Construction & regeneration
22 hours ago - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of One Centenary Way - May 2021 Update

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The building is rising to floor 5 and when complete will be one third up. Floors are being installed on the lower levels and the building is really imposing it's mass and shadow on the surrounding area. Lots of photos in this update covering April and up to 15th May 2021.

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5th April

10th April

11th April

17th April

21st April

1st May

15th May

All photography by Daniel Sturley

See more in the full Gallery here: One Centenary Way Construction Photography

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60 passion points
Classic Architecture
14 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

King Edward VI Aston School - founded in 1883

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Welcome to our first post of the Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham. We are starting with King Edward VI Aston School. Which is between Albert Road and Frederick Road in Aston, and close to Aston Hall & Park. Founded in 1883, it is a Boys Grammar School. The Girls Grammar School moved to Handsworth in 1911. The architect was J A Chatwin. They are on the same site today,

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King Edward VI Aston School

In 1883, 5 new Grammar Schools were founded as part of the Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham. One of them was King Edward VI Aston School. Located on a site between Albert Road and Frederick Road, it also goes down Upper Thomas Street. Not far from two entrances to Aston Hall & Park. This is the only school from the 1883 creation to remain on the same site to this day. It became a boys only school in 1911, when the girls school was moved to Handsworth, forming King Edward VI Handsworth School. The school is for boys aged 11 to 18. The architect was J A Chatwin.

Another building was opened in 1963 called Douglas House (after a Victorian villa had had been on the same site). It has since been extended, and was named the Watcyn Thomas Wing, after a former Welsh Rugby International who taught at the school for 37 years. It was opened in 2008 by Bob Simpson, and Aston Old Edwardian (what former pupils are called).

I noticed some building work going on near Upper Thomas Street (May 2021).

 

The photo of King Edward VI Aston School below was taken in September 2003 by Wikimedia Commons user Mdsalih. I only ever once went into the school around 1993-94, looking at Grammar Schools. I never put Aston as a choice, but ended up at my local comprehensive school after failing the 11+.

King Edward VI Aston School

 

All photos below are mine, taken on my most recent visit to Aston Hall & Park during May 2021.

Wasn't much to see from Upper Thomas Street, what with the building works, and double fences.

These views taken from Albert Road.

King Edward VI Aston School

Suprisingly the building isn't even Grade II listed. I didn't see a sign saying King Edward VI Aston School.

King Edward VI Aston School

Car parking from the residents of the houses opposite.

King Edward VI Aston School

There is some modern houses built to the left of the school on Albert Road.

King Edward VI Aston School

Heading onto Bevington Road, a quick look at Frederick Road. I once took this entrance to Aston Park about 5 years ago, although didn't really notice the school. The building below is probably Douglas House (of 1963), near the Aston Park Play Area.

King Edward VI Aston School

The 1883 buildings by J A Chatwin seen from Frederick Road. More modern houses, and cars parked by local residents.

King Edward VI Aston School

 

Look out soon for posts on King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools (Boys and Girls) and King Edward VI Five Ways School. Both schools which are no longer on their original sites. Camp Hill moved to Kings Heath, while Five Ways moved to Bartley Green.

See also my post on King Edward's School.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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0 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
10 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

In Memoriam by Luke Jerram at Aston Hall & Park

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After a week of rain and hail on and off. Finally some decent sunny weather on Sunday. So I travelled up by bus to Aston to see In Memoriam by Luke Jerram at Aston Hall & Park. It's a free open air tempoary art installation, in memory of those lost during the pandemic and in tribute to the NHS. On for a couple of weeks in May 2021.

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In Memoriam is a temporary artwork by artist Luke Jerram at Aston Hall & Park, for a couple of weeks in May 2021. They are made out of bed sheets, white and blue. In memory of those lost during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic, and in tribute to the NHS.

There is an NHS Covid-19 QR code to scan to check in while you are there and hand sanitiser.

Aston Hall opened at 11am, and I popped into the courtyard to have a coffee. After that a look around Lady Holte's Garden again. Nice decent spring like weather. Note that the actual hall itself is not open to the public at this time. A one way system into the courtyard (NHS Covid-19 QR codes to scan as you go in, and in the cafe).

 

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

 

Lady Holte's Garden

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

 

Bus: 65 or 67 to Lichfield Road (catch it from The Priory Queensway). Or 7 to Witton Road (catch it from Livery Street near Birmingham Snow Hill at Colmore Row).

