It's a big week for planning applications in the city this week. We'll be looking closely at the developments set to be decided on Thursday February 13th.

First up is the 36 storey, '211 Broad Street'. 

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IN FOCUS: 211 Broad Street





It's a big week for planning applications in the city this week. We'll be looking closely at the developments set to be decided on Thursday February 13th.

First up is the 36 storey, '211 Broad Street'. 


PLANNING RECOMMENDATION: Approval subject to safeguarding measures.

Taylor Grange Developments, a Birmingham based property developer, plan to construct a ‘super slender’ 36-storey block of 264 serviced apartments with hotel facilities, on land at 211 Broad Street.

The project goes to Planning Committee on the 13th of February.

It has been designed by Birmingham-based architectural practice, Glancy Nicholls Architects, with Court Collaboration as development manager.

The building will be 9.5m in width, 50.5m long, and whilst the building stands at 36 storeys tall, lift overruns and parapet level/crown feature will see the project reach 116.5m.

The project will see 33 storeys of serviced apartments with three floors of podium space intended for public retail, food and drink outlets, along with a residents' lounge and gym.

Artists Impressions by Glancy Nicholls Architects

FIRST UP: DEMOLITION

Today, the site is occupied by the unlisted Transport House and 117-118 Tennant Street at the rear. Both have been vacant since 2015 and will be not be retained.

Both have been fully assessed, with both concluded as having low importance of evidential value, and not holding any significance worthy of preservation.

Pictures by Graham Young; Birmingham Mail

'SUPER-SLENDER'

The proposal has, over time, evolved from 32 to 36 storeys, with Planning Officers welcoming the design, glass, and of course, the height, with a real belief that the proposal brings out the best out of the site.

And this certainly rings true. The narrow width of the site necessitates an efficient use of the land and represents a unique opportunity for a high density ‘super-slender’ tower to not only maximise the site, but to further enhance the Birmingham skyline.

Artist Impressions from Glancy Nicholls Architects

No parking provision is allocated; deemed acceptable by Planning Officers, due to the Midland Metro Westside Phase 2 tram extension arriving in 2021.

Whilst the potential hotel operator has no requirement for cycle parking, a guest could store one within the luggage area in their apartment, if needed. There will also be space within the back of house areas for the storage of a small number of bikes for staff.

THE FACADE 

A unitised facade system will take pride of place and give the building a glass box effect, thus maximising the views out of the window. It'll ooze simpleness.

No openable windows are proposed, so the architects have once again incorporated a slot vent system into their proposal.

The system allows fresh air in, and fresh air to go out. It will be incorporated into the spandrel panels on the glazing, which has been meticulously designed to minimise the impact on the facade.

EXTERNAL LIGHTING & SIGNAGE

The building will feature an two extra storeys of plant level, featuring potential integrated hotel signage and a crown feature - arguably the most visible element of the entire building.

The glazed middle, however, will not be externally lit but will instead rely on internal lighting from within the apartments. The crown will naturally hide the BMU unit (Building Maintenance Unit) and lift overruns.

This also has the potential to be visually permeable at night. Precedents include 610 Lexington Avenue, in New York City.

Artists Impression by Foster and Partners

ISSUES 

MODA and Cumberland House have expressed some issues to the project. Whilst there are no objections to the principle of development, they are concerned with a number of things:  

LIGHT: MODA & Cumberland House have objected on the basis that residents will suffer from a lack of it; a residents 'right to light'.

Cumberland consider that the unobstructed daylight enjoyed by Cumberland House for over 55 years is material to the hotel guest experience and constitutes a prescriptive right for their hoteliers.

Analysis provided indicates that 95% of The Mercian rooms with windows facing 211 pass the Average Daylight Factor test, with only 20 combined living rooms and kitchens falling short, but these have been assessed as kitchens.

PODIUM OVERSHADOWING:

"With the development of the 211 site, a large area of the podium does not receive more than 2 hours sunlight on the assessment date of 21 March. The additional effect of the current application proposal is a small area in the north eastern corner of the podium. Whilst there would be a loss of direct sunlight to the podium this would be mitigated by the improved wind microclimate as a result of 211 Broad Street. On balance, therefore I consider that there would be no significant adverse impact on the outdoor podium amenity area." - Planning Officer.

WIND:

A wind study has been meticulously conducted, with the conclusion that without 211, or the recently approved, 61-storey, 100 Broad Street, the Mercian podium is suitable for short periods of standing/sitting or strolling only. The introduction of 211 to the Mercian podium, would improve the wind environment, with only the introduction of 100 Broad Street having a minor impact.

"Furthermore the impact of 211 Broad Street building on the wind microclimate in its vicinity is low and pedestrian wind comfort should not be an issue. No mitigation measures are therefore needed." - Planning Officer.

BUILDABILITY:

Both Moda and Cumberland House have also objected on grounds that the confined size of the site would generate significant challenges to build. Solicitors acting for Moda and Cumberland House have since confirmed that they will not allow any cranes, equipment or materials to oversail their land, and as such the proposed development is not deliverable.

The applicants argue that buildability is not a material planning consideration for the purpose of determining this application. Nevertheless they have suggested that it would be possible for the crane to be located within the core, which will raise itself up as the core is constructed.

CONCLUSION

"The location of the development is suitable for a tall building and the proposed super slender tower would contribute to a cluster of building of well-designed tall buildings that would enhance the Westside quarter of the city centre and raise the quality of this section of Broad Street.

Moreover, the public benefits of the scheme outweigh any “less than substantial harm” to heritage assets. Whilst concerns of Moda and Cumberland House have been noted, the Planning Officer considers that the supporting technical studies are robust and that the proposed development would not have such significant adverse impacts to justify refusal.

Therefore, the development is acceptable subject to safeguarding conditions."

Recommendation: Approve subject to safeguarding conditions

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