Planners at Birmingham City Council granted planning consent this week for a new 40 storey tower in the heart of Birmingham's entertainment district - the Broad Street Tower.
This was the second time the proposal was presented to the cities planning committee who originally deferred the application due to lack of appropriate information. Concerns were raised over the height of the tower and also the quality of materials used. However, developers Richardson Cordwell made revisions to the scheme addressing such concerns and with full backing from Birmingham International Airport (BIA) and the Commisions for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), the application passed committee and was granted full planning consent.
As part of the planning application, a Section 106 agreement was also drawn up which is thought to have included a contribution of close to £2,000,000 towards environmental improvements, expansion of the cities metro system and affordable housing.
The decision marks a defining moment for the future of the Birmingham skyline and the height limit on all tall buildings which was imposed across the country in 2003. However, the new yet unnamed tower exceeds the 242m AOD limit by nearly 40m and is the first of such towers to be approved by all parties involved. Richardson Cordwell produced an Aviation Analysis Report proving the tower did not have any detrimental affects to planes using BIA and along with close correspondence with the airport, BIA was convinced the scheme was appropriate for the location.
This follows on from BIA withdrawing its objections from the cities Arena Central Scheme in August and furthers speculation that both the city council and BIA are in talks to introduce a high-rise zone for the city as part of the inner ring-road masterplan currently being developed.
The tower will stand at 40 storeys and 133m making it the tallest building in the city, beating Beethams Holloway Tower by 11m. However, its location on part of a sandstone ridge running through the city centre will make it appear much more prominent and much taller.
It will contain 350 apartments and a 192 room hotel along with ancillary leisure uses. However, the helipad which was due to be located on top of the tower and would have been the cities first high-rise helipad was dropped due to safety concerns as part of the revised application.
Sources close to skyscrapernews.com have speculated Cordwell are optimistic in starting work on the scheme before the end of the year with construction starting early 07.
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