Plans for £1bn redevelopment of Digbeth stalled by councillors

Plans for a £1bn transformation of the area around the iconic Custard Factory in Birmingham’s Digbeth area have been deferred by Birmingham City Council’s planning committee, with some councillors admitting they hadn’t been able to read the entire submission.

The hybrid planning application from Oval Real Estate was submitted to Birmingham City Council last May and had been tipped for approval by planning bosses.

At yesterday’s (April 29) planning committee meeting, councillors voted to arrange a site visit before the scheme is taken any further.

Oval says the scheme would include up to 2.2 million sq ft of commercial space and 1,850 homes alongside shops, restaurants, cafes, and leisure facilities.

The developer says that more than 16,000 jobs will be created if the 42-acre scheme is approved.

Approval of the plans would also will also pave the way for Viaduct Park that will see the Duddeston Viaduct, built in 1846 by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, made into a new publicly accessible sky park.

Since acquiring the Custard Factory and other Digbeth buildings in 2017, Oval have been refurbishing some of Digbeth’s best known buildings and helping to introduce new independent companies to the area.

Most recently, this included plans for a major new creative content hub at the Bond, a centre for film, TV, games and virtual production, which will help to expand Digbeth’s creative vitality.

A spokesperson from Oval said: “Whilst we are obviously disappointed to receive a deferred decision from the committee, we’re confident that when the members have a full understanding of our approach and the proposals we have so carefully prepared, they will see how our approach will enhance Digbeth’s character whilst allowing it to grow and contribute fully to the ongoing success of the city.”