Planning go-ahead for BBC’s new Digbeth HQ
BBC Birmingham’s move to a new state-of-the-art headquarters in Digbeth moved a significant step closer today, as The Tea Factory was given the green light by Birmingham City Council planners.
Last summer the BBC announced plans to move out its current home at The Mailbox and into new premises built at the former Typhoo Tea factory in Digbeth’s creative quarter.
BBC staff are expected to move into The Tea Factory in 2026 and the new site, set to be the BBC’s most sustainable and flexible centre, will be home to BBC Midlands Today, BBC Radio WM, The Archers, BBC Radio One’s Newsbeat and Asian Network News.
Today’s news is the latest boost to Digbeth’s growing reputation as a centre for media production and follows January’s planning consent for a new studio to host flagship BBC cookery programme MasterChef.
Stoford, which submitted the application on behalf of the corporation, said receiving planning approval for the new 84,001 sq ft custom-built centre was an exciting next step in its plans.
Gerard Ludlow, director at Stoford, said the Bordesley Street landmark represents the first phase of a wider masterplan for the surrounding area.
“Our hard work over the past couple of years has built up to this and we are excited to be given the go ahead to begin transforming and reusing the building,” he said.
“We’ve been working closely with the BBC to ensure we not only keep the historic legacy of the almost 100-year-old factory but also deliver a pioneering scheme using low carbon principles. We are looking forward to breathing new life into it.”
“We all recognise the opportunities the creation of The Tea Factory will bring because it will help to attract both private and public sector investment into Digbeth,” added Gerard.
Stuart Thomas, BBC Head of Midlands, said: “This is a crucial and exciting step on the road to the BBC moving into The Tea Factory in 2026. Having a new home for the BBC in Birmingham is all part of our commitment to do more in the Midlands, and breathing life into this wonderful factory will help turbo charge the whole of Digbeth into the city’s creative heart.”
Birmingham City Council leader Cllr Ian Ward said: “As the BBC clearly recognises, this is a city on the up and I’m delighted that their new Tea Factory HQ has now secured planning permission. This represents a significant vote of confidence in Digbeth’s burgeoning creative quarter, and the BBC has a big role to play in Birmingham’s future success.
“With HS2, the Midland Metro extension and MasterChef on the way, our vision for Digbeth is to build on established creative businesses, attracting and encouraging new ones, while developing a vibrant urban community with entertainment, living and cultural opportunities.
“Now, we aim to use this BBC move as a catalyst for the wider regeneration and development of Digbeth as a hub for media and creativity.”