An iconic canalside building could become a ‘cycling hub’ for Birmingham under new proposals from the Canal & River Trust and National Trust.
The Roundhouse, near the National Indoor Arena, was formerly a live music venue, together with the adjoining Fiddle & Bone pub. However, complaints from new neighbours in canalside flats saw the venues fall silent, and since then the buildings have been used.
Now, the two trusts are investigating redevelopment of the Grade II* listed building as an “urban outdoors hub”. This could include a cycle store and workshop, facilities for local people and commuters, catering, and a hub for local businesses. They say:
“We want to create an innovative fusion of outdoor recreation, heritage exploration and city socialising. The Roundhouse’s main role will be as an urban recreation centre where people can use its facilities to explore the city and beyond on foot, by bike or by water.”
Of these three modes of transport, it’s cycling that dominates the consultation document – with images including community bike workshops, artisan cycling companies, bike hire, a cycle café, and secure cycle parking.
The horseshoe shaped Roundhouse was built by the Corporation of Birmingham as a mineral and coal wharf in the 1870s and was originally used for stabling and storage. Located in Ladywood, the building is at the heart of the 100-mile canal system – whose towpaths form the biggest network of off-road cycle paths in any British city.
Beccy Speight, Regional Director for the National Trust in Birmingham, said: “It was originally a hub for the distribution of goods and the stabling of horses and there is an exciting opportunity to make it a modern day hub for those who want to actively explore and discover more about their city today. We’d love to help make that happen.”
The trusts are keen to hear from people with ideas for the Roundhouse – as well as businesses and organisations who could be interested in taking part. The consultation is being run by Jo Dimitri of the National Trust, firstname.lastname@example.org.