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BIRMINGHAM: Not ‘another box’ – praise for offices

BIRMINGHAM: Not ‘another box’ – praise for offices

Image: Birmingham City Council

Plans for a “lozenge-shaped” office block in Birmingham city centre were approved today and praised for not looking like “another box”.

Two office blocks at Upper Gough Street, Marshall Street and Washington Street in the city centre were approved unanimously by Birmingham City Council’s planning committee today (Sept 16).

The plans from City Realty Ltd include a total office floor space of 20,260 square metres across a “lozenge-shaped” building and a more conventionally-shaped block.

The designs by Corstorphine + Wright Architects feature a rooftop garden and a café unit on the basement level of Block A – which has “bullnose ends creating a lozenge-shaped floor plan” according to a report to councillors.

The nine and ten-storey buildings would have six commercial units commercial units between them and the nearby Chapman’s Passage lane is proposed to be extended between the two buildings.

Objections raised following a public consultation included fears around “loss of light to [nearby pub] The Keg and Grill” as well as increased noise during construction and traffic problems when work is completed.

The report to councillors states there would be “less than substantial harm” to the significance of nearby St Thomas’ Church as a result of the development.

The meeting heard there had been an additional objection from residents in an adjacent building around the impact on the potential for them in future to have solar panels due to overshadowing.

Cllr Gareth Moore (Con, Erdington) said during the meeting: “The first one is a positive comment in terms of the design of Block A.”

He said it was good the committee was not “being asked to approve another box which there is far too much of in the city centre”.

But he asked for clarification on why Historic England had not commented on the proposals during the consultation.

An officer present at the meeting said there was no requirement to consult with Historic England as St Thomas’ Church is Grade II-listed rather than Grade II* or Grade I.

The officer said: “Occasionally in those circumstances, bodies make representations anyway but in this situation they haven’t.”

All seven members present at the planning committee meeting voted to approve the plans with no councillors voting against or abstaining.

Words: Mark Cardwell, Local Democracy Reporter


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