Muse Engages Public for Mell Square Redevelopment

03.04.24 3 min read by Iona MacRury

Solihull Council has chosen Muse as its preferred partner for the redevelopment of Mell Square, a post-modern shopping district in the heart of Solihull’s thriving town centre.

We recently delivered a programme of early public engagement during the Solihull Business Festival. We gathered the views of over 150 people who live in, work in and visit Mell Square, and this information is now being used to inform the next stage of master planning.

Maggie Grogan, Muse Managing Director – Midlands, said:

We are proud to have been selected by the Council to deliver the regeneration of Mell Square and support the ambitious vision for Solihull town centre.”

“Our focus is on working in partnership with local authorities and communities to deliver quality new places. This means regeneration with people at its heart. A place which will celebrate Solihull’s heritage and help define its future.”

“As we work with the Council to develop the proposals, we will engage closely with the community. We want to understand what is needed in Solihull and how we can deliver a vibrant town centre for generations to come.”

Community engagement taking place in Solihull

As retail habits and the way we use local centres continue to change, Solihull Council is keen to ensure its town centre offer also evolves. The opening of Solihull’s Touchwood shopping centre in the early 2000s, and the more recent closure of flagship department stores Marks & Spencer and House of Fraser, alongside wider changing retail trends have led to reduced overall footfall in Mell Square. Our masterplan aims to revitalise this much-loved Solihull location with the addition of new homes, public spaces, events, and high-quality retail and leisure units.

Our placemaking expertise is driving an emphasis on retaining all that’s good about the character of Mell Square while delivering a new mixed-use neighbourhood, bringing residential, leisure and commercial spaces together to form a dynamic new destination in Solihull Town Centre.

In March 2024, alongside Solihull Council its partners and built environment experts from Turley and architects Howells, we hosted a three-day in-person engagement event at an empty retail unit in Mell Square. An online questionnaire sought the views of the community on the next stages of the masterplanning and insight-gathering phase of the scheme to inform an industry-leading masterplan and design.

Members of the public speak with Muse about the development of Mell Square

The events kick off an insight-driven strategic communications programme, which will capture and analyse both qualitative and quantitative data from those who live in and work in and visit Solihull. This work will inform design and delivery while building and retaining community support throughout the planning application and development process.

A demographically balanced sample was successfully gathered, with over 150 responses to the questionnaire. Encouragingly, respondents expressed a clear desire to see an increased variety of uses, alongside more greenery and accessible public realm, in Mell Square, supporting these central design pillars of our approach to the redevelopment.

The overwhelming majority of respondents welcomed redevelopment in principle, including those who live and work in Mell Square itself, recognising that reduced footfall and changing retail habits pose fundamental challenges for the town centre.

This successful early engagement sets the scene for a series of further insight gathering and community engagement opportunities planned for later in the year.

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