Regal Tower Development – Report 5

Approval was given to the Regal Tower outline planning application at the Council’s Planning Committee Meeting on Thursday 23 April 2004 at 11 am.

This, the first application to be discussed, took 45 minutes (a rare occurrence). This in spite of the Chairman’s opening tongue-in-cheek challenge that the discussion of matters on the agenda should bear in mind that sandwiches had been ordered for 12 noon.

I soon learnt that one could not help ones self to a cup of coffee from the urn before the meeting opened. A lady attendant informed me of this when I tried and even though I suggested it was better beforehand than interrupt during the meeting, I still was not allowed. Five minutes later, on opening the meeting, the Chairman immediately proclaimed that attendees could help themselves to coffee….and one person so did!

There were posters showing artists images of the Regal Tower. I took a photo of one (above) which illustrates the scale of the tower compared to its existing neighbourhood buildings and represents a view from the South side of Broad Street.

Alan Stedall, on behalf of King Edwards Wharf Residents Association had registered a request to speak in opposition to the current application and was allowed the customary 3 minutes to put his case. Alan did this very ably on the grounds of  increase in traffic in the surrounding streets and insufficient parking facilities.  These two objections had  been registered by Alan previously at the last Ladywood Ward Committee Meeting which had sent a report to the Council Planners.

Cllr Ian Ward raised a number of questions on the Planning Report before the meeting largely about insufficient background information to support decisions reached by the Planning Officers. Replies to these questions were given by Warren Bellamy (BCC Transportation Dept) and Simon Hodge (BCC Planning Officer). It was obvious from the readiness of the responses that the questions were known to the BCC Officers prior to the meeting. Further research had been carried out as a result of Alan Stedall’s prior objections but Warren Bellamy informed the meeting that he was happy that the parking and traffic flow concerns were not substantiated by the research.

A vote was taken and the Planning Application was passed subject to a number of conditions being satisfied by the developer. The general view of the Planning Committee was that the Regal Tower was in line with BCC guidelines and policy for Birmingham’s future development.

For further information see Birmingham Post article.

Geoff Caine

6 thoughts on “Regal Tower Development – Report 5

  1. Andrew Palmer

    I would be interested to know which one of these objectors actually live anywhere near broad st, as for the loose comment about a building been a target for terrorism, please…..

    The building is important for the prosperity of the is only brummies who seem to want to object to progress..but when we look at poor inward investment as a result of poor traffic and transport infastructure or no office space , then this type of moaning is the very reason. years ago we had a chance of building a multi line metro system with trams running under the city centre..but due to objections then it was pulled.. boy how do we need it now. my advice to the ojectors..tough..we want the progress of birmingham…

  2. Alan Woodfield

    I agree with Geoff and Alan.

    Broad Street is already heavily congested in the evening especially. Even National Express have been changing the routes to avoid Broad Street.

    If this building does go ahead, it will dominate the skyline and could also be a target for terrorists.

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  5. Alan Stedall

    Geoff’s report above is an accurate and balanced report of the discussion that took place at the BCC Planning Commitee that day re Regal Tower.

    For my part I was diappointed but not suprised at the outcome. Three minutes was hardly sufficient to set out my objections in full. One key objection that was not picked up by the Commitee was that the traffic forecast, based on the SAS Radisson Hotel, was that just 36% of hotel visitors would arrive by car. Having taken the trouble to call five hotels on Broad Street, I was told c. 90-95% arrive by car or taxi. Hence I suggested that the hotel traffic volumes had been understated by a factor of more than 2.5. No member of the Committee picked up this point.

    My over-riding argument was that the Planning Committee acknowledged that the City Centre is currently subject to major traffic problems for which it presently lacks answers. Yet rather than focusing on resolving these problems it is choosing instead to add to them !

    It seems that the interests of local residents/rate-payers are considered secondary by BCC in their pursuit of iconic vanity; even if this results in Birmingham becoming known as the “sclerotic heart of England” in terms of traffic congestion.

    There remains a glimmer of hope, however. Rumour has it that the application was submitted with the intent of increaing the value of the plot of land by gaining planning permission and that there is no real serious intent to construct this monolith.

    We shall see !

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