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.