High Court rules against Ringway Centre legal challenge

Smallbrook Queensway images from Corstorphine+Wright

A legal challenge to stop the demolition of the Ringway Centre in Birmingham has failed.

The Save Smallbrook campaign group had sought a judicial review of Birmingham City Council’s decision to approve plans to replace the landmark 1960s city centre office complex with 1,750 apartments.

In February, a 7-4 vote of the council’s planning committee gave developer CEG the go-ahead to replace the Ringway Centre with three residential towers that would be as high as 56 storeys.

The Save Smallbrook group argued for the structure to be preserved and repurposed, with a redevelopment that would have a lower carbon footprint and delivered in a shorter timeframe.

However the campaign group’s application for a judicial review has been dismissed by a judge without a hearing.

In a statement, Save Smallbrook said: “Whilst this is frustrating, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the gravity of this campaign and the importance of continuing the fight. We have been overwhelmed by the groundswell of support, hearing from people who want to make a stand for their city, and for future generations.”

“This is a David and Goliath situation. We are a small group of passionate Birmingham campaigners pitted against a huge London property developer with offshore investment backers for this project and the largest local authority in Europe.”

The campaign group, which brings together Brutiful Birmingham, Birmingham Modernist Society, the Twentieth Century Society, Zero Carbon House, and Birmingham Fair Housing Campaign, said it is “determined to have all the facts of this planning application scrutinised and exposed”.

The Ringway Centre, which was designed by Rotunda architect James Roberts, is heralded by campaigners as an important example of brutalist architecture in the city.

CEG has said around 95% of the building’s existing fabric will be recycled, while up to 20% of the homes will be affordable housing.

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