Southside apartments scheme proposes 18-storey residential tower

The site of the proposed apartments scheme

Plans to construct 68 new apartments in a landmark building on the gateway to Birmingham’s Southside are set for the go ahead.

Warwick-based development, The Sandpiper Group, has submitted plans to demolish buildings on the corner of Essex Street and Bristol Street and replace them with a part seven-storey, part 18-storey residential scheme.

The ground floor of the development would be occupied by two commercial units with the apartments occupying the floors above.

The tower element of the scheme would occupy the corner of Essex Street and Bristol Street, with its narrower element fronting Bristol Street. The surrounding ‘shoulder’ element would be seven-storeys high and have frontages to both streets.

At ground floor level there would be a double height colonnade to Bristol Street, with the potential for the ground floor units to spill out onto the street. This increased scale is carried through to the residential entrance with a double height lobby area.

The application site is occupied by what was once four Victorian properties dating from the late 19th century. Since their construction, the properties have been amalgamated, and altered and ultimately fallen out of use.

They are currently in a neglected state, with part of the building fronting Bristol Street having cracked or missing render and an incongruous modern ground floor frontage.

A report to Thursday’s Birmingham planning committee recommends the scheme be approved, subject to various conditions.

It states: “This application represents a high quality development that makes efficient use of a brownfield site. The scheme will play a part in meeting the city’s housing demand identified over the current plan period.”

It said that through rigorous testing and review, the conclusion was that the site was suitable for a tall building, with the scheme providing a valid contribution to the city’s skyline.

In addition, the developer will be asked to contribute £102,000 towards the provision of off-site social housing.