Stephen J. Giles

Passion Points: 26K

Construction & regeneration
14 Jun 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

The Construction of The Mercian - June 2021 Update

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Having reached its full height the crown on this landmark 42 storey tower has now been installed alongside a 40th floor terrace - just as the facade continues to inch its way up the 132m building with just a few floors to go.

Follow the construction photo update covering April to 6th June for cracking images from Daniel, Stephen, John & Elliott.

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The 40th floor terrace (3.1m in size) will be created at both ends of the building, adding visual interest to the top of the tower. These terraces will be surrounded by a 3.5m high balustrade to provide a safe environment for residents.

Eventually, the facade will wrap around it to continue its relationship with the rest of the building, with the top finished in a slightly lighter coloured bronze fin panel, providing an elegant crown element to the landmark building.

JUNE

Photos by Daniel Sturley.

MAY

Photos by Daniel Sturley.

Photos by Elliott Brown.

APRIL

Photos by John Gilbert.

Photo by Warwick Dan.

Photos by Elliott Brown.

Photos by Daniel Sturley.

MARCH:

Photos by Daniel Sturley.

Photos by Stephen Giles.

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
10 Jun 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

366 New Homes For Moseley Street, Digbeth

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Controversial plans to erect two new blocks containing 366 apartments adjacent to a busy public house, has finally been approved (10th June 2021).

The scheme represents an opportunity to bring this desolate site back to life by delivering a high-quality scheme in a prominent location.

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This derelict, unkempt site is connected by Moseley Street, Moseley Road and Cheapside, and within proximity to Highgate Park.

Rainier Developments are now free to transform the site with the delivery of 366 new one, two & three-bedroom homes (42-91sqm) in two ‘U-shaped’ blocks of 5 and 8 storeys tall.

Designed by BDP Architects, the development inherently responds to the gradient of Moseley Street and incorporates architecture and features that are truly distinctive and relatable to the character and history of the area.

A fresh £500,000 pedestrianised street named 'Park Lane' will dissect the site by providing a superbly designed landscaped public thoroughfare between Cheapside and Moseley Street, enhancing permeability and adding further informal animation to the area.

Vibrant ground floor uses of both blocks will each contain amenity areas, including lounges, concierge, bike stores and other back of house facilities.

Two spacious private courtyards, 1,608sqm in total, will also be provided, with at least a third of the flats having access to private amenity space via a garden, roof terrace or balcony.

A car-free development, the scheme ultimately reacts to the emerging Rea Valley Urban Quarter SPD by allocating 388 secure cycle spaces instead; and these will be available on the ground floor of each block.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

147 one, 207 two, 12 three-bedroom apartments (1-5 persons) will be delivered here, including 33 affordable one & two-bed units. These will be available for low-cost home ownership (9%).

To further support contribution, the Park Lane public realm works, as mentioned above, will cost around £500K, providing the equivalent of 12% affordability.

NOISE ISSUES - MITIGATION MEASURES IN PLACE

However, the proposal wasn't without its troubles. It all stems from 46 flats that will face Cleary’s Irish Bar.

Various noise assessments were undertaken, but an agreement could not be reached between Cleary’s & Rainier. This ultimately led to councillors voting to side with the Public House before voting to ‘defer minded to refuse’ on May 13th 2021.

Although it is widely accepted that the vast majority of units would enjoy a suitable noise environment, a planning balance needed to be struck and was indeed struck. 

The development was approved 7-3, with all 46 apartments within Block B now requiring careful assessment & noise mitigation measures moving forward.

All parties agreed that all affected units will be fitted with mechanical ventilation systems, acoustic glazing & their windows sealed to protect both residents & Cleary’s.

The level of glazing will be dependent on the results of an additional noise survey prior to the occupation of the building.

All images the property of BDP Architects

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
04 Jun 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Construction of Alexander Stadium - June 2021

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New images from IYB shows how the £72.4 million centrepiece of Birmingham’s 2022 Commonwealth Games spectacular is taking shape.

With construction well advanced, the new stadium is earmarked for completion in Spring 2022.

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Superb progress is being made on the new tiered West Stand at Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr, on the grounds of Perry Park.

The stadium will also see the introduction of new tiered seating to the north and south, alongside a new 400m, six-lane warm-up track.

Planning permission was granted in January with Northern Irish construction firm McLaughlin & Harvey (MCLH) confirmed as the contractor - and they’ve not looked back since.

Designed by Arup, with Mace Group as project manager, the stadium will house around 30,000 spectators during the Games, before reverting to a permanent capacity of 18,000 post-Games - still comfortably one of the largest permanent facilities capable of hosting major athletics in the UK.

It will then become a focal point of health, well-being, sport, academic and community activity in a vastly improved Perry Park as part of the wider Perry Barr Regeneration Scheme – which will see over £500million invested in new housing, public space & infrastructure over the next decade.

It'll continue to serve as home to the Birchfield Harriers Athletics Club and will even introduce Birmingham City University and up to 1000 sports and exercise students, as a new anchor tenant.

Funding has come from Birmingham City Council (£27.4million), WMCA (£20million) and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (£20million).

Images by Stephen Giles.

GAMES MODE:

LEGACY MODE (Post Games):

Words by Stephen Giles, with all CGIs the property of ARUP/ Birmingham City Council.

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
03 Jun 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

The Lamp Works: Demolition Progressing

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A series of rundown buildings are currently being demolished on the site of The Lampworks, in the Jewellery Quarter.

The Cordia Blackswan development will soon be reborn with 129 new homes.

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As you can see, a series of rundown industrial & commercial builds on Great Hampton Street and Barr Street are currently being demolished, with the Cordia Blackswan site set to be reborn in the coming months ahead.

