Tower approved for Birmingham despite affordable housing concern

A plan for a 35-storey apartment block and hotel has been approved, despite offering just one per cent affordable housing.

Google Street View image of existing site at the Square, Broad Street, due to be demolished. Credit: Google
Google Street View image of existing site at the Square, Broad Street, due to be demolished. Credit: Google

But councillors moved to add a clause to review the affordable housing offer after a year, with the potential for up to 35 per cent to be provided.

Birmingham City Council’s planning committee made the a ruling on the planning application on Thursday which involves demolishing “The Square” business centre near Five Ways.

The upheaval would make way for a tower block with associated six-storey and eight-storey neighbouring blocks, the latter of which would host a hotel.

The land is between Ryland Street, Broad Street and Grosvenor Street West, and the developer is reportedly Taylor Grange.

Councillor Peter Griffiths said: “I am still concerned about the affordable housing offer at this particularly development – one per cent and four units seems to be really, really small.”

He suggested a motion for the council to insert an “override clause” so that if “excessive profits” were found to be have been made after a year without development starting, up to 35 per cent of flats could be provided as affordable housing.

The motion was passed.

Previously, an objection was lodged on behalf of 15 charities which states the proposal could mean the loss of “community uses that operate from the site”.

According to the report to councillors: “The submission is silent on the existing community uses (charities) and how these vital services can continue to be delivered to the community.

“Moreover, insufficient detail has been provided on the need for the hotel within this area, where it appears that there is an oversupply and this is likely to be compounded due to Covid-19.”

An officer said in the meeting he hoped “we would assist those charities in relocating”.

He said: “We can ask, informally, the developer to assist with relocations.”

The vote was passed by nine votes to one with one abstention.

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