ONE EASTSIDE: Plans approved for the second time
Plans for what will become the second tallest building in Birmingham have once again been approved by the council.
Members of the council’s planning committee today gave the go-ahead for the 51-storey One Eastside project at the corner of James Watt Queensway and Jennens Road.
The plans were originally approved back in April 2020, but in December it was ruled that the project would have to go back before the planning committee after it emerged an objection by the Victorian Society was not included in a report to councillors.
However the proposals, which include 667 apartments to rent, residential gardens and courtyards, a gym, cinema and sky lounge, have now been approved.
Speaking at the meeting a spokesperson for LaSalle Investment Management, which owns the Allegro apartment building at Exchange Square directly opposite the One Eastside site, had claimed that key information had been left out of the report to councillors, adding that the proposal would ‘significantly harm heritage assets’, and pointed to the representations of the Victorian Society.
The Victorian Society had written to the council objecting to the proposals on the basis that the site is close to a number of heritage assets from their period of interest, including notably the Grade I listed Curzon Street Station and the Grade I listed Victoria Law Courts.
But the views of Historic England, who said that the harm would be ‘less than substantial’, appeared to be the most influential in making up the councillors’ minds.
“I don’t think there’s any dispute in the fact that this building will cause harm, and that’s not entirely surprising given it’s going to be 51 storeys,” said Cllr Gareth Moore (Erdington, Cons).
“It’s a considerable size, for a while it will be the tallest building in Birmingham, so I think we have to be clear that there is going to be harm caused – it’s about weighing up what level of harm is caused, and I attach great weight to the representations from historic England.
“In particular, they take the view that the harm will be ‘less than substantial’.
“I think we also have to bear in mind that a number of these listed buildings have tall buildings already surrounding them – OK they may not be on the scale of what’s proposed but certainly you’ve got the McLaren building nearby, you’ve got exchange square itself, and you’ve got taller buildings to the north. So I think it is the balance that has to be taken, and I’m very much swayed by the views of Historic England on this and I think the public benefits outweigh the harm that had been caused.
“So, this committee has previously approved that application, and considering all the information put before us, for me, I’m still of the view that this application is acceptable in planning terms, and therefore I will be supporting it today.”
Words: Tom Dare, Local Democracy Reporter
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