‘Good looking’: 47-storey Birmingham Broad Street skyscraper approved as councillors admire design

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Birmingham City Council planning committee approves plans for a 47-storey skyscraper on Broad Street and describe design as ‘good looking’

Plans for an enormous 47-storey skyscraper in Broad Street have been approved despite concerns being raised over the number of affordable homes.

The proposals for the skyscraper, which would boast 525 homes, were discussed by Birmingham City Council’s (BCC) planning committee on Thursday (March 14), after being submitted by developers.

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The development would include a mix of one and two-bedroom apartments as well as a lobby area, residents lounge, gym, well-being space and event space. At mezzanine level, the plans include a nursery, games lounge, cinema room and arcade room while the site would also feature a ‘pocket park’, providing a pedestrian link between Broad Street and Essington Street.

At the planning committee meeting, councillors praised the design of the development but one of the concerns raised was the percentage of affordable homes included within the scheme, which was four per cent of the total apartments.

'Good looking building'

“It is a striking building and exceptionally tall but it’s a particularly nice one,” Cllr Colin Green told the planning committee meeting. “It’s unusual to see such a good looking building. I’m disappointed it’s very low affordable.” Cllr Lee Marsham added: “I think it’s a good design. But disappointed with the only four per cent affordable.”

A council’s officer report said the scheme has been through a “thorough and independent assessment”, with independent assessors considering that the development could “sustain an affordable housing contribution of six per cent without becoming unviable.”

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However, it continued: “With a 20 per cent discount it will be difficult to secure tenants that meet the eligibility requirements in relation to household income. “It is therefore recommended that a deeper discount of 30 per cent is secured which will reduce the provision to 4 per cent (21 dwellings).”

47 storey skyscraper plans for Broad Street in Birmingham, CGI47 storey skyscraper plans for Broad Street in Birmingham, CGI
47 storey skyscraper plans for Broad Street in Birmingham, CGI | LDRS

In response to concerns raised in the meeting, planning committee chair Martin Brooks said: “As a committee, we’ve constantly flagged up the desire to meet our targets in terms of affordability and this does fall well short of that.

“But the problem is we’ve had a financial viability assessment which backs up the facts and then that makes it very difficult to argue something differently. I understand people’s concerns but I think in terms of the design, I would personally support this.”

“Again, a massively tall building in a lot of respects,” Cllr Rick Payne added. “But I take on board the fact that in the city centre, space laterally is limited whereas space going upwards isn’t.”

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Birmingham Civic Society raises concerns

Birmingham Civic Society meanwhile also raised concerns, with the council’s officer report saying: “They note that the identified harm must be weighed in consideration of the building’s height and proportions which will be dominating in the local areas and visible from many locations across the city, for example Edgbaston Conservation Area.”

However, the report goes on to say that an assessment has been undertaken, with an officer concluding that the development would have a “neutral impact” on a number of conservation areas.

It goes on to say that the scheme would make a “meaningful contribution” towards Birmingham’s housing shortfall and provide economic, social and environmental benefits.

Mark Holbeche, CEO of Regal Property Group Living (RPGL), the developer behind plans, said: “We welcome the decision by the city council’s planning committee today to allow us to bring forward this exciting building for the city.

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“The development, when complete will be the safest, most technologically advanced and sustainable residential project in its class.”

The development was approved at the planning committee meeting subject to a legal agreement.

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