A controversial £130 million mixed-use development in Birmingham has been given the green light by the Government following an appeal after it was thrown out by city planning chiefs.
Eutopia Homes has won the backing of Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick for its scheme over 4.2 acres of industrial land at 193 Camp Hill, in Digbeth.
First unveiled in early 2019, the project will comprise 180 apartments and 300 houses for both rent and sale, an eight-storey hotel with 167 bedrooms and 16,000 sq ft of commercial space.
Five percent of the apartments will be affordable alongside a 50 per cent reduction in market rent for the commercial units aimed at attracting start-up companies.
The scheme will be formed of seven blocks ranging from three to 26 storeys, with the tallest tower housing the apartments, alongside public realm.
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The site was occupied for more than 100 years by Swiss coil manufacturer Sulzer but it has relocated to a new UK head office and maintenance facility on Birmingham Business Park in Solihull.
The development previously attracted opposition from transport groups because of its proximity to the planned Bordesley Chords rail line project.
The scheme will enable new rail viaducts to be built in Digbeth which will take more services into Moor Street station from the east and south of the city, including from new stations under construction in Kings Heath, Moseley and Hazelwell on the Camp Hill line.
It was feared that Eutopia Homes’ new development could threaten this infrastructure work although Network Rail did not oppose the planning application.
Birmingham City Council’s planning committee went against officers’ recommendations and rejected the application, prompting Eutopia Homes to lodge an appeal with the Planning Inspector last summer which it has now won.
Eutopia Homes’ chief executive Scott Hammond said: “We are pleased the Secretary of State has agreed with the Planning Inspector and Birmingham City Council planning officers, who recommended the application for approval in December 2019, that permission should be granted.
“It is a shame that members of the planning committee forced a lengthy delay to important job creation and housing delivery, as well as expenditure of public funds at appeal.”
Regional authority Transport for West Midlands was among those opposing the application last year.
Director of rail Malcolm Holmes said: “We are disappointed that the appeal has been upheld.
“Nevertheless, we will continue to work with our partners including Network Rail, Birmingham City Council and Midlands Connect on the Midlands Rail Hub project to increase rail capacity at Moor Street station and deliver improved services for people all over the West Midlands.
“We do encourage housing development in Digbeth and the wider region but this needs to be carried out alongside the development of our rail and public transport networks to support that regeneration.”
Network Rail said in a statement: “When plans were first submitted for this mixed-use development in Digbeth, we met with the developer to explain the potential railway upgrades in the area.
“Our suggestions were incorporated into its design, keeping open the possibility that the Camp Hill line could be joined with the Chiltern main line in future as part of the Midlands Rail Hub.”