Detailed designs for Selly Oak scheme are approved by Council

The detailed designs for a major mixed-use development set to transform Selly Oak’s former Battery site have been approved by Birmingham City Council as Reserved Matters.

The Harvest Partnership, a joint venture between Land Securities and Sainsbury’s, originally received outline planning approval in autumn 2013 to regenerate the derelict industrial site into a new retail destination, anchored by a Sainsbury’s store.

Since then, The Harvest Partnership has further developed and consulted on the outstanding design details relating to the retail and student accommodation elements of the scheme, as well as the pedestrian and cycle routes. The Reserved Matters application, which had been recommended for approval, focussed on scale, layout, appearance, landscaping and access.

Whilst the retail element of the scheme has not altered significantly, the canal-side student accommodation’s footprint has been slightly reduced and its design has evolved into a series of three interlinked buildings, now separated from the adjacent Sainsbury’s store and set to become a gateway landmark for Selly Oak.

Design features include brick cladding, a spacious double height entrance area facing the canal and good disabled access, including 10 disabled parking spaces and spacious wheelchair-accessible studio flats.

Designed as a distinctive building in its own right, the new 70,000 sq ft Sainsbury’s store and restaurant will be located at first floor level, with ground floor ‘undercroft’ parking below. Sainsbury’s west facing façade will feature extensive glazing with timber panels, and the main entrance will be via a bright atrium hall with travelator, lifts and stairs.

The position of the entrance to Sainsbury’s service yard off Bristol Road is now slightly set back. The walls, which will be taller to provide roofing to contain sounds, will have a ‘wavy’ footprint and include patterned timber louvres up which planting will be encouraged to grow to provide a more natural look.

The terrace of shops will be fronted by a colonnaded arcade and built with good quality materials, such as ceramic tiles and timber cladding, whilst the areas outside the cafes and restaurants will accommodate terraces with outdoor seating. There will be two groups of 20 cycle bays at either end of the parade, as well as ample parking for over 860 cars.
The pedestrian access has altered slightly to allow cyclists to cross the site more easily, including along the greenway, a route reserved for the potential future (Lapal) canal link to Selly Oak Park.

The detailed design of the footbridge across the existing Worcester and Birmingham Canal and the former Goodman’s area are subject to future planning permissions
Chris Fleetwood, Development Director for Land Securities, said: “We’re delighted to have received planning approval for the detailed design of key elements of the scheme. The key themes of the development remain mostly unchanged, but the design of certain aspects has rightly evolved, taking into account feedback from consultees.

“With the remediation of the Battery site well underway, we are now looking forward to making a start on construction in 2016.”

The Life Sciences Campus development, which is being led by Birmingham City Council and is also subject to a separate planning application, will occupy the north of the site close to the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital.