Plans for inner-city Birmingham tower blocks take step forward

CGI of what the development could look like. Taken from a design and access statement.
-Credit: (Image: Whittam Cox Architects/Rochda Group)

Plans for seven residential blocks in an inner-city area of Birmingham have been recommended for approval. The proposals, if given the green light, would provide 451 homes across the seven buildings in Winson Green, which would range between five and nine storeys high.

Many of the ground floor apartments would have private garden areas while many others would feature private balconies at upper levels. The development would also boast various areas of open space for the private use of residents and a children’s play area for the wider public.

A previous planning application for the site in Great Western Close, this one for 310 homes, was approved back in 2021. However, a recently-published council officer’s report notes: “The applicant now seeks to gain approval for a more intensive form of development at the site.”

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It went on to say the proposals would see a vacant brownfield site used to create a “sustainable form of residential development” and that the 451 new homes would suit a range of future occupiers. It continued that the plans would provide numerous public improvements, including the children’s play area.

“The development would further safeguard a large portion of the site which has a high ecological and biodiversity value and retain access to this for the public,” it said. The report adds that the provision of affordable housing would be six per cent - despite the council usually seeking 35 per cent for residential developments of 15 dwellings or more.

The report said a “detailed viability assessment” had been considered as part of the proposals and although the scheme was deemed unviable, a suitable level of on-site affordable housing provision was agreed. “It has been concluded that the current offer of 6 per cent, in the form of on-site, market discounted homes for first homes and affordable rental units, would be the option with the greatest benefit to the city,” it said.

“The Affordable Housing Team supports this recommendation and adds that there is a high need for such units within this area of the city". The proposals have been recommended for approval, subject to a legal agreement, and will be considered at Birmingham City Council’s planning committee next Thursday, June 13.

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One of the recommended conditions is the payment of a new viability assessment upon an agreed level of occupancy being reached at the development. “Should the new financial appraisal identify that the development could sustain a planning obligation, above and beyond the agreed 6 per cent, this shall then take the form of affordable housing (on-site) or an off-site financial contribution towards affordable housing elsewhere in the city,” the report said.

The proposal is an outline application, seeking consent for access, layout and scale only, with the matters of landscape and appearance reserved for future determination.

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