The three latest big Birmingham developments set to transform the city even further

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Here’s a look at three of the biggest developments on their way to Birmingham as the city continues to transform

It’s hard to miss the cranes and construction sites in Birmingham, an ever-changing city with several massive projects on the go.

As you may expect, major developments are considered by Birmingham City Council regularly and a number of them across Brum were given the green light in April. They include plans for a “thriving community” in Digbeth with two new buildings – one of 34 storeys and one of 10 storeys.

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Meanwhile, new student accommodation blocks in Selly Oak were approved despite concerns over the ‘need for family housing’ in the area. And the site of a former ‘Villa haunt’ in Aston will soon be the home of 40 ‘self-contained’ apartments following this month’s planning committee meeting.

Here’s an in-depth look at three of the developments approved at the meeting and set to transform parts of Birmingham.

CGI of the proposed development at Clye Street and High Street in Digbeth. Taken from planning application's design and access statement prepared by Assael Architecture on behalf of LatimerCGI of the proposed development at Clye Street and High Street in Digbeth. Taken from planning application's design and access statement prepared by Assael Architecture on behalf of Latimer
CGI of the proposed development at Clye Street and High Street in Digbeth. Taken from planning application's design and access statement prepared by Assael Architecture on behalf of Latimer | LDRS

Major Digbeth development

Plans for a major new development in Digbeth were approved after previously being deferred following questions over its affordable homes. The proposed two new buildings, one of 34 storeys and one of 10 storeys, were initially discussed by Birmingham City Council’s planning committee back in March of this year.

The development is set to be based in Clyde Street/High Street and provide 481 dwellings, with the applicant previously expressing a desire to provide more than half of them as affordable housing.

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However, a council officer’s report said earlier this year that this level of affordable homes “would not be secured via the planning permission”.

Prior to a planning meeting held this month, a new report said the council’s independent assessor confirmed that the current scheme and viability model “would not support the inclusion of affordable housing directly in the legal agreement”.

“The applicant has, however, offered to secure a review mechanism to re-evaluate the position should this change following the grant of consent,” it continued.

Following the meeting, Richard Cook, group director of development at Clarion Housing Group, said: “We are proud to now be able to progress with such a significant project. “Our vision for our development in Digbeth is to provide modern homes and create a thriving community where affordability does not compromise quality.”

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CGI of the proposed development in Selly Oak. Taken from planning application\'s design and access statement, prepared by Corstorphine & Wright.CGI of the proposed development in Selly Oak. Taken from planning application\'s design and access statement, prepared by Corstorphine & Wright.
CGI of the proposed development in Selly Oak. Taken from planning application\'s design and access statement, prepared by Corstorphine & Wright. | LDRS

Student accommodation blocks in Selly Oak

Plans for new student accommodation blocks in Selly Oak were approved despite concerns over the ‘need for family housing’ in the area.

The two blocks, which would provide 836 bed spaces, are now set to be built at the site of a former Sainsbury’s supermarket in Chapel Lane following this month’s decision by the city council’s planning committee.

Andrew Schofield, representing the Community Partnership for Selly Oak, argued at the meeting: “We note there are no homeless students in this city but there are countless families living in bed and breakfast – and some in Selly Oak living in a bus shelter.”

Councillor Martin Brooks, chair of the planning committee, did admit there was a “demonstrated need” for family accommodation in Selly Oak and other areas of the city. However, he continued: “Knowing this site very well, I do think student accommodation is a far better fit than family housing.”

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The council officer’s report, published prior to the meeting, also highlighted there was a “demonstrated demand for purpose built accommodation” due to the increasing trend in full-time students at the University.

Richard Jenkins, head of sustainability and urban development at Galliard Homes, also said the development would deliver social and environmental benefits to Selly Oak, promote active travel and meet a “demonstrable need” for student accommodation.

The proposed development in Aston. Taken from the design and access statement prepared by Architecture and Interior Design LtdThe proposed development in Aston. Taken from the design and access statement prepared by Architecture and Interior Design Ltd
The proposed development in Aston. Taken from the design and access statement prepared by Architecture and Interior Design Ltd | LDRS

Apartments at former ‘Villa haunt’

Proposals to build new apartments on the site of a former ‘Villa haunt’ were also approved this month. The plans are set to see 40 ‘self-contained’ apartments built on a vacant, brownfield site in 

Victoria Road, Aston – just a short walk away from Villa Park. “[The site] used to be a pre-match Villa haunt,” Councillor Lee Marsham said at a meeting. “Unlike the site which is now rubble, Villa are obviously rising from the ashes and reaching the heights of Europe. Building the houses on brownfield, getting rid of an old site that’s full of rubble is a win-win.”

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The council officer’s report concluded that the public benefits arising from the proposals were positive. “Officers do not feel that the impacts of the development should tip the planning balance in favour of refusal,” it continued. “The application delivers a sustainable, high quality development that meets wider housing delivery aspirations of Birmingham.”

On affordable housing, the council officer’s report also said: “Assessment demonstrated there is a significant negative residual land value, which confirms that the scheme is unable to sustain any affordable housing or Section 106 contributions.”

However, it continued that a legal agreement is proposed which would include a ‘viability review mechanism’. This would mean the financial viability of the development would be re-assessed prior to or on occupation of a certain proportion of the residential units.

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