Future of ‘historic’ bus station to be decided by residents

An ‘historic’ bus garage in Perry Barr is highly unlikely to be demolished, the leader of the council has said.

Campaigner Josh Bunting and local councillor Morriam Jan in front of the bus garage. Photo: Morriam Jan
Campaigner Josh Bunting and local councillor Morriam Jan in front of the bus garage. Photo: Morriam Jan

A campaign, led by local councillors Jon Hunt and Morriam Jan, challenged a cabinet decision to proceed with the regeneration of the area, arguing that the demolition of a 90-year-old bus station should be halted and the premises instead converted into a community space.

The campaign had gained support from local residents, with more than 90 people signing a petition against the plans, with Wednesday’s meeting called to decide whether the Cabinet decision to go ahead with the redevelopment would be ‘called in’.

And while members of the Housing and Neighbourhoods Overview and Scrutiny Committee ultimately decided that there were not sufficient grounds to ‘call in’ the Cabinet decision to go ahead with the redevelopment of the area, leader of the council Ian Ward said that the council had every intention of repurposing the premises in consultation with the local community.

“I was out in Perry Barr at the village site a few weeks ago and took the opportunity to have a look at the bus depot,” he said.

“It really is a significant building within the area, and the intention as set out in the master-plan is to create within Perry Barr a place where people will choose to live, where they would choose to work, and where they would choose to visit.

“I was down in London last week and I went to Covent Garden and I went to Borough Market. And you visit those locations in the capital, and you do think that we ought to be able to create something similar here in Birmingham, and I do think the bus depot in Perry Barr gives an opportunity for that.

“Now what we’re going to need, and the reason we’re consulting, is that this is a 40-year vision for this area, so we’re particularly keen to engage with young people on the ideas. But if we can get an operator that can populate that bus garage with new uses – it could be a market, could be a restaurant, could be a theatre – we are consulting on all of those at the moment as part of the master plan, and it’s very much my intention that if we are going to create a place where people would choose to live and people would choose to visit, we do need an attraction like that.

“So the word ‘temporary’ that is in the report is only in reference to the fact that the outline planning consent does give permission for demolition. But let me make it absolutely clear, this is not going to be demolished unless, through the consultation, that is what the residents of the area specifically ask us to do, and I think that’s extremely unlikely.

“So if we can come forward with a proposition to make this work as a visitor’s attraction, that is our intention, and we will be guided by the outcome of the master plan.

“So there will be no demolition of this building while we are consulting, and no demolition of it afterwards if we can make it work with a proposition that comes through the consultation.”

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