Developer HUB, in a joint application with National Express, has secured planning permission for a major mixed-use regeneration scheme in Digbeth, Birmingham, which will create a new live/work destination for the city.
The masterplan, by architects shedkm, will bring up to 2,000 new homes to the area including homes for sale, homes for rent and student accommodation. The new homes, creative workspace and a diverse mix of leisure and retail amenities will be linked by over 2 acres of public realm. The scheme will open up 200 metres of previously inaccessible canal frontage, drawing people into the area and uncovering its heritage through the creation of a new waterfront destination.
The 6-acre site, bordering the Grand Union Canal and close to the Duddeston Viaduct, is currently home to the West Midlands Travel central Birmingham bus garage. It lies at the heart of the Digbeth regeneration area, which is fast emerging as Birmingham’s leading creative and cultural quarter. HUB’s proposals are the first in a series of large planning applications that are seeking permission within Digbeth.
HUB has developed the scheme in collaboration with the local community, ensuring an outcome that works for both current and future residents and users. As well as incorporating a mix of affordable housing tenures, a proportion of ground floor units across the site will be allocated for affordable workspace, bringing activity to the area during working hours and providing studio spaces for many of the artists and makers for whom the area is known.
The site is less than 15-minutes’ walk from Birmingham city centre and will benefit from excellent connectivity via the Midland Metro Alliance tram east extension and the new HS2 station at Curzon Street, which is now under construction.
shedkm were the architects of the masterplan and produced a detailed application for the first phase of development, which also had design input from Glenn Howells and Maccreanor Lavington, with Periscope detailing the public realm. Shedkm has produced a series of design codes to inform the architecture within the masterplan. The codes will ensure what is built reﬂects Digbeth’s long industrial heritage, in robust materiality and footprint scale, while supporting a new community with good quality housing and bold architecture that is authentic and characterful.
Damien Sharkey, Managing Director at HUB, said: “Digbeth is a historic neighbourhood with a long industrial heritage that is now fast emerging as one of the UK’s most creative and lively places. We have worked very closely with the local authority, local community and other stakeholders over the past two years to ensure that our plans fully support the area’s long-term evolution, and we are excited to be moving forward with our first project in Birmingham.”
Adam Cook, UK Property Director at National Express, said: “We’re pleased to see the approval of this joint application, which represents a fantastic opportunity to support the regeneration of Digbeth in alignment with the National Express environment and property strategy to move to a zero emission bus fleet by 2030. This new development provides Digbeth with an exciting and vibrant destination and will allow our relocation to new efficient purpose built facilities outside of the city centre.”
Hazel Rounding, Director at shedkm, said: “shedkm have thoroughly enjoyed working in a collaborative manner with client, local authority and stakeholders of adjoining schemes on this significant vision for the future of Digbeth. We look forward to delivering a bold, characterful and thriving neighbourhood that breathes new life into the area as a crucial piece of urban regeneration.”
HUB concluded the development agreement with National Express in January 2019. Avison Young acted as planning consultant for HUB, with Vail Williams supporting National Express.