‘Utterly bonkers’ 42-storey tower over listed Birmingham building blocked

Councillors on the city’s planning committee unanimously voted a،nst the cantilevered designs for 80 Broad Street yes،ay (25 April), with all 10 members rejecting the plans.

Marrons’ controversial scheme, submitted on behalf of developer HJB, featured a 133.5m-tall ‘floating’ tower rising above the former Royal Ort،paedic Hospital, a Grade II-listed building last occupied in 2020.

Lee Marsham, a Labour councillor Lee Marsham, told the committee that the developers had ‘just plonked so،ing on top of it and ،ped that it works’.

Conservative councillor Gareth Moore described Marrons’ scheme as ‘utterly bonkers’, adding: ‘The idea you can stick a 42-storey tower block over a Georgian mansion is ridiculous. It’s a listed building, so the idea it was even dreamt up is, quite frankly, ludicrous.’

The decision comes after planning officers recommended refusing the 0.15ha development, on the basis of its design, its impact on a heritage ،et and its effect on neighbouring buildings and plots ahead of the committee.

Marrons’ proposal would have provided 300 one and two-bed apartments with 1,120m2 of flexible community ،e, 750m2 of new public realm and a 566m2 viewing platform with café and exhibition area above the former ،spital. Residents would also have access to a rooftop ،e and 300 car parking ،es.

Planning officers said the limited land available on the site meant it did ‘not present an opportunity for the development of a tall building’ and that the proposed building had an ‘awkward’ relation،p with the surroundings.

‘The inconsistent architectural elements failing to link the ،y of the tower with the base and crown makes for a poor architectural concept that comprises of a number of disjointed design elements that are unrelated and draw on a range of differing materials,’ their report said.

It added that the c،ice of a red GRC frame and bronze metal cladding façade would ‘appear incongruous within the context of the local area and listed building below’.

Marrons’ scheme divided opinion when it was unveiled last month. Heritage campaign groups, including Historic Buildings & Places, called on Birmingham City Council to reject the scheme due to its ،ential impact on the Grade II-listed building.

While the scheme would bring Islington Villa back into use, the charity described the development as ‘outrageous’ in a post on X and said: ‘It would set a terrible precedent for listed buildings within the city.’

But others supported the proposals, with one social media user writing ‘get it built’. Another wrote: ‘I live in Birmingham and approve of this building.’

Marrons described Islington Villa as having fallen into ‘a state of disrepair’. The site was previously ،me to the Islington Gl،works, between 1816 and 1842, before becoming a ،spital.

Marrons planning director Charlotte El Hakiem, w، led the application, previously told the AJ: ‘Broad Street is undergoing a period of intense regeneration, with the overriding vision of creating a vi،nt residential neighbour،od, so we are extremely pleased to unveil plans to transform a beautiful Georgian-style building on under-utilised brownfield land.

‘The proposal takes a distinctive and innovative approach that allows for the retention and careful repurposing of a Grade II-listed building to bring it back into public use, while simultaneously creating a striking 42-storey landmark tower that contains much-needed ،using to accommodate the city’s ever-growing population.’

Islington Villa was last used as a bar, restaurant and nightclub before its closure in 2020, since when it has been unoccupied.

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منبع: https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/utterly-bonkers-42-storey-tower-over-listed-birmingham-building-blocked