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BIRMINGHAM: ‘Cluster of boxes’ warning over Digbeth development

BIRMINGHAM: ‘Cluster of boxes’ warning over Digbeth development

An artists impression of New Bond Street once the development is complete - image courtesy of Birmingham City Council

Developers have been warned not to create ‘another cluster of boxes’ after a 760-home development around the proposed HS2 site was given the go-ahead by councillors today.

The proposed construction, which will see five buildings of up to 15 storeys each on New Bond Street in the Bordesley area of the city, is now set to get underway before 2023 and be completed by 2027.

The scheme also includes more than 20,000 sq ft of commercial space fronting Grand Union Canal, with the existing site currently occupied by offices and a self-storage facility.

The application has been granted permission for up to 762 homes and up to 2,289sqm of flexible commercial space, though planners also noted that these are maximum figures for each of the proposed uses, with the permission sought not allowing for all of the maximums to be built out.

And, speaking after the application was given the go-ahead, Conservative councillor and member of the planning committee, Cllr Gareth Moore (Erdington), said that he hopes work is done on the designs to make them more aesthetically pleasing given the prominent location of the development.

“There wasn’t a lot of conversation on it, but my comments were mainly on the indicative design for the scheme, and complaining that it just looked like another cluster of boxes,” he said.

“It is an outline application so they don’t have to bring forward a detailed design at this stage, but there were some indicative designs of what it could look like and I wasn’t particularly keen on them.

“My criticisms is that we need to make sure that whatever comes forward is of a good, high  quality design, given its prominent location on the ring-road.

“But that will be considered as part of the reserved matters stage.”

Of the responsible authorities consulted only Sport England raised any kind of objection to the scheme, noting that the influx of people into the area would create demand for around £750,000 worth of sporting facilities such as a swimming pool, playing pitches and a sports hall.

Words: Tom Dare, Local Democracy Reporter

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