Major update on plans for skyscraper at ex-hospital site on Broad Street, Birmingham

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The plans have attracted objections from organisations such as Historic England, The Georgian Group

An update on plans for an eye-catching 42-storey tower in Birmingham city centre at the site of a former hospital has been issued today (Wednesday, April 17).

The proposals for 80 Broad Street would see the huge new tower attached directly to a Grade II listed building while also ‘oversailing’ directly over it.

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A report, set to be discussed by Birmingham City Council’s planning committee, suggested this would ‘significantly overwhelm’ the three-storey listed building, which is now vacant and unused. The historic building currently in Broad Street was once the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital and was most recently used as a bar, restaurant and nightclub.

As well as the huge tower and the 300 dwellings it would provide, the planning application includes proposals for an internal viewing platform to create a ‘flexible community space’ as well as the refurbishment of the listed building and change of use of the former nightclub to provide a community facility.

There were also proposals for the installation of 300 cycle spaces and associated ‘public realm improvements’.

However, according to a council officer’s report, the plans attracted objections from organisations such as Historic England, The Georgian Group, The Victorian Society and The Birmingham Civic Society due to concerns over ‘heritage harm’. The plans have now been recommeded for refusal.

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On the possible impact on the listed building, the report continued: “The large 42-storey tower would attach directly to the listed building, rising high directly behind, oversailing directly above and over the building, significantly overwhelming the three-storey building.”

It continued that this could  ‘severely compromise any legible appreciation and understanding of how this building sat historically in its setting on Broad Street’.

The design plansThe design plans
The design plans | google

What did the report say?

The report added that there were “serious concerns” for the structural integrity of the listed building should the proposed new development be constructed as it recommended it for refusal.

On why the development had been recommended for refusal, the report continued: “The proposed development would result in harm by reason of substantial harm to the listed building (80 Broad Street), harm to the significance of the adjacent listed building (78-79 Broad Street) through development within its setting and poor design.

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“There would also be harm by reason of insufficient affordable housing and inappropriate housing mix.”

“It is also the case that insufficient information has been submitted to demonstrate acceptability of the development on a number of other grounds, which cannot be reserved in their entirety by condition.

“The heritage harm represents a clear reason for refusal for the protection of an asset of particular importance.”

Charlotte El Hakiem, planning director at Marrons, who led the application, previously said: “The proposal takes a distinctive and innovative approach that allows for the retention and careful repurposing of a Grade II-listed building to bring it back into public use, while simultaneously creating a striking 42-storey landmark tower that contains much-needed housing to accommodate the city’s ever-growing population.

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“Beyond the tangible housing benefits, the proposal promises to significantly enhance the city’s public realm, improve connectivity, and invigorate the local economy through the creation of flexible community spaces and on-site amenities – delivering extensive community and public benefits to the area.”

The planning application, submitted by planning, design and development consultancy Marrons on behalf of HJB Investments, will be considered by the council’s planning committee next Thursday, April 25

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