Plans approved for 400-unit apartment scheme in Birmingham

Snow Hill Wharf

Proposals for more than 400 new apartments in Birmingham have been approved despite concerns the development will overshadow one of the city’s famous buildings.

Developer St Joseph is behind the scheme, which will occupy the site of the FGF warehouses in Shadwell Street.

The scheme (see below), dubbed Snow Hill Wharf – partly because it backs on to the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, will see the demolition of the warehousing and their replacement with five residential blocks, ranging from three to 21-storeys, encompassing 404 one, two and three-bedroom apartments.

The tower aspect of the scheme will be around 65m high.

Consent for the scheme was granted by Birmingham’s planning committee despite objections from conservationists about the impact the development would have on the Grade II* listed St Chad’s Cathedral and of the cluster of Grade II listed buildings in the historic Gun Quarter.

Historic England and the Victorian Society had both expressed concerns, while the Archdiocese of Birmingham said that while it had no objection in principle to the redevelopment, it was concerned that maximising housing numbers should not be at the expense of the setting of the Cathedral.

Several councillors said they felt the integrity of the Cathedral should be preserved but recognised planning regulations were not being infringed by the scheme.

Alongside apartments, the site will feature a gymnasium with a sauna and steamroom, a luxury residents lounge and cinema room, and a 24/7 resident concierge.

Richard Starkey, managing director at St Joseph Homes, said: “Birmingham’s development is still in the ascendant, with record levels of both residential and commercial projects. While the Jewellery Quarter and Digbeth have attracted many investors, the Gun Quarter – with its rich cultural and industrial heritage – has remained a largely untapped area of huge potential.

“Our vision for Snow Hill Wharf is to create a landmark development that brings a new quality and standard of residential living to the city. Moreover, we are committed to the long-term delivery of a community that grows together and becomes an enviable place to live in the city centre.”

The developer has said it is committed to Birmingham in the long term and as such, had moved its Midlands headquarters to the city, taking offices in Colmore Row.

St Joseph forms part of the FTSE 100 Berkeley Group, responsible for many of the most ambitious, ground-breaking and inspiring developments in the UK, including the £1bn transformation of Kidbrooke Village, London.

“We are aiming to redefine placemaking within the city and the wider West Midlands, with further developments planned across the region,” added Mr Starkey.

How the apartments complex could look