Decision on 480-home Birmingham scheme deferred over rail project delivery concerns

A decision on a 480-home mixed-use scheme on an employment site in central Birmingham has been deferred over concerns that the scheme could jeopardise the delivery of a rail infrastructure project in the city.

A visualisation of the finished scheme (pic: EUTOPIA LAND LTD)
A visualisation of the finished scheme (pic: EUTOPIA LAND LTD)

Last week, Birmingham City Council considered plans for the redevelopment of the site at Camp Hill, adjacent to Bordesley rail station.

Alongside the homes, the application sought full planning permission to construct a hotel and 1,480 square metres of flexible commercial floorspace. This would comprise use classes A1 retail, A2 professional services, A3 café/restaurant, B1 office, B2 general industry, B8 warehouse/storage and D1 non-residential institutions.

A planning report noted concerns about the scheme’s potential impact on the delivery of the Bordesley Chords infrastructure project.

This would see two new viaducts constructed to provide improved access into Moor Street Station and increase rail services through Birmingham.

The report noted that objections to the scheme had been received from transport body Midlands Connect, the West Midlands Rail Executive and Transport for West Midlands. The bodies share concern that the scheme could impinge upon land required to deliver the project.

The report said this was an "emotive subject", but added that "there is a lack of certainty regarding [the infrastructure scheme’s] implementation due to absence of committed funding, no safeguarded land within the Birmingham Development Plan and no definitive route alignment or information relating to land take for construction or operating purposes."

The document noted that rail network operator Network Rail had not objected to the scheme and the applicants had revised the layout of the plans "to potentially provide less conflict with the route if and when Chords come forward".

As such, the report concluded, "there is little evidence to indicate that the current proposals for development would definitely prejudice their delivery and on this basis there is no robust reason to refuse or defer determining the current application".

However, the planning committee voted to defer a decision on the scheme to see if further talks could take place to see if the concerns from the transport bodies could be addressed.

At the same meeting, the council approved plans for a 51-storey, 670-home tower in Birmingham city centre after Birmingham Airport agreed to increase the height at which planes circle in order to enable construction work.

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