THE LAMPWORKS

129 new homes will be created here, by way of retention and conversion of buildings saved from demolition, and the erection of new four & five-storey new builds - in a mixture of one, two, three beds & duplexes.

A ground floor commercial unit, and an inner courtyard, will also be provided.

Demolition images by Stephen Giles. Renderings are the property of BPN Architects.

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
27 May 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

St. James' House To Become A 156-room Aparthotel

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An unloved brutalist office block will be revitalised to deliver a 156-room aparthotel for international hotel brand, Marriot Residence Inn.

St. James' House was approved today at Planning Committee (27th May 2021).

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KENFIN PROPERTY is now free to transform this neglected building to deliver a 156-room aparthotel for international hotel brand, Marriot Residence Inn.

The vacant pre-cast concrete former office building, at 17 Horsefair, has seen frequent past attempts to repurpose it come and go - with noise fears always a significant factor in those previous permissions not being implemented.

However, with comprehensive mitigation plans in place (see below), Kenfin has now received the go-ahead to proceed.

The building - adjoined to O2 Academy Birmingham - will be partially demolished to floors 3-7, before a new lightweight structure is erected and the building extended up to 11 storeys tall.

The new structure will be positioned upon isolated springs to prevent noise travelling, in addition to glazing and facade construction to reduce the impact of any noise.

Clad in metallic finished silver aluminium, with powder coating, large windows, bevelled/angular recesses and projections within the pattern, the building frontage will also feature copper cladding to frame the main facade.

To further appease officers, Kenfin has also agreed to further undertake a noise verification survey before occupation to ensure the mitigation measures are correctly installed.

MARRIOT RESIDENCE INN

Attracting Marriot Residence Inn is something of a coup for the area, not least the building.

The building will facilitate many communal areas, including a bar, gymnasium, lobby, working, dining & lounge areas.

Accommodation will be on floors 3-11, with each room containing a double bed, living area, kitchen and en-suite, with sizes ranging from 24-38sqm.

Given its highly accessible location, zero car parking is provided; however, 4 covered cycle racks will be implemented and accessed via Bow Street.

All images are the property of Cartwright Pickard Architects.

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
27 May 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Unloved John Madin Office Block Set For Transformation

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An unloved brutalist office block, designed in 1962 by John Madin, will be repurposed and brought back to life to deliver 266-bed student accommodation and a 123-room hotel.

The site at 12 Calthorpe Road contains two blocks, the tallest reaching 11 storeys.

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MERCIA REAL ESTATE (MRE) is now free to transform the site to deliver 266-bed purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), alongside a 123-room hotel.

The vacant site at 12 Calthorpe Road, designed by the famous architect, John Madin, contains two blocks, the tallest of which reaches 11 storeys. They are both joined vertically by a small link. These will be demolished to allow each to become separate entities.

The roofs on both will also be demolished and a two-storey, 31K SF extension added to make the project viable.

The tallest block will be turned into student digs, comprising en-suites & studios, while the smaller five-storey is to become a 123-room hotel, with provision for a 120 cover restaurant pavilion.

The hotel, alongside the pavilion, will feature a reception, restaurant and bar; while the student element will feature a sky lounge, virtual training room, gym, games area, cinema room, and study spaces.

Cycle parking is to be provided alongside the addition of 73 car parking bays across the site, mainly in the rear car park and the basement underneath the hotel.

However, approval wasn’t plain sailing. Brutiful Birmingham, the lobby group that aims to protect the city’s brutalist heritage, objected to demolition, as did Edgbaston MP Prett Gill, and Calthorpe Residents’ Society.

Concerns, however, were dismissed by officers, and agreed by the committee, as causing “less than substantial harm”.

Student needs also cropped up, despite assessments supporting the need for such accommodation, with MRE suggesting that Calthorpe Road could meet shortfalls in the supply of PBSA.

Birmingham City Council agreed: “A need for the student accommodation has been demonstrated. The proposal would support the function of both the University of Birmingham and Birmingham City University (a short walk away from Calthorpe Road) as key providers of employment, culture, and learning in the city,”.

Mercia Real Estate have since mentioned that discussions are on-going with Birmingham City University to take bedspaces.

With a demonstrable demand for student digs, and (perhaps) less so for workspaces, certainly at this moment in time, could this become the norm for our city centres?

All renderings are the property of Glancy Nicholls Architects.

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
27 May 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

APPROVAL FOR REGENERATION OF POST-INDUSTRIAL DIGBETH

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A hybrid application forming a strategic, long-term vision framework for the regeneration of post-industrial Digbeth, has been APPROVED!

Phase 1 of the wider eight-phase regeneration will see 40 new homes, a 'light box' extension to the Custard Factory, and a new office cluster. Exciting!

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4.5M SQFT PLANS; INCLUDING A BIRMINGHAM ‘HIGH LINE’

Digbeth is Birmingham’s creative hub with proud roots in trade, industry, craft and making. Oval Real Estate seeks to conserve this rich heritage, whilst raising the dynamic of the area that will support the city’s diverse communities.

Plans will see 4.15M SQFT developed over eight major phases, offering a genuine opportunity to steer the future development of Digbeth cohesively.

The 15-year plan will involve the redevelopment of 67 plots and the demolition of some 59 buildings, with buildings ranging from one to fourteen storeys tall. If fully realised, the project could be operational by 2035.

The scheme envisages 1.9 million SQFT of offices, up to 1,850 residential units, 230,000 SQFT of new shops, bars, retail, restaurants & takeaways, improved public realm spaces, a nightclub, a 350-bed hotel, a MSCP, 850-bed student accommodation, alongside leisure, education and community facilities.

The city’s 1846-built Duddleston viaduct will also be reanimated into a vibrant New York-esque ‘High Line’ - with all builds setback from the viaduct with a strategically placed pedestrian route alongside its length to the city centre.

IMAGE: View from Gibb Street - Bordesley Viaduct arches.

The River Rea will be uncovered for the first time in decades; two new pedestrian bridges over the Rea & Grand Union Canal will be built, with two others forming a linear sky park atop Duddleston viaduct.

All this will see Digbeth become a permanent daytime economy presiding over thousands of new inhabitants, as well as seeing up to 16,000 new jobs created.

67 PLOTS, 59 BUILDINGS DEMOLISHED, OTHERS BROUGHT BACK INTO USE

Let’s be clear: Large swathes of the site are rundown, with many abandoned buildings and empty plots. These will be demolished, but not all at the same time, as many seem to believe.

Low grade properties will be demolished over the years.

Many, lying either vacant or underutilised, will also be brought back into viable use where appropriate, allowing Digbeth to provide a whole range of suitable improved commercial spaces for a range of businesses, from small scale start-ups to larger companies.

All new builds will then respond to the specific design code of the area. We’ll be posting more on this as the site develops.

PHASE 1

The first phase (in blue) includes ‘Wild Works’, providing 139K SQFT of workspace, 40 new homes at ‘Custard Factory Living’, and a 35K SQFT ‘light box’ upward extension at the Custard Factory.

The Wild Works (Floodgate Street) - Designed by Studio Egret West, Wild Works provides a subtle nod to the areas metalworking past.

The site will be redeveloped to provide four modern commercial blocks in builds ranging from 1 to 8-9 storeys, along with an incubator workspace & a ground-floor restaurant.

Custard Factory Living (Floodgate Street) - Designed by Glenn Howells Architects, the site will see the development of a seven-storey residential building providing 40 (1-3 bed) rented apartments—including four affordable units (10%), with ground-floor retail/food and drink uses.

Provision for a replacement pedestrian bridge is included, and this will cross the River Rea to provide an improved link from Floodgate Street past the Custard Factory to Gibb Street.

Custard Factory Extension - This exciting new three-storey light-box addition will add architectural interest to the area.

Designed around the concept of a light-box, the extension will provide two storeys of flexible-use office space & a further top floor for function spaces alongside an outdoor roof garden area.

An extension will also be made at ground floor level, providing additional retail and office floorspace.

Exciting plans afoot!

All images used here are the property of Studio Egret West & Glenn Howells Architects.

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
25 May 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

GO-AHEAD RECOMMENDED FOR 14 STOREY RESI BLOCK

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A 14-storey building containing 80 apartments could be constructed in Ladywood, with plans recommended for approval later this week.

Providing a brand new visual marker, in an area set to see transformational change in the future, be sure to follow the post for an in-depth look at Morville Street apartments.

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Located at the junction of Ladywood Middleway and Morville Street – on the former site of Five Ways Health Centre & more recently, a flower shop – the vacant site is earmarked for demolition to make way for this 14 storey tower.

Designed with the stacking of two blocks set at different angles, the red brick building – containing stretcher and recessed stacked bond to add visual articulation – will yield 80 one and two bedroom apartments, in a mix of 33 one & 47 two bedrooms.

9 apartments (11%) has been designated as affordable and these will be available at 75% of market value.

Morville Street Developments Ltd – a team led by Mark Holbeche of Regal Property Group, and William Houle, of Trigram Properties – are behind the redevelopment, with Glancy Nicholls Architects designing the scheme.

Well considered in its design, scale, material and design quality, the building enhances its local distinctiveness & follows the alignment of its boundaries and street frontages; before cleverly stepping back to an orthogonal form on the eighth floor, as it faces the adjacent Lincoln Tower.

It’ll feature a double floor base with four sets of three floors grouped through the elevation and topped with an open crown around an open-air roof garden space.

All windows will be metal framed and topped off with a natural copper finish.

AMENITIES

A private walled garden (160sqm) and work-from-home space (50sqm) will be provided at ground floor level. On the upper floors, a private roof-top garden with green roof & bio-solar roof panels (241sqm) will become the crowning feature of the development.

Predominately a car-free affair, Morville Street will see the inclusion of 30 internal and 50 external cycle spaces – the former at ground floor level & the latter within the new courtyard.

THE SITE TODAY

EXISTING SITE VIEW: Google Street View (August 2020)

Recommendation: Morville Street apartments has been recommended for approval subject to a Section 106 legal agreement to secure 9 affordable (one and two bedroom) apartments. The development goes to Planning committee on the 27th of May 2021, at 11 am. 

All renderings are the property of Glancy Nicholls Architects.

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
20 May 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Major Inner City Academy Set For Approval

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Plans for a new Inner City Football Academy for Aston Villa Football Club has been recommended for approval on the 27th of May.

Follow the link for more on this exciting development for Aston Villa and for the city!

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The state-of-the-art academy, on Witton Road, will provide access for the local community through the Aston Villa Foundation and in partnership with local junior football clubs.

While Aston Villa operates a training base for senior players at Bodymoor Heath, north of Sutton Coldfield, the club is now bringing forward these exciting new plans that will enable the club to grow its youth training programme within the city - just 500 yards from Villa Park.

Indoor & outdoor 3G pitches – both floodlit – will be included alongside a claret cladded new build that will facilitate lounges for parents, changing facilities, and office space.

The academy, which will provide opportunities for age 4 upwards, is expected to see up to 100 players and 20 staff use the facilities.

Three access points, three new car parks containing 445 vehicular spaces (inc. 5 disabled) & 16 cycles, are to be delivered.

Plans have been brought forward in collaboration with Aston Villa Football Club, 1874 Developments, and Aston Villa Foundation. Plans have been designed by HB Architects & Indigo Landscape, with consultancy from Claremont Planning. Images are the property of HB Architects.

