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SELLY OAK: Approval for new health innovation campus

SELLY OAK: Approval for new health innovation campus

Image: LDRS

Plans for a new health innovation campus in Selly Oak  have been approved.

The scheme also includes a research building partly taken up by the University of Birmingham

Birmingham City Council’s planning committee voted unanimously in favour of the plans from Birmingham Health Innovation Campus Ltd, for the new site at land to the east of Aston Webb Boulevard.

The plans include outline proposals for five office and research development buildings – one of which including a gym for employees – and a 1,333-space, 13-storey car park.

But they also include a full application for the first phase of the project which involves the creation of a 15,937 square metre-building.

The seven-storey structure will be partly occupied by the University of Birmingham, as well as businesses working in medtech, biopharma, precision medicine, healthcare AI and genomics.

Both parts of the application were approved by councillors on the committee this morning (April 15).

The meeting heard there had been four letters of objection raising criticisms including potential harmful impact on protected bird species.

The objections also included a concern that the new access point at the Queen Elizabeth Island roundabout would create an “unsafe environment for pedestrians and cyclists”.

Previous concerns had included that the new development would have an impact on nearby heritage assets including the Roman Forts at Metchley Scheduled Ancient Monument and the Clock Tower, Great Hall and the Crescent at the university’s main campus.

Committee member Cllr Julie Johnson (Lab, Weoley & Selly Oak) said during the meeting: “I am very interested in the application.

“I just wanted to say that I welcome the application and the number of jobs this is going to create first of all. That’s extremely encouraging.

“I appreciate the car park is in the outline application. I just wanted to ask if we could have an idea of how many electric charging points there will be in the car park given it is quite a vast car park.”

She added: “There isn’t a condition about landscaping and I would like to ask whether we could put a condition in – given the scale of this development, whether we could have a condition about a landscaping plan please.”

Cllr Martin Straker Welds (Lab, Moseley) said: “I like the initiative and obviously enjoy the prospect of world class facilities in Birmingham.

“But I would just like to draw attention to the building itself. The photographs might not be doing the concept justice.

“Looking at it though it appears to be a celebration of symmetry and I am not getting any other music.

“It would be helpful I think if at some stage or another, people may look at the design and see if the block-like structure can be designed out and give some more shape to the people who see it.”

A council officer said in response to the points that because it is an outline application, one of the reserved matters – to be revisited in a later application – is landscaping.

The meeting also heard in relation to electric vehicle charging points, there would be “adequate provision” in line with current guidelines and capacity for expansion.

The council officer said: “Design colleagues are comfortable with the evolution of that design and in terms of the materials and what it looks like” and that it is felt to be a “high quality building”.

Words: Mark Cardwell, Local Democracy Reporter

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