Train to Aston or Witton station's (from Birmingham New Street).

Car parking is also available in Aston Park.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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70 passion points
Green travel
04 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

West Midlands Cycle Hire on High Street, Solihull

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Remember Boris Bikes in London (aka Santander Bikes)? Well our Metro Mayor Andy Street has brought them to the West Midlands. West Midlands Cycle Hire has bikes at various points around the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull. I saw some on the Solihull High Street not far from the Masons Arms Public House. Not spotted any in Birmingham yet.

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West Midlands Cycle Hire is already available in Coventry, Stourbridge, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield and Wolverhampton. The scheme will be coming to Birmingham, Sandwell and Walsall soon. To use it, you need to download the Beryl cycle hire app from the App Store or Google Play. Use the app to unlock the bike. Ride it, later dock it, and lock it.

Use this link for the station map.

 

In Solihull Town Centre, there is 5 docking points.

  1. Station Approach (near Solihull Station)
  2. Station Road
  3. Lode Lane (near Solihull Hospital)
  4. High Street (near the Masons Arms)
  5. Malvern & Brueton Park (not far from Park Road)

 

The only location I was aware of, was at the end of High Street in Solihull. Close to New Road and St Alphege's Church. Solihull Welcomes You! Safer, Stronger Solihull.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

This docking point on the High Street is close to The Masons Arms.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

As well as Hunters. Drury Lane to the left, leads to Mell Square.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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60 passion points
Transport
04 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Westside Metro extension from Hagley Road to Broad Street - Late April 2021 update

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With lockdown restrictions being eased, I was able to back on the bus again for the first time in around 4 months. Again got the no 1 bus to Harborne Road in Edgbaston, and walked around Highfield Road to the start of the Westside Metro extension outside of 54 Hagley Road. Pitstop at Starbucks, bit of rain, and had my coffee on the walk down Broad Street.

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A walk down Hagley Road and Broad Street on the morning of Thursday 29th April 2021. The third lockdown over the last four months meant I was unable to travel into the City Centre (other than by car). I did once pass this area in the car (as a passenger) going to and from Edgbaston Reservoir. But with lockdown restrictions being eased again, I'm able to ride trains and buses again. Got the no 1 to the Harborne Road terminus in Edgbaston, and walked down to Highfield Road (instead of taking the Morrisons shortcut). To get to the Hagley Road and walk towards Fifty4 Hagley Road.

 

Edgbaston Village

This is the site of what might be called Edgbaston Village Tram Stop, outside of Fifty4 Hagley Road (54 Hagley Rd).

Hagley Road Metro extension

There isn't much sign of a tram stop here, and they are still doing things around the tracks.

Hagley Road Metro extension

The site is just outside of Barclays Bank on the Hagley Road.

Hagley Road Metro extension

Heading to Starbucks Coffee for a drink, there is outdoor seating (not many tables and chairs).

Hagley Road Metro extension

I did initially sit at a table, but started to rain, so instead crossed over the road and continued on to Five Ways Island and Broad Street. Temporary traffic lights here.

Hagley Road Metro extension

 

Five Ways Tram Stop

Now on Broad Street, venues such as Cineworld and Pryzm have been closed since before the 2nd lockdown, and should be reopening by May 2021.

Broad St metro extension

The crossover point on Broad Street near Pryzm, towards The Bank and The Mercian.

Broad St metro extension

The other direction past Cineworld towards the Five Ways underpass, this leads to the Hagley Road in Edgbaston.

Broad St metro extension

Bishopsgate Street, between Pryzm and Cineworld, has new paving. I look forward to going back to the cinema. For me it's been all Netflix and Amazon Prime Video over the 3rd lockdown.

Broad St metro extension

The new Five Ways Tram Stop, with a view towards The Bank and The Mercian. Doesn't seem that long ago that you could get buses down here (more than 2 years ago now).

Broad St metro extension

Map showing the further extensions that are being built, including to Brierley Hill, Wolverhampton Station and the Eastside extension.

Broad St metro extension

Another look at Five Ways Tram Stop from Broad Street. In the direction of Five Ways Island.

Broad St metro extension

 

Brindleyplace Tram Stop

Continuing on along Broad Street. It was very quiet in the morning. The odd person or cyclist heading down here.

Broad St metro extension

Also the one person on a scooter. This was near The Bank and The Mercian.

Broad St metro extension

Some poles have been installed for the overhead cables on Broad Street.

