Apartments plan unveiled for historic Birmingham site

How phase two of the Franklin scheme would look

More than 50 new apartments are planned for the site of a car park attached to former offices used by confectioner Cadbury’s at its historic home in Bournville.

Developer Taylor Grange has submitted plans to Birmingham City Council to redevelop the site, which lies at the corner of Mary Vale Road and Franklin Way in Bournville.

The 0.23-hectare site adjoins Franklin House, the former headquarters of Cadbury, and which has already been developed for housing under a scheme brought forward by developer Court Collaboration.

The new scheme – Franklin Phase 2 – will provide 52 apartments, which are set to be allocated as private rented sector (PRS) housing.

How phase two of the Franklin scheme would look

Parking will be provided in the basement of the apartment block, while there will be a private communal courtyard garden for residents behind the building.

A planning and transport statement prepared by GW Planning to support the application by Taylor Grange said the new scheme represented an amended plan for an initial 37 apartments on the same site.

It said the new proposals would provide 52 high quality one and two-bedroom apartments on the edge of the Bournville Conservation Area.

“The new building will be of high architectural quality. It will provide a positive enhancement of the street environment (at) the edge of the Bournville Conservation Area,” it said.

“This is a carefully considered proposal which is in full accordance with the development plan and offers a further step forward in the evolution and improvement of the Bournville area.”

It said the scheme had undergone revision from the initial proposals for 37 – albeit larger – apartments, which were planned by the previous owner of the site.

“The proposals represent sustainable development of a brownfield site after a history of commercial use related to the Cadbury factory,” said the statement.

“Compared to the previously approved scheme for 37 units, the new proposal will provide a larger number of smaller homes providing modern market rental accommodation.

“This type of accommodation is specifically encouraged by the Birmingham (Development) Plan and will widen the range of housing types available locally.”

How phase two of the Franklin scheme would look

It added: “The three to four-storey building now proposed will enhance the Conservation Area providing an appropriate scale and design for this prominent but currently vacant site.”

The new building will have three-storey main elevations in brick with vertical bays respecting local materials and proportions but with modern detailing. A set-back attic floor above will step the roofline toward the taller existing and adjacent Franklin House.

The designs have been prepared by Birmingham-based K4 architects and the proposed design broadly follows the scale and massing of the previous consented scheme.

The principle building material for the scheme is red brick. This will be carefully selected in due course to relate to the historic context of the site, primarily the surrounding housing on Mary Vale Road.

The design also reflects the unique character of the site – in particular, some of the products for which the confectioner is best known.

The supporting statement said: “The material choice was guided by the desire to develop a historical narrative that would link the proposed scheme inextricably to its specific location. We began by exploring vintage advertising and packaging produced by Cadbury’s, in particular some of the shiny signage and chocolate bar wrappers.

“More than anywhere else in Birmingham, Bournville evokes a certain nostalgia and it was decided that this could be an important element in the development of a coherent narrative. Historic and much-loved Cadbury’s products became a focus point as a material reference and it was decided to use a shiny metal wrapping as a means to develop this narrative.

“Copper cladding was chosen to express this because of its tonal relationship with the red brick of the proposed scheme and the surrounding area. The copper will be treated to retain its shine and will not patinate to darker shades, or to green.”