Birmingham apartment schemes get green light

Planning permission for the conversion of 25 flats and construction of 25 new-build apartments in two Birmingham suburbs has been granted.

Internal conversion works for Etna House, in Coventry Road, Sheldon, will see the development of 11 one-bed units and 14 studio apartments.

The 25 new-builds in Yardley make up phase two of a larger scheme, which will see more than 100 units developed in total.

Phase one of Swan Courtyard, in Charles Edward Road, is currently underway, with 89 units in construction, while ground works for the recently-approved second phase of 25 units – including 21 one-bed and four two-bed apartments – will begin later this year.

Bhupinder Sandhu, director at Birmingham-based developer Charles Jordan Homes, which is leading both projects, said: “We are delighted planning permission has been granted for these schemes, which will bring 50 new homes to two desirable locations across Birmingham.”

The majority of Etna House – an existing two-storey office building, which was previously occupied by a construction firm but has been vacant for more than three months – will be converted into new homes, while an existing area of the ground floor will be retained as functioning office space.

The development will also include 45 parking spaces, nine of which will have electric vehicle charging capability, and 40 cycle parking spaces to serve the apartments and office space.

Sachin Parmar, associate director at planning consultancy Marrons Planning, said: “The internal renovation of Etna House will bring forward much-needed housing in a highly sustainable location.

“As only an internal conversion was required to transform Etna House, we opted for a Class MA application, which sped-up the approval process, while also ensuring the development is served by sufficient natural light, for example.

“Class MA rights were introduced last year and intend to make it easier for developers to convert commercial buildings into residential dwellings in order to boost housing supply. Essentially, it is a softer-touch planning application where the council assesses specific grounds.”

Swan Courtyard – which has been designed by Leicester-based architecture firm DSA – is situated nearby the Swan Shopping Centre, which houses household brands such as Costa, Greggs, Tesco and Poundland.

A three-storey, 25-unit apartment block and newly-created communal outdoor space will be constructed as part of the scheme, alongside 21 parking spaces, including electric vehicle charge points, and 20 secure and weatherproof cycle spaces.

Parmar said: “There is strong demand for property in this location and these apartments will act as a stepping stone for first-time buyers looking to get onto the housing ladder. The location of the development will also contribute to the viability and vitality of Swan Shopping Centre.

“For this scheme, we had to achieve the right balance in terms of quantum of development, sufficient communal garden space and separation distances to respect the neighbouring properties. Our in-house planning lawyers at Shakespeare Martineau also completed a legal agreement towards open space and affordable housing, which will be delivered as part of the development.”

Keshiv Sudera, managing director at DSA, added: “We are pleased to see planning approved on a tricky car parking site, where separation distances had to be considered due to our phase one conversion project. The scheme responds well to the site and local vernacular, and we feel it creates a great addition to the site.”

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...