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
17 May 2021 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

The Hyatt, Birmingham - Great architecture

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The Hyatt Regency is a modernist 4-star hotel on Broad Street in the city centre of Birmingham, England.

Standing at 75 metres (246 feet), the 24 storey hotel - which has a total of 319 luxury bedrooms and suites - opened for business in the summer of 1990.

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With its striking blue reflective glass and private bridge linking the hotel to the ICC (International Convention Centre), and Symphony Hall, Hyatt hasn’t aged a day.

It was specifically constructed to garner ties with the ICC. And it was this secure link that helped Birmingham host the 24th world G8 Summit in 1998, and the NATO Meeting of Defence Ministers, in 2000.

Over the years, the hotel has, in addition to welcoming Prime Ministers and Presidents, also played host to A-list film, pop stars, war heroes & countless sports teams.

Today, Hyatt offers a cosmopolitan restaurant within its stylish atrium lobby, alongside a Pravda bar offering an extensive drinks menu. The upper three floors feature the ‘Regency Club’ - 12 elegant suites for the discerning traveller.

In 2016, the hotel was bought by a Middle East Investment group (an affiliate of Sharjah-based Bin Otaiba) for £38.6 million.

CONSTRUCTION

The building was built by Convention Centre Partnership (Percy Thomas Partnership and Renton Howard Wood Levin) and was constructed along with the ICC between 1987 and 1991.

Images from fruit&nut/Skyscrapercity.

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
17 May 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

'Making An Entrance' for a Birmingham Gem

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Symphony Hall recently embarked on an extraordinary £13.2 million transformation.

The state-of-the-art redevelopment provides a more welcoming experience for all audiences – presenting hundreds of free events, and an education programme that reaches thousands across the region.

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‘Making an Entrance’ - the tagline behind the transformation - helps Birmingham's world-famous Symphony Hall fulfil their long-term ambition to bring ‘more music to the people’.

The cultural pulse of the city, the building was thoroughly re-energised with a curved frontage extension that now brings music to life in the foyers, along with new permeable space, hospitality areas and education usages.

Designed by Page/Park Architects and constructed by Galliford Try, Symphony Hall was completed in early 2021.

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
29 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

NEW 25 STOREY FOR THE GUN QUARTER GETS THE GREEN LIGHT

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Regeneration of the Gun Quarter has taken another major step forward with the approval of a three-block development, with the tallest set to top 25 storeys.

53-68 Princip Street, at the corner of Lancaster Street & Princip Street, will see the creation of 337 rented homes 
on a main thoroughfare into Birmingham City Centre.

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The site is being brought forward by Load Estates Ltd (Taylor Grange), with the aim of delivering a sustainably viable PRS (Private Rented Sector) development in three builds of 6, 11 & 25 storeys.

All three buildings will be grouped around courtyard gardens, providing high-quality landscaped amenity spaces.

Shared communal facilities, totalling 551sqm, will be prominent at ground floor level, each containing a reception area & lounge space; coupled with a games room, ‘WFH’ office space, gym, shared kitchen & dining areas.

Despite concerns raised that the development would impact heritage assets, they (officers & planning committee) concluded that ‘the public benefits of the scheme outweighed any harm identified.

The present site, which includes vacant unlisted 20th-century industrial premises, a substation, car park & a pair of semi-detached HMO dwellings, can now be safely demolished.

Despite the approval, removal of the vacant former Turner Machine Tools Building, a non-designated heritage asset, caused Historic England to voice deep concerns that the loss would further eliminate the area’s proud heritage. Councillors could not muster up a remark regarding its loss.

IMAGE: Turner Machine Tools/ Roger Marks, Flickr.

Once developed, apartments will range in size from 40- 80sqm and will see 146 one & 196 two-bedroom homes, created - providing a healthy mix of one, two, three & four-person accommodation.

16 of these apartments (4.7%) will be offered for affordable private rent—this is what the applicant can offer without rendering the development unviable.

To proceed, a S106 legal agreement will need to be agreed to secure these affordable homes into the scheme. 

BLUE-BRICKED 25 STOREY

The tallest block will feature a curved, blue-bricked 25 storey that will occupy a prominent corner facing onto both Princip Street & Lancaster Street. The others, at 6 & 11 storeys, will be predominately red-bricked.

Each block will provide activity at ground floor level and duplex units to enhance overlooking of the street frontages.

THE CHANGING FACE OF GQ

The cityscape around the area has changed significantly in recent years, helped by the publication of High Places document in 2003, with derelict sites around the canal and along Lancaster Street and Newtown Row continuing to be developed with residential & student accommodation—reaching upwards of 25 storeys.

All renderings are the property of Glancy Nicholls Architects.

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
28 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Two Major New Offices for Upper Gough Street

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ANOTHER exciting regeneration scheme for Birmingham with the delivery of two new office builds on Upper Gough Street.

The 20,005 sqmscheme, which will further encourage wider regeneration, will provide commercial units, a new public realm, an extension of Chapmans Passage, and a shared car park.

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The significant development has been brought forward by Lambert Smith Hampton & Holland Lloyd, on belhalf of City Realty.

Designed by Corstorphine + Wright, the site offers a golden opportunity to introduce a landmark office building to the area, whilst integrating Peace Gardens with a new passageway, connecting with the existing Chapmans Passageway.

This new landscaped route, designed by Fira, will dissect both builds and will provide a fluid link from Chapmans Passage, directly to the Peace Gardens, offering landscaping areas and seating for pedestrians and occupants en-route.

The larger of the two blocks will contain rooftop gardens at the upper level providing occupants with scenic views across the city.

Influenced in its materiality by the historic Grade II listed, Church of St. Thomas, it'll be constructed in buff brindle brick, with concrete faced columns and perforated panels.

