Extinction Rebellion to protest to save Birmingham Smallbrook Ringway from demolition

Environmental campaign group Extinction Rebellion is holding a protest on Saturday (July 8) against plans to demolish Smallbrook Queensway in Birmingham city centre
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Activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) Birmingham are gathering on Smallbrook Queensway on Saturday (July 8) to protest against the demotion of the historic site.

Campaigners are uniting with other environmental groups to oppose a planning application lodged with Birmingham City Council to demolish the entire Smallbrook Ringway - including the site where Snobs nightclub is situated - and replace it with three skyscrapers featuring 1,750 flats, a spa, cinema, gym and nightclub.

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Smallbrook Ringway is one of the last remaining brutalist style buildings erected in Birmingham, designed by James Roberts, who was also the architect for The Rotunda.

A protest against the plans was previously held during the Birmingham Pride Parade on Saturday (May 27) with organisations including Brutiful Birmingham, Zero Carbon House, Birmingham Modernist and C20th Society West Midlands. The public are welcome to attend this latest protest with XR which will also feature samba drumming, speeches, and workshops on retrofitting.

Smallbrook Ringway was developed in the 1960s and has been included by the Twentieth Century Society in its list of buildings at risk. It was a landmark building in the post-war redevelopment of Birmingham. XR Birmingham said it is holding the protest to raise awareness of the more sustainable alternative of retrofitting old buildings for new purpose, reducing the environmental damage of construction and retaining important character for the city.

XR explained that the built environment accounts for around 40% of the UK’s energy demand and much of this carbon cost becomes ‘locked in’ at the time of building, known as embodied carbon. Retrofitting this landmark building would likely carry a small fraction of the environmental costs of demolition [4] [5].

Smallbrook Ringway in Birmingham city centreSmallbrook Ringway in Birmingham city centre
Smallbrook Ringway in Birmingham city centre
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I’m attending this action because four years ago Birmingham City Council declared a Climate Emergency” says Melanie, a teacher from Erdington as she calls BCC to do more. “Turning down the application to demolish this building and many others in Birmingham and retrofitting instead would give BCC an opportunity to show their commitment to this declaration.”

Fran, who is retired and lives in Balsall Heath, is attending because Birmingham City Council have the opportunity to make our city famous for inventiveness in the face of the Climate Crisis, and they are failing… Birmingham could be at the forefront of demanding that developers get their act together, to wake up to the cutting edge of architecture, which is to repurpose.

Plans unveiled to tranform Smallbrook Ringway in Birmingham city centrePlans unveiled to tranform Smallbrook Ringway in Birmingham city centre
Plans unveiled to tranform Smallbrook Ringway in Birmingham city centre

Protesters will gather from 11am with speakers from Retrofit Balsall Heath, Positive Money and other organisations. XR Birmingham said members of the public are welcome to join the action which will continue to 1pm. For more information email [email protected]

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