Planning permission for a 51-storey development in central Birmingham has been quashed due to the council’s failure to disclose our objection to the planning committee.
Joe O’Donnell, Victorian Society Director, said: The High Court’s decision to quash this planning permission, due to the council's failure to disclose our objection to the planning committee, is an important endorsement of the value of our expert advice. We work hard to make carefully considered comments on planning applications to try and achieve the best outcome for Victorian and Edwardian buildings for all of us. These comments should not be thrown to a bottom of a file by planning department staff and forgotten. I hope that all local authorities will take note of this decision and put processes in place to ensure that their decisions are not quashed as a result of ignoring our advice.
The proposed development raised major concerns over the impact on Birmingham’s historic buildings. The plans would have included Birmingham’s second tallest building, on a site close to a number of heritage assets, including the Grade I-listed Curzon Street Station, the Grade I-listed Victoria Law Courts, and the Grade II*-listed former Methodist Central Hall.
Although welcoming this particular decision, the society warns against a growing trend in Birmingham. Tim Bridges, Victorian Society Conservation Adviser, said: ‘The most characterful historic places in the 'City of a Thousand Trades' will face a new threat in the 2020s. We are seeing more applications than ever for very tall buildings in and around Birmingham City Centre. Whilst some sites are suitable for taller structures, we are very concerned about the immense individual and collective impact that buildings of 30 to 50 storeys will have on the setting of nearby Victorian and Edwardian buildings, many of which are listed or in conservation areas.’