The smaller block will feature glazed red brick, angled protruding windows and louvred panels - it has been designed to take into consideration the existing 93-99 Holloway Head, which will likely be converted as part of wider redevelopment plans.

A shared car park will be provided within the basement of the taller block, accessed off Marshall Street. It'll feature a range of lockers and showering facilities, alongside vertical cycle racks, 20 car parking & electric vehicle bays.

FUTURE REDEVELOPMENT PLOTS:

All images are the property of Corstorphine + Wright Architects

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
22 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

OCTAGON: World's Tallest Octagonal Skyscraper Set For Approval

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Octagon is the world's tallest pure octagonal residential tower - and it's set to dominate the Birmingham skyline!

Plans go to Planning Committee on the 29th of April, at 11 am, with approval recommended.

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Located within the highly sustainable Paradise Birmingham site, this original build to rent skyscraper will soar to 49 storeys tall (155m/ 510ft) and with it, will set a barometer for healthy, sustainable and quality new homes for the city.

The building will stand tall and proud as a signpost for the city, making the most of its location on the Birmingham ridge - a line of higher ground that stretches from Snow Hill to Five Ways along Colmore Row and Broad Street.

It'll provide 370 high-quality spacious one, two & three-bedroom apartments in a mixture of 218 one-bed (two persons), 144 two-bed (four persons) & 8 three-bedroom (six persons) units, with apartment sizes healthily ranging from 51.3- 115 sqm. 

PUREST FORM - A WORLD'S FIRST

Designed by Birmingham-based architects, Glenn Howells, with landscaping coming from global landscaping firm, Grant Associates, Octagon will feature eight identical facades - conveying the purest octagonal form, with the building's frame punctuated by large horizontal windows opening up apartments to panoramic views of the city. 

With Council House, Alpha Tower, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG), and the Grade-I listed, Town Hall, all within close distance, the 'light champagne' finished exterior will give off a warm tone to reflect its grandiose surroundings, and this will also be echoed in the Octagon's subtle backlit crown, too.

30 affordable rented units are included, equating to just over 8% of the total number of apartments.

AMENITIES, RETAIL & CYCLES

Profiting from a triple-height glazed base, lower & upper ground floors floorspace will be home to retail, amenity, leisure and residential entrance spaces.

Amenities will comprise dining/ café, lounge areas, live/work meeting space, and wellness hub/gym supporting opportunities for healthy and active lifestyles.

Crucially, the new vibrant space will open up to a landscaped courtyard within Paradise - ultimately driving footfall through the evolving development. 

Zero car parking spaces will be provided, however, four accessible spaces will be situated at ground level alongside an on-site cycle store containing 225 storage spaces.

A 550-space car park will be provided within the wider Paradise masterplan.

'PUBLIC BENEFITS'

The principle of development has been supported from the getgo, with the belief that Octagon is too good an opportunity to pass up on.

'Furthermore, the public benefits of the scheme demonstrably outweigh the less than substantial harm caused to the setting of nearby heritage assets. It is therefore considered that the development application is acceptable subject to completion of an s106 legal agreement and safeguarding conditions.' - Birmingham City Council Planning Officers.

DEMOLITION

77 Paradise Circus Queensway currently stands in the way of progression - this will be demolished and has been earmarked for a 2021 removal date once a contractor has been formally tendered & announced.

All renderings are the property of Glenn Howells Architects.

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
15 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Birmingham Health Innovation Campus Approved

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Birmingham Health Innovation Campus (BHIC) is set to become a world-leading life sciences campus after a hybrid application was approved by Birmingham City Council.

Full Planning was comprehensively granted for No.1 BHIC, together with outline consent for upcoming plots 2-5.

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Opening in 2023, the first phase will see the delivery of a 130,000 sq ft state-of-the-art office & research development building–positioned to the east of Aston Webb Boulevard and the west of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal–providing a high-quality cluster for health excellence, including biopharma, medtech, precision medicine and genomics.

Designed around the notion of an 'ordered bookshelf, it will become home to the University of Birmingham's Precision Health Technologies Accelerator (PHTA) for start-ups, providing incubation space, wet and dry labs, clean rooms, prototyping and maker space.

This will offer close, direct access to the University's clinical trials ecosystem and research capabilities, and will provide a flawless setting to scale ground-breaking innovations for rapid adoption into the healthcare system.

Support facilities will see a ground floor café space, events and meeting spaces, with a central green parkland & pond, a temporary surface level car park for 258, motorcycle parking for five & outdoor spaces for 60+ cycles.

Pedestrian & cycle links will, too, be formed, alongside the formation of a new spine road connection to the Queen Elizabeth Island roundabout.

BIRMINGHAM HEALTH INNOVATION CAMPUS

The 10-year masterplan is being brought forward between the University of Birmingham, as landowner, and Bruntwood SciTech, in partnership with Birmingham Health Partners (University of Birmingham, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust & Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust). 

BHIC will become the regions only dedicated health and life sciences park, providing pioneering facilities within the heart of a cluster of healthcare excellence, bringing together researchers, clinicians, policy makers and industry to rapidly translate scientific and clinical insights into patient benefit and economic growth.

It is projected that up to 10,000 new jobs will be created, alongside the delivery of an extra (Plots 2-5) 700,000 sq ft state-of-the-art lab, office and incubation space acting as a catalyst for the growth of the Midlands’ life sciences sector.

PHASES 2-5

Five new buildings of up to eight storeys are reserved for future phases, with a 1333 space multi-storey car park (MSCP) integrated for good measure.

These builds could well see innovative health and life sciences businesses take up pre-lets or co-locate at the heart of the BHP ecosystem. The potential is enormous.

All images are the property of Sheppard Robson.

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
15 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Approval For 51 Storey One Eastside

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51-storey (525 ft) One Eastside has been approved again—four months after the previous consent was quashed for failing to mention an objection in its original report.

