Green light despite noise concerns for major Birmingham regeneration

A major regeneration project which will see 2,000 residential units built on a bus depot site in Birmingham have been approved despite fears from councillors about music from local nightspots.

Developer Hub was granted permission by Birmingham City Council’s planning committee for its outline masterplan for the National Express site in Adderley Street, Digbeth.

It wants to build 1,250 canalside homes and 950 student apartments at the site across a series of buildings ranging from six to 25 storeys.

There will also be a new canalside public square named Bordesley Wharf.

The hybrid application also contained detailed proposals for the first phase which will see 213 apartments constructed.

National Express is relocating to a new home in the city as part of the project.

At the committee’s latest meeting, members raised concerns about the impact of the development on the nearby conservation area, the partial demolition of historic bus depot buildings and the impact of loud music from nearby nightclubs.

Councillor Lou Robson told the meeting she hoped the project would not see the “start of the death of Digbeth”.

She added: “I am wanting to highlight the objections of the many heritage groups who do have concerns about the effect not only on the conservation area but about the effect on non-designated heritage assets.

“Many of those non-designated heritage assets are really lacking in protection at the moment.

“I don’t think that weighing up exercise has taken up all the heritage impacts into account.

“I note the low-level of affordable housing and the viability meaning there is no money for open space of sports services which Sports England requires.

“It’s an inappropriate over-development. I am also not happy with the mix of this – one and two-bedroom flats and studios into an area which is just going to turn it into a narrow group of people.”

The plans were approved, subject to an agreement requiring five per cent of apartments to be affordable housing.

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Hub managing director Damien Sharkey said after the meeting: “Digbeth is a historic neighbourhood with a long industrial heritage that is now fast emerging as one of the UK’s most creative and lively places.

“We have worked very closely with the local authority, local community and other stakeholders over the past two years to ensure that our plans fully support the area’s long-term evolution and we are excited to be moving forward with our first project in Birmingham.”

Adam Cook, UK property director at National Express, added: “We’re pleased to see the approval of this joint application which represents a fantastic opportunity to support the regeneration of Digbeth in alignment with the National Express environment and property strategy to move to a zero emission bus fleet by 2030.

“This new development provides Digbeth with an exciting and vibrant destination and will allow our relocation to new efficient, purpose-built facilities outside of the city centre.”

Architecture firm Shedkm has designed the scheme.

Business Live – West Midlands