800-home residential scheme in Birmingham set for approval

Almost 800 new dwellings are planned for a strategic site on the fringes of Birmingham city centre.

Barratt Homes has submitted the proposals, which involve a mix of homes and apartments being built on a parcel of land off Bristol Street and the Belgrave Middleway.

The Bristol Street and St Luke’s Development Framework was initiated in December 2013 and has undergone several revisions.

The land, owned by Birmingham City Council and the Homes England (formerly the Homes and Communities Agency), was put out for a development partner in 2014, which resulted in a scheme being submitted by IDP Architects and Barratt Homes.

The development site has been assembled to knit together a series of smaller sites to allow a comprehensive scheme to progress.

The plans originally proposed last year were for 772 dwellings, spread across the 8.7ha site. The accommodation would range from one-bedroom apartments through to large three-bed family homes.

However, the scheme has been amended since then because planning officers at the city council said the scheme was not of sufficient quality.

The revised scheme, which is being considered at Thursday’s planning committee, proposes 778 dwellings and a 175sqm ground floor retail unit.

The dwellings would comprise 590 apartments (76% of the total scheme) and 188 houses (24%), which would be a mix of one and two bed apartments, plus one, two and three-bed houses. It is proposed that 10% of the total accommodation would be designated affordable housing.

The apartments would be accommodated across 16 buildings, with the most prominent – a 15-storey block – fronting Bristol Street and Belgrave Middleway. here would also be a mix of four to seven storey apartment blocks although the major of building would be between two and four storeys.

Most of the western half of the site was the former home of the Matthew Boulton College, which has since been demolished.
The eastern half of the site forms part of the St Luke’s housing estate and a number of tower blocks, maisonettes and a nursery that have also been demolished.

A public open space has been planned within the site but there are concerns this may be insufficient to meet the needs of such a large development.

One stumbling block to the scheme could be the fate of the two buildings remaining on the site – The Redeemed Christian Church of God (formerly St Luke’s Church) and The Highgate Centre.

A scheme had been devised where the buildings would be retained but was never progressed. Both buildings are now set to be demolished as part of the scheme.

Conservation groups such as the Victorian Society have called for the buildings to be retained. However, Barratt Homes has said this could compromise the development. The church Diocese has said the benefits of the new housing would outweigh any loss of buildings now surplus to requirement.

The city council has said that while the loss of the buildings is regrettable, neither was listed and the benefits to the city of the new housing were considerable.

The plans have been listed for approval.