ST CHAD’S CATHEDRAL: Concerns over Gun Quarter development
Plans for 337 new homes across three buildings in the Gun Quarter are set for approval despite concerns around the impact on St Chad’s Cathedral and its ‘mutilated’ surroundings.
A planning application due to be considered by Birmingham City Council’s planning committee next week (April 29) proposes to build three new buildings at the corner of Princip Street and Lancaster Street.
The plans involve the demolition of existing bedsit accommodation, early 20th century industrial buildings, office buildings and a car park and the construction of three new towers.
These would measure six, 11 and 25 storeys in height respectively, while there would also be 2,306 square metres of courtyard space.
Apartments would range in size from one to two beds, and measure from 40 to 80 square metres, and each block would contain a reception area and lounge.
The tallest of the blocks is set to have blue brickwork while the other two structures would be red.
Concerns have been raised by Historic England and residents on the scale of the development and its impact on the Grade II*-listed St Chad’s Roman Catholic Cathedral nearby.
Comments from Historic England listed in a report to councillors state: “[…] It is clear that the proposed tower would be prominent in the setting of St Chad’s, likely visible above and behind its roof and spires in a number of views from the south west.
“It would also add to a growing number of tall buildings affecting the setting of St Chad’s in this area, diminishing its intended architectural presence.”
The organisation adds the Augustus Welby Pugin-designed cathedral and its setting are already “very much mutilated” and said: “This situation has been continually exacerbated in recent years with the addition of a number of dominant developments within the immediate setting of St Chad’s.”
Comments from residents also raise concerns around parking and state the proposal “dwarfs the neighbouring apartment building and bears no relationship to it”.
The recommendation for approval from officers states: “Although the demolition of 63-68 Princip Street and the tower element of the scheme is considered to cause some harm to heritage assets this would be less than substantial harm which is outweighed by the public benefits offered in favour of the development are of sufficient weight as material considerations to justify approval of the application […].”
The report contains recommendations for conditions including the completion of a legal agreement to secure 16 affordable apartments.
The planning committee meeting can be viewed on the city council’s website at civico.net/birmingham on April 29 from 11am.
Words: Mark Cardwell, Local Democracy Reporter
Watch the channel on TV