Plan rejected for 42-storey tower above historic building

Councillors in Birmingham have unanimously rejected plans to build a 42-storey skyscraper on top of a Grade-II listed former hospital.

The proposal for the city centre site involved building 300 flats directly above the Grade II-listed former Royal Orthopaedic Hospital building in 80 Broad Street.

At a planning committee meeting yesterday Conservative councillor Gareth Moore branded the scheme as ludicrous.

He said: “This is utterly bonkers. The idea you can stick a 42-storey tower block over a Georgian mansion is ridiculous.”

Planning consultancy Marrons, acting on behalf of HJB Investments, submitted the plan which it said amounted to a “distinctive and innovative approach”.

It said that the proposal allowed for the retention and careful repurposing of a Grade II-listed building to bring it back into public use, while simultaneously creating a striking 42-storey landmark tower that contains much-needed housing to accommodate the city’s ever-growing population.

The historic building was last used as a nightclub and known as Islington Villa. Developers hoped to restore this and build a 134m tower for the rental flats, 20% of which would have been affordable.

Site history

By 1815, Islington Villa was owned by Rice Harris who, along with Owen Johnson and John Berry, established the Islington Glassworks in 1816. From 1842, 80 Broad Street became the new premises of the Birmingham Lying-in Hospital and Dispensary for the Diseases of Women and Children for Birmingham and the West Midlands Counties. By 1955, the building had been renamed the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.

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