The construction of one of Birmingham’s tallest buildings has been thrown into doubt after the project was called in for a judicial review – after a rival developer lodged a claim against the scheme.
In April, Birmingham-based developer Court Collaboration won the green light for its £160 million, One Eastside project at the corner of James Watt Queensway and Jennens Road.
The scheme will contain 667 apartments, a sky bar and other amenities over two buildings of 51 and 15 storeys respectively.
But a High Court judge has now granted permission for the judicial review after rival developer LaSalle Investment Management lodged a case opposing the project, citing a lack of consideration for Historic England’s concerns about the scheme.
LaSalle Investment Management owns the 603-apartment Allegro building at Exchange Square directly opposite the One Eastside site.
Historic England.had raised concerns about the potential impact the 51-storey tower could have on nearby historic buildings although it did not lodged an official objection with the city council.
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However, it now seems the authority’s planning committee may not have given sufficient weight to Historic England’s comments.
High Court judge Mrs Justice Lieven DBE has granted the judicial review on a series of grounds relating to the failure to consult Historic England properly and understand and apply correctly its advice.
The judge also said planners had not applied the correct legal and policy tests on heritage.
Cllr Lou Robson (Hall Green, Lab) was the only member of the council’s planning committee to object to the proposals back in April and voiced concerns over the lack of consideration of heritage issues and affordable housing.
She said: “I’m glad that Ms Justice Levein of the High Court has granted the judicial review.
“She’s rightly designated this as a significant planning case and she listed five areas where the council failed, particularly on heritage grounds, in her decision.
“I hope the judicial review looks into the council’s approach to protecting its historic buildings of all ages.
“There’s currently no independent body to look at heritage, no training for planning members on conservation and design and there’s supposed to be a review of tall buildings and planning policy but nothing has come to committee yet.
“It takes deep pockets to undertake a judicial review and too many schemes have been passed previously in Birmingham on the grounds that economic growth trumps all, bypassing policies on heritage, local identity, housing mix and affordable housing.
“I hope this sends a message to everyone involved in planning, architecture and development in Birmingham that high-quality buildings need to respect heritage and local identity.”
Court Collaboration said in a statement: “We are disappointed that LaSalle Investment Management is seeking to litigate Birmingham City Council’s conduct and will support the council in defence of the planning permission.
“One Eastside is an exciting scheme which reflects Birmingham’s ambition for growth and we remain confident of its positive impact for the city.”