Councillors in Birmingham praised a new office development for not looking like “another box” as they gave the project the green light.
Two new office buildings will be developed in Upper Gough Street by City Realty which will include a total of 218,076 sq ft across a “lozenge-shaped” building and a more conventionally shaped block.
The designs by architecture practice Corstorphine + Wright, which were first unveiled in March, feature a rooftop garden and a café on the basement level.
The buildings, which will be nine and ten storeys respectively, will also have six commercial units between them and the nearby Chapman’s Passage lane is proposed to be extended between the two buildings.
Objections raised following a public consultation included fears around “loss of light to (nearby pub) The Keg and Grill” as well as increased noise during construction and traffic problems when work is completed.
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The report prepared for councillors ahead of their latest planning committee meeting said there would be a “less than substantial harm” to the significance of nearby St Thomas’ Church as a result of the development.
The meeting heard there had been an additional objection from residents in an adjacent building around the impact on the potential for them in future to have solar panels due to overshadowing.
Cllr Gareth Moore (Con, Erdington) said during the meeting: “The first one is a positive comment in terms of the design of Block A.”
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He said it was good the committee was not “being asked to approve another box which there is far too much of in the city centre”.
But he asked for clarification on why Historic England had not commented on the proposals during the consultation.
An officer present at the meeting said there was no requirement to consult with Historic England as St Thomas’ Church is Grade II-listed rather than Grade II* or Grade I.
The officer said: “Occasionally in those circumstances, bodies make representations anyway but in this situation they haven’t.”
All seven members at the planning committee meeting voted in favour of the plans.