shop­ping park be­tween Cas­tle Vale and Brom­ford in Birm­ing­ham cel­e­brated its 20th an­niver­sary last year but its de­sign has now been de­scribed as “dated” and “poor”.

Hav­ing tri­alled a new de­sign con­cept for two empty units last year, The Fort Re­tail Park Trust has now filed a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion to Birm­ing­ham City Coun­cil to roll out the scheme across most of its shops on the east­ern side of the park, which in­cludes brands such and Boots.

Es­sen­tially it would re­place the prom­i­nent drum and tower fea­tures with a “fam­ily of ter­raced shops” un­der a raised canopy.

The works will cre­ate taller and more trans­par­ent shop fronts which will hope­fully make them more at­trac­tive to shop­pers.

It has not been stated how much dis­rup­tion the re­de­vel­op­ment would cause to the af­fected shops, but park chiefs say ten­ants are be­ing no­ti­fied about how the pro­posed works would af­fect them so they can re­main trad­ing “where pos­si­ble”.

Plan­ning doc­u­ments de­scrib­ing the prob­lems with the cur­rent de­sign state: “The ap­pear­ance of the ex­ist­ing units are con­strained by domi- as H&M, JD nant ar­chi­tec­tural drums above each store en­trance, low level canopies and low shop win­dows, that pro­vide poor vis­i­bil­ity viewed along the ter­raced ar­eas where land­scap­ing and sig­nage also block views to the store fronts to cre­ate an op­pres­sive shop­ping en­vi­ron­ment.”

They add: “Fol­low­ing a re­view and ap­praisal of the ex­ist­ing park scheme, and the shop frontages in par­tic­u­lar, the trustees wish to in­vest in the en­hance­ment of the park based upon the de­signs estab­lished by the cur­rent Unit 5/6 works.

“The as­pi­ra­tion is to cre­ate a place that is an at­trac­tive and con­tem­po­rary shop­ping en­vi­ron­ment, rel­e­vant to shop­pers and prospec­tive shop­pers, as an ap­peal­ing place to spend time.

“This is to be un­der­taken by en­hanc­ing the de­sign of the shop fronts and help­ing to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that is at­trac­tive to shop­pers, thereby im­prov­ing con­di­tions for ex­ist­ing and fu­ture ten­ants.

“The scheme is con­ceived as a fam­ily of ter­raced shops un­der a stepped canopy, cre­at­ing a more con­tem­po­rary feel and pre­sen­ta­tion than the ex­ist­ing units can pro­vide for to­day’s re­tail­ers.

“The ex­ist­ing scheme is dom­i­nated by a series of tow­ers that re­late poorly to the stores be­low; the scale of the tow­ers is dis­pro­por­tion­ate to the shop frontages.

“The de­sign cri­te­ria of the new scheme will ad­dress this by cre­at­ing taller and more trans­par­ent shop fronts, with a more suit­able and re­lated canopy.”

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An artist’s im­pres­sion of how The Fort Shop­ping Park will look

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