2013 attwood award 3The award was set up in 2003 in memory of Thomas Attwood (1783-1856), one of the city’s first two MPs, who worked to extend the vote and promoted measures which would lead to full employment, peace and prosperity, including reform of the monetary system.

joe holyoak 3Though Joe Holyoak has served the city well in his professional and academic capacity as director of the MA Urban Design course at Birmingham City University until 2010, the award has been given for ‘going the extra mile – working ‘pro bono’. 

One of the ‘Digbeth People’, with offices at the Custard Factory, he is described as a true friend of Digbeth, lending ‘a very helpful hand’ to Digbeth Residents Association with planning issues and regularly attending HS2 Community Forums and other planning meetings on behalf of DRA.

Joe is a member of the expert panel of MADE – an organisation dedicated to improving the quality of our towns, cities and villages, which believes that a high quality built environment is essential for economic prosperity and wellbeing.

His experience includes restoring and returning to use of good Victorian buildings and forward looking urban design. As a founder member of the citizens’ group Birmingham for People, he was involved in making counter-proposals for both the Bull Ring (1989) and Brindleyplace (1991) redevelopments. The People’s Plan for the Bull Ring was opposed to the developer’s proposal, and succeeded in changing the proposal substantially for the better over the next few years. In the case of Brindleyplace, there was less variance between the two. BfP’s plan was published before the developer’s masterplan of 1992, and was influential upon it to some degree, helping to shape this successful development.

A design retaining the wholesale markets on their city centre site

Joe Holyoak’s design, creating a new expansion of the city centre and including the wholesale markets in a new form, was presented by Dave Everett, co-chair of the outdoor market traders’ association, in the Birmingham Mail.

This alternative design proposes that the present site is comprehensively redeveloped, creating a new expansion of the city centre, but including the wholesale markets in a new form. This can be done in such a way as to meet the objectives of the Big City Plan.

It proposes a return to the mixed-use urban quarter, expressed in modern terms. In order to provide land for non-market uses, both for economic viability and for sustainable occupation, the footprint of the wholesale markets has to be reduced. This is done by replacing the present horizontal sprawl with vertical layering.

More detailed information and the drawings may be seen here.

balsall heath forum logoBalsall Heath Forum is the first organisation in the country to be designated as a neighbourhood forum with responsibility for producing a statutory neighbourhood plan. As a Balsall Heath resident, Joe has coordinated the forum’s neighbourhood planning work. Two-thirds of the draft plan’s proposals are place specific, including changes to local shopping centres and enhancements to a river that runs through Balsall Heath. The Balsall Heath Forum will formally submit the Balsall Heath Neighbourhood Development Plan to Birmingham City Council in December. See the documents via this website page.

paradise circus plans

Another 2012 project related to the proposed redevelopment of Paradise Circus. The alternative plan for Paradise Circus was drawn up for the Friends of the Central Library by Joe Holyoak and Rob Turner, of Eatarchitecture. 

Earlier local recipients of the award include the Aston Reinvestment Trust, Kirsty Davies of Professional Polishing Services and the Green New Deal designers.