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DIGBETH TOWER BLOCK: Could this mean the death of night-time economy?

DIGBETH TOWER BLOCK: Could this mean the death of night-time economy?

Image: LDRS

A new tower block set to be constructed in Digbeth could act as the ‘crematorium’ for the area by killing off the night-time economy, a councillor has claimed.

Planning permission was granted yesterday (Jan 7) for a new 48-storey  building on the site of the former Irish Centre, despite residential concerns that it would be a ‘threat to the unique character of Digbeth’.

Once completed the building will contain 454 residential apartments as well as a gym, cinema, lounge and sky bar, and will be one of the tallest buildings in the centre of the city.

And further concerns over the building’s impact on the local night-time economy were raised at this week’s planning committee by Cllr Simon Morrall (Cons, Frankley Great Park), who recently described plans for 1,000 flats near Digbeth’s Custard Factory as a “nail in the coffin” for the city’s nightclubs.

“I described the last development as the ‘nail in the coffin’ for the night time economy… well consider this its crematorium,” he said.

“Looking at the report it’s clear from the aerial photos that this development is right opposite some of our city’s popular night time and cultural hot spots.

“Clearly visible are the Custard Factory, Digbeth Dinging Club, The Monastery, the Mill (formerly Rainbow), Lab11 and the Digbeth Arena to name just a few.

“I’ve studied the report and once again I am not satisfied that a proper noise assessment has been carried out or sufficient measures have been taken to mitigate noise pollution.

“These night time venues attract people from all over the country and I again find it incredibly difficult to believe that such a huge development would not have a significant impact on this vital local economy, which contributes so much culture and social value to this city.

“For me that is a strong enough consideration to passionately oppose this development.”

The new development is headed up by Court Collaborations, with CEO Alex Neale stating after the decision: “This development will provide high quality, contemporary city living in a prime location, complementing the surrounding area and numerous high-rise developments coming forward in Digbeth, including Connaught Square, Lunar Rise and our own, Stone Yard.

“With a high level of ongoing investment and regeneration in this area, as well as the wider city centre, we are thrilled to have received planning permission from Birmingham City Council and look forward to starting works on-site in due course.”

Words: Tom Dare, Local Democracy Reporter 

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