NUISANCE COMPLAINTS: Digbeth homes will ‘ruin the culture’
It is feared a planned 900 new homes will “ruin the culture” of Digbeth as music venues anticipate noise nuisance complaints from new residents.
Dead Wax, The Mill, Night Owl, The Monastery, Digbeth Dinning Club and Digbeth Arena will be at risk from the planned nine-block development at Upper Trinity Street and Adderley Street, according to objections.
The plans, from developers Cole Waterhouse Real Estate, include buildings of between two and 32 storeys holding 943 homes adjacent to other huge Digbeth plans such as those from Oval Real Estate.
The designs by Corstorphine + Wright Architects also include 6,000 square metres of commercial space and a 133-bedroom hotel.
Current buildings at the site – bordered by Upper Trinity Street, Adderley Street and the National Express bus park and Bowyer Street – would be demolished save for historic structures related to the Grand Union Canal.
These are the former Lock Keeper’s Cottage, a locally-listed operational pump house and a canal gauging weir.
The Grade II-listed (former) Clements Arms Public House, locally-listed Dead Wax pub, and locally-listed electricity substation at Upper Trinity Street lie outside the site boundary.
A total of 12 objections were received following a public consultation including a letter from a coalition of leisure, art and hospitality businesses in Digbeth.
The objections are quoted in the report to Birmingham City Council’s planning committee as stating: “A proposal of this sort, with inadequate mitigation and consideration for local hospitality businesses will have a catastrophic impact.
“The risks are immense, disastrous to business and entirely irreversible.
“Worse still, they are impacts that can manifest themselves one week, one month, one year or ten years after the development has been introduced, and there is no way of predicting when, or precluding it.”
The city council’s regulatory services has said there would be no way of preventing noise nuisance to new residents without including sealed windows which it says is “unacceptable”.
However, a planning officer has suggested sealing windows in 459 homes as a “worst case scenario”.
The report states: “Acknowledging the potential conflict between securing a good living environment of the future residential occupiers whilst protecting local entertainment venues that are already established it is considered appropriate in this instance to seal units where necessary.”
A legal agreement is recommended to secure £1.3 million for improvements to Upper Trinity Street as well as £3.5 million for the delivery of new public spaces – Pump House Park, Pump House Passage and Adderley Yard.
The scheme would not deliver any affordable housing but the proposed legal agreement would ensure discounted rent for the Pat Benson Boxing Academy, Museum of Youth Culture and Birmingham Music Archive.
Recommending the plans are approved, the officer stated: “The redevelopment of Upper Trinity Street is a key part of the continued evolution and growth of Digbeth as a distinctive quarter within Birmingham.
“Through the provision of cultural and commercial floorspace at ground floor, a significant number of residential units, a network of public spaces and new walking and cycling links the proposed development would create a unique and vibrant destination.
“The proposals would cause harm to heritage assets and have a significant effect upon the townscape however it is considered that there are sufficient material considerations to outweigh this harm and that the proposed design would result in an attractive place to work, live and visit.”
The planning committee meeting will be held from 11am on July 22 and can be viewed via the city council’s committee meetings YouTube channel.
Words: Mark Cardwell, Local Democracy Reporter
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