The landmark Court Collaboration development can finally get underway, subject to a Section 106 legal agreement.

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One Eastside will deliver three builds containing a 2, 16 (51m) & a 51 storey (155.145m) skyscraper on vacant brownfield land at the corner of Jennens Road and James Watt Queensway, comprising 667 one- and two-bedroom apartments, and a two-storey courtyard pavilion.

With its minimalist white fluted appearance, complete with deep reveals & modern yet classic grid design, Glancy Nicholls’ One Eastside design will immediately become the largest structure in the city, conquering top spot and knocking BT Tower (151m) - who’s held that mantle for over fifty years - off its perch and into second.

357 PRS one & 310 two-bedroom open-plan apartments will be provided, with sizes ranging from 38.2-71.36 sqm. Twenty apartments will be allocated for ‘affordable housing’ and these will be available at 20 per cent below local market value in perpetuity.

All three buildings, including the pavilion, will feature a high quality range of residential amenity in the form of co-working spaces, cafe/retail areas, meeting rooms, lounges, roof terrace, residents’ lounge, games room and private dining areas.

An expansive 3,200 square metre landscaped courtyard garden will be positioned between both towers, supporting yet more amenity space.

No car parking provision has been allocated given the location of the development; however, this will be mitigated with 132 secure cycle spaces.

The development was not without its objections. LaSalle Investment & The Victorian Society, once again, objected on the basis that the site would diminish key heritage buildings such as Curzon Street station, Methodist Central Hall and Victoria Law Courts - despite the former funding a building next door that dwarfs most of these.

Planning officers, recommending the scheme for approval before the committee meeting, accepted that, yes, a 51 storey would naturally harm one's surroundings but, with full objections & worries fully assessed, the substantial wider public benefits were considered to outweigh the harm from any such impacts.

PAVILION GYM: To be constructed in a ceramic green gloss metal with transparent and opaque glass.

One Eastside was approved 12-0.

All images are the property of Glancy Nicholls Architects & Fira Landscape.

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
12 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

St. Paul's Quarter Breaks Ground in the JQ

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A ground breaking ceremony has formally taken place at St. Paul's Quarter, Northwood Street, Jewellery Quarter - the largest development within the Conservation Area, signalling a start in construction on the £125m+ scheme.

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The significant four-acre site - formerly of AE Harris and once home to James Watt - is being brought forward by a Galliard Homes & Apsley House Capital Joint Venture.

Designed & master-planned by Glenn Howells Architects, it will become a mixed-use destination containing 305 new homes–including lofts, townhouses and duplexes–and circa 100,000 sq ft of commercial, retail & affordable business space across 20 buildings between two and five storeys.

The JV follows in the footsteps of Timber Yard and Soho Wharf - both under construction - and the recently proposed Belgrave Middleway, with the intention of providing thousands of high-end homes in the city.

Ground breaking: Photo by Galliard/ Thebusinessdesk

Demolition: Stephen Giles/ March 2021

A chunk of the site’s heritage will be meticulously maintained - two of which are Grade II listed buildings (109 Northwood St & 199 Newhall Street), while redundant factory buildings, deemed as having no architectural merit, have already been demolished.

Northwood Street, partially closed to the public, will also be reopened to pedestrians for the first time in well over 20 years. A new street, called Harpers Hill, will be formed and will stretch from Newhall Street into the heart of the Jewellery Quarter.

A new public square will then be incorporated, animated by vibrant shops, bars and restaurants.



44 car parking spaces will be provided alongside space for circa. 326 cycles.

AE Harris had operated on the site since 1964 but now employs 37 people and only ever used a third of the site. They have since moved to Frankley, having accepted that modern manufacturing methods do not meet their requirements.

We'll be updating on a regular basis. Be sure to follow the project here (opens in same window), as well as on our social media channels listed below.

All renderings are the property of Glenn Howells Architects.

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
10 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

The Construction of 103 Colmore Row - April 2021

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We have construction photos added to the gallery for this feature build covering January to April that you may not have seen! Too many to put in a post so please visit the main gallery after looking through this selection. Above is 7th April 2021 just before sunset.

Great photos from Elliott and Daniel...

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Go straight to the main gallery: 103 Colmore Row Construction Photo Gallery

103 Colmore Row from Cathedral Square (3rd January 2021). Photography by Daniel Sturley

103 Colmore Row at dusk. (19th January 2021). Photography by Daniel Sturley

View from Tysley Station (2nd February 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

The fog hides the top of 103 Colmore Row (6th February 2021). Photography by Daniel Sturley

View from Oaklands Recreation Ground. (17th February 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

18th March 2021, 103 Colmore Row with a rainbow.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

View from Edgbaston (19th February 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

View from Edgbaston Reservoir (24th February 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

7th March 2021, 103 Colmore Row from Suffolk Street Queensway near the Mailbox.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

16th March 2021, 103 Colmore Row from Victoria Square.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

22nd March 2021, 103 Colmore Row at sunset.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

26th March 2021, Installation of the bolcony parapet glass.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

1st April 2021, 103 Colmore Row from Victoria Square.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

7th April 2021, 103 Colmore Row just before sunset.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

Click: 103 Colmore Row Construction Photo Gallery for more.

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40 passion points
Construction & regeneration
01 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

APPROVED: Port Loop, Phase 3

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Phase 3 of Port Loop - Birmingham's premier new island community - has been approved this morning by planning committee (01.04.21) .

The site will now be unlocked with the exciting delivery of 98 new canal-side homes, public and private green spaces, and the planting of over one hundred trees across the site.

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Composed of two housing ideologies, the dwellings will be arranged in 8 terrace blocks running parallel to the canal and Rotton Park Street. Each will be equipped with terraces & will be centred on two spacious internally shared courtyards.

