Green light for next phase of Birmingham’s Port Loop development

The next phase of a major canalside housing development in Birmingham has been approved by city councillors.

Members of Birmingham City Council’s planning committee approved the designs for the next stage of work at the Port Loop project near Edgbaston Reservoir.

The latest plans will see 98 homes in seven blocks fronting onto the canal built alongside houses already under construction.

The long-term aim by developers Urban Splash and Places for People is to create a new community with around 1,150 units on site.

But city councillors expressed concerns about safety provisions to protect children from falling into the canal as well as the fact that 46 car parking spaces were being provided.

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Cllr Maureen Cornish said: “We desperately need family homes – these will be family homes – but it is so close to a working canal.

“We all know the reality of what that means for a family with young children. You cannot be watching them all the time.

“Most of us on planning did voice our opinion that they needed to have special conditions and areas to help prevent the possibility of accidents.

“We know they are going to disappear out of their homes and see the canal with barges going up and down.

“I haven’t seen anything in this report that improves what we put down quite a long time ago. We all said this was a huge problem for all of us.”

Cllr Gareth Moore added: “I am particularly worried about the reduction in car parking for this area because this is not a central city centre location.

“This idea that it is served by all this wonderful public transport and therefore everyone is going to use public transport and not want to own cars is just a fallacy.

“What is even more bizarre is that in the report it says less parking is needed because it is aimed at young millennials.

“When we went to visit the site, the house we saw was on the market for £400,000.

“I don’t know many millennials who can afford a property (of that price), certainly in Birmingham, and if they can I am pretty sure they can afford to have a car as well.

“This idea we need to provide less parking for these people who apparently don’t drive – when clearly a lot of them do – is just stupid.

“People have visitors, people’s attitudes change. They may not have a car now but if they want to stay there and live for a while they will probably want to own a car at some point in the future.

“Particularly if you have a family – having a car is much more important if you have a family in terms of being able to move around.

“To not design that in now is setting up huge problems for the future.”

A planning officer said there was a requirement for affordable housing in outline permission granted for the site.

The officer added that, in the first phases of the project currently being built, around 10 per cent of homes were affordable “but that may increase” and said it was a case of balancing debates around design and debates around proximity to the canal.


Business Live – West Midlands