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Wed June 16 2021

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Jenrick approves £130m Digbeth scheme on appeal

9 Mar Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has approved plans for a £130m development in Birmingham in the face of significant local opposition.

The Camp Hill development is designed by architect Darling Associates
The Camp Hill development is designed by architect Darling Associates

Plans lodged by Eutopia Homes were rejected by Birmingham City Council because they conflicted with local rail expansion plans. Regional mayor Andy Street also opposed the application.

However, Robert Jenrick has overruled the local planning process on appeal to allow the city centre development of 480 homes, a hotel and commercial space to go ahead.

There is, however, no start date for construction yet.

The developer, Scott Hammond, who set up  Eutopia Homes in 2017, said that local councillors didn’t know what they were doing and lacked accountability.

“It is a shame that members of the planning committee forced a lengthy delay to important job creation and housing delivery, as well as expenditure of public funds at appeal,” he said. “Unfortunately planning committee members often make decisions without relevant training and against clear planning policy, with limited accountability for their decisions.”

He added: “Despite pledging to support growth with a brownfield-first agenda, it was disappointing to see mayor Andy Street lobby against this scheme which as acknowledged by the secretary of state and planning inspector as in a sustainable location suitable for the development proposed.”

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The £130m scheme, designed by architect Darling Associates, is formed of seven blocks ranging from three to 26 storeys in height, joined together by walkways. The tallest tower has 180 flats, which will sit alongside a further 300 homes for private rent. Five percent of the flats will be affordable.

The housing will be joined by an eight-storey, 167-bed hotel and nearly 16,000 sq ft of commercial space spread over a range of units.

The four-acre site on Camp Hill near Digbeth was acquired by Eutopia Homes and Chenavari Investment Managers in 2018 from Mucklow.

Eutopia Homes (not to be confused with the unrelated but similar sounding Project Etopia)  also has developments in the pipeline in Exeter and Salford incorporating a mix of build-to-rent and for-sale housing. All three developments are funded by Chenavari Investment Managers and have been designed by Darling Associates.

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