They include 29 two & three storey factory-built ‘Town Houses’—a build already used in earlier phases, and a new one for Port Loop: 69 two & three storey factory-built ‘Row Houses’—all designed by London architecture studio, shedKM.

Significantly, a new section of the canal towpath will be opened up - and this will form a major part of the newly landscaped public realm for both residents and the public to enjoy.

Around 110 new trees will be planted around courtyard areas and within proximity of the dwellings; 13 will be planted beside the canal towpath—with the area set to include new seating, hedges, and other landscaping works.

Town House allows residents to choose their own internal layout, the number of bedrooms, and room sizes; Row House will equally be as customisable but will be smaller, simpler and more affordable.

Around 10% of new homes across the site already provide affordable housing provision, including here, and with more to come. Each of the 98 dwellings will also be presented with a single car parking space alongside secure storage for two bicycles.

SNEAK PEAK OF TOWN HOUSE & ROW HOUSE: WIRRAL WATERS, BIRKENHEAD: 

Spanning 43-aces, this canal-side site, a mere 10-15 minute walk from the city centre, will soon offer up to 1,150 new homes, retail offerings, new stretches of unlocked canal towpath & leisure spaces.

Follow our social media channels for more updates!

All images are the property of shedKM & Urban Splash.

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INSTAGRAM: @Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
30 Mar 2021 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

OCTAGON: Amendments to World's Tallest Octagonal Skyscraper

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Octagon is the world's tallest pure octagonal residential tower - and it's set to dominate the Birmingham skyline!

Newly refined plans have gone in for this unique new skyscraper earmarked for Paradise - on the back of feedback from prospective contractors & investors. 

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Soaring to 49 storeys tall (155m/ 510ft), this unique landmark build-to-rent skyscraper will set a new barometer for healthy, sustainable and quality new homes for the city.

Bouncing on to the scene in October 2020, Octagon is back with several key design & engineering refinements, following dialogue with planning officers, prospective contractors, and investors - one of which is said to be in advanced talks with Argent.

These amendments have resulted in Octagon becoming a much clearer building arrangement, driven by function & user requirements.

KEY REFINEMENTS

  1. Removal of plant space at level 1 & 27-28, alongside a reduction in plant space at the very top of the building. 
  2. ​The residential mix now aligns with prospective requirements from investors.
  3. Revised building entrances & a clear delineation between retail & amenity.

1: The removal of plant space has come following talks with prospective contractors.

An additional 24 apartments have replaced these spaces - further increasing the deliverability of the project. Octagon now provides 370 apartments.

All units, which range from 51.3-115sqm, all comfortably exceed the minimum National Space Standards & are still, by some distance, the largest in the city.

2: The prominent site is seen as an unparalleled opportunity at the ‘premium’ end of the market and is highly likely to appeal to single households and couples.

For that reason, all one-bed (one person) units have been scrapped in favour of a higher proportion of one-bedroom (two person) apartments.

The full mix comprises 218 one (two persons), 144 two (four persons), and 8 three-bedroom (6 person) premium apartments. 30 apartments (8.1%) will be allocated for affordable private rent.

3: Design development and feedback from investors’ has resulted in changes to the entrances and ground floor areas. The key changes will see:

  1. A new retail entrance off Great Charles Street;
  2. Grand residents’ entrance from Paradise Circus Queensway;
  3. Increased amenity floorspace & reconfigurations of both lower & upper ground floors;
  4. Dedicated cycle access provided off Paradise Circus;
  5. Taxi & drop-off access likely within a drop off bay on Great Charles Street.

These bustling new spaces will add vitality and life to the frontages.

A mixture of gym space, wellbeing hub, cycle store, resident's lounge & storage space will be provided; as well as a reception area and cafe space.

The updated plans will now go to public consultation, ending on April 12th.

UPDATED RENDERINGS OF OCTAGON, BIRMINGHAM

& HOW IT LOOKED BEFORE THE CHANGES:

All images the property of Glenn Howells Architects.

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
16 Mar 2021 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

S&K Building, Digbeth - All The Renders

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Alive and kicking! Amendments went in last month at S&K Building, Digbeth - an exciting canal-side redevelopment from Taylor Grange & Corstorphine+Wright.

For all the renderings and an overview of the updated project, follow the post.

 

 

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UNITS: 479 PRS (Private Rental Sector) 1-3 bed & duplex apartments.
IN FULL:
227 one (1-2 persons);
235 two (3-4 persons);
1 three (5 persons);
6 duplexes (5 two & 1 three-bed).
HEIGHTS: Between 6-7 and a 10 storey on the corner facing Bradford Street.
FEATURES: Ground floor commercial, courtyards & a new riverway public realm & terraces.

S&K 2021:

All images the property of Corstorphine+Wright

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
03 Mar 2021 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

Hockley Mills, JQ - All The Renders

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Hockley Mills is a £100m development that will deliver eight new buildings comprising 395 one, two, three-bedroom apartments & duplexes; commercial spaces, and a new entrance to Jewellery Quarter Train Station. 

It's now under construction. Exciting stuff!

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Originally brought forward by Blackswan Property (now Cordia Blackswan) and designed by Glancy Nicholls Architects, the Pitsford Street site was recently purchased by Legal & General, on behalf of its BTR Access Development Partnership - a Joint Venture between L&G Capital & PGGM.

With the project now under construction. Sir Robert McAlpine (SRM) will act as developer on the development. Here are the renderings:

All images the property of Glancy Nicholls Architects

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
10 Feb 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Selly Oak Student Scheme: Amended Plans

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REVISED plans have gone in for a 523 bed canal-side student redevelopment on Elliott Road, Selly Oak.

With a new architect also on board, the scheme has been vastly improved to connect to arguably Birmingham’s greatest asset - its canal.

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Located at Selly Oak Industrial Estate, Units 5-8, Elliott Road, the revised proposal - brought forward by Watkins Jones Group - will see the site reconnect with arguably Birmingham’s biggest asset - its canal, through the demolition of vacant industrial builds (as seen above) before redevelopment can deliver:

  • Part 5-8 storey accommodation;
  • 523 student beds (135 studios/388 clusters);
  • 11 contemporary townhouses along Elliott Road;
  • Central courtyard gardens;
  • Secure indoor & outdoor amenity spaces;
  • Zero parking/ 128 cycles;
  • NEW fluid connections to the canal towpath and beyond.

With a new design team in place, Glenn Howells Architects & Layer Studio Landscape set about delivering on three fundamental principles as they redesigned the scheme. These are:

  • Establishing a fluid connection to the Canal

  • Creating a green campus

  • Providing connected routes all around the site

An expansive courtyard garden will become the beating heart of the scheme, providing students with ample space to study and relax, or simply to collect their bike before venturing out and about. 

Lively amenity spaces (gym, lounges and study spaces) will be at ground floor level, with the area set to bring much-needed activity and interest to the canal system and its new area of public realm.

Eleven contemporary townhouses will replace vacant warehouse units, and these will be positioned along Elliott Road - each purposely designed in response to the scale and context of the neighbouring area.

Before & after:

With the shock refusal of The Triangle (student development) site nearby, a student needs assessment document has been added to the application, fully outlining the significant demand for PBSA, not just in Selly Oak, but across the city.

Fresh Student Living - formed in 2010 by Watkins Jones Group - will operate the scheme if/when the scheme gets the go-ahead in the coming months. Certainly one to keep an eye on!

All images the property of Glenn Howells Architects

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
04 Feb 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

New Perry Barr Station Approved!

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A new flagship Train Station for Perry Barr has today been approved (9-1) at Birmingham City Council's Planning Committee.

Forming part of a wider £500 million regeneration of Perry Barr, the station will replace the current 1960s building, a station deemed unfit for modern purposes.

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The new Perry Barr Station will be a fully accessible, fit-for-purpose station with upgraded ticket offices, toilets & baby changing facilities, alongside new lifts and stairs to the platforms.

It'll replace the current 1960s building, a station deemed unfit for modern purposes.

Redevelopment - set to start in the spring - forms part of a wider £500 million regeneration of Perry Barr, with the new station set to benefit from 'strong links to north Birmingham’s road, bus and cycle networks'.

The redevelopment, however, is said to be £10 million over budget, and currently stands at approximately £30.98 million - raising some concerns over the scheme.

FULL STATION REDESIGN/ OUTLINE BUS INTERCHANGE

Original proposals in September 2020 were roundly criticised when first unveiled. This ultimately led to a redesign by Glancy Nicholls Architects late last year.

It now features more glazing, as well as perforated metal panels, incorporating sporting images, with the intention of providing Perry Barr with a visual landmark, both during the day and at night.

Landscaping of all public areas were also changed to reflect the redesign, with new paving, planters & provision for a minimum 21 cycle spaces.

As well as the railway station, outline planning permission was also granted for a bus interchange in front of the neighbouring One Stop Shopping Centre.

Indicative plans will see a sprint stop, three bus stops, signal controlled pedestrian crossings and pick-up/drop-off area for taxi’s and disabled users.

Further details will be the subject of a future reserved matters application.

CONSTRUCTION

Galliford Try were awarded the tender to build the station back in March 2020 - as revealed by Itsyourbuild back in March, and they will begin works in the spring, before opening to visitors ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

The project is being led by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the West Midlands Rail Executive in partnership with Birmingham City Council, Network Rail and West Midlands Trains.

All images the property of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM)/Glancy Nicholls Architects

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
21 Jan 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Stirchley: Affordable Housing & Retail Units

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Stirchley Co-operative, in collaboration with Accord Housing, has today secured approval to reinvigorate a dormant site by delivering new affordable housing & ground floor retail units for local businesses.

Click the link for more.

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Stirchley Co-operative Development (SCD) is a local community group comprising five housing and worker co-operatives intending to build affordable and eco-friendly residential and retail premises in the heart of Stirchley.

This mixed-use redevelopment, located at 1386-1392 Pershore Road, will contribute to the regeneration of the area by delivering much needed affordable housing & providing local Co-op businesses with prominent ground floor retail space.

39 one, two and three bedroom apartments (1-4 persons) will be created alongside 3 ground floor retail units - all within a sustainable timber framed, cream cladded three-storey new build.

All apartments will be for affordable rent, subject to a s106 agreement - thanks to funding from Homes England - with homes made available through Accord Housing.

A communal lounge, laundry room and a kitchen diner will supplement these homes; alongside a 670sqm rooftop garden & a 660sqm communal courtyard space.

Stirchley-based businesses that form part of the Co-operative will take up residence on the ground floor (738sqm). These will include:

  1. Artefact (artist-led gallery & community space);

  2. Birmingham Bike Foundry (bicycle repairs, refurbishment and training);

  3. Loaf (loaf social enterprise is a bakery and cookery school).

NOISE MITIGATION MEASURES

Given that the site is next to a major road & the Grade II listed, British Oak Public House - who have a substantial beer garden, many issues raised were understandably noise related.

Noise surveys were undertaken in recent months to nullify any potential issues that may crop up in the future. Measures implemented will see residents’ supplied with enhanced glazing & mechanical ventilation systems that can be used should their windows be closed.

PARKING

Given the sustainable location, with a new train station set to arrive soon, and with ample bus links on offer, zero car parking has been allocated here; however, 128 cycle spaces will be provided within the courtyard area.

All images are the property of Indesign, Accord Group's in-house architectural firm.

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