Broad St metro extension

Approaching the site of Brindleyplace Tram Stop, I noticed the scaffolding on the left at Ten Brindleyplace, Willmott Dixon Interiors. Sainsbury's Local was open.

Broad St metro extension

Brindleyplace Tram Stop was outside of Nine Brindleyplace and Free Radio.

Broad St metro extension

Beyond Brindleyplace towards The Brasshouse and The Crown (Reflex The 80's Bar) and Coyote Ugly.

Broad St metro extension

Outside of The Solomon Cutler Free House was parked several Colas Rail vans. I think they were doing something near Library Tram Stop.

Broad St metro extension

Many of the Broad Street Walk of Stars were back on the pavement I noticed. Mostly the ones I've seen in the past.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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50 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
04 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Selly Oak Junction - a decades development of the Winding Hole site of the Lapal Canal

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A new public space has recently opened near the Worcester & Birmingham Canal in Selly Oak, at the Bristol Road. The site of the Winding Hole of the Lapal Canal restoration project (Dudley No. 2 Canal). When the new Selly Oak Shopping Park opened in late 2018, work started near the railway to build a new footbridge and area the public could enter. Historically the site of lime kilns.

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December 2009

A couple of days before Christmas Eve 2009, I headed to Selly Oak with my then bridge camera. Caught the Worcester & Birmingham Canal from the Bristol Road for the first time. Snow and ice on the water. To the left is the Battery Park site (later to be developed into Selly Oak Shopping Park). On the right was the former site of the Winding Hole of the Lapal Canal. This was Selly Oak Junction. Dudley No. 2 Canal used to join here, and would head to the left of this point.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The Birmingham Super Hospital (later to be named Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham) and the Selly Oak Bypass were under construction at the time. The hospital would open in 2010, and the bypass in 2011 (under the name of Aston Webb Boulevard). On the other side of the Bristol Road is Selly Oak Station.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

June 2011

Next to the Selly Oak Railway Bridge of 1931 on the Bristol Road, there also used to be this brick viaduct next to the existing Cross City Line. It was probably built in the 1870s, which resulted in two of the lime kilns that used to be on this site being levelled.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

For many years, the area to the left was overgrown with trees or shrubs. Clearance of the land began in 2012, and the unused viaduct was demolished by 2015.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

February 2013

A walk along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal in Selly Oak towards the Ariel Aqueduct and University of Birmingham.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

At the Bristol Road / Winding Hole site of the Lapal Canal, you could at the time see some land clearance, and the old graffitied buildings remaining. The brick viaduct was still there. This view to the Selly Oak Railway Bridge of 1931.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The original winding hole of the Lapal Canal, used to be around here. Two more years and the abandoned brick viaduct would be demolished.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Up ahead, a sign on the wall for www.lapal.org. The current website is www.lapalcanal.co.uk

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Not sure of the age of these derelict buildings, but they were all covered in graffiti and had broken windows.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Some of them had metal walls and roofs.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

These two would be demolished in the following years to come.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The Cross City Line was behind, as well as the Selly Oak Electricity Substation building (near the Bournbrook Skate Park).

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

May 2015

The brick viaduct of the 1870s was demolished by 2015, and the hole site was cleared.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

You can now see the Cross City Line viaduct from the Bristol Road in Selly Oak for the first time in years.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

All the overgrowth was cut down, the derelict buildings demolished, as well as the removal of the unused viaduct.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

June to October 2018

Construction of the new Selly Oak Shopping Park began in the autumn of 2017, and would be completed a year later in the autumn of 2018. This would include a new Sainsbury's store, as well as a Unite Students accommodation block. In June 2018, I saw this temporary builders footbridge crossing the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, from the Winding Hole site to the Shopping Park site.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Another look, but this time from the no 61 bus (top deck) on the Bristol Road, during October 2018. In a matter of weeks, the new Selly Oak Shopping Park and Sainsbury's would open to the public for the first time. A more permanent footbridge would be built at this site in 2020. And there would also be a new canal entrance built from the Bristol Road in 2019 as well.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

August to October 2019

A new entrance and footbridge being built near the Bristol Road, Sainsbury's and Unite Students accommodation. Seen here during August 2019. Before then, you had to walk the long way around to the Selly Oak Shopping Park to Aston Webb Boulevard.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The new bridge would also be above the future tunnel of the Lapal Canal that would go under the new Sainsbury's in Selly Oak.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

A visit to the Selly Oak Shopping Park during October 2019. The temporary footbridge from 2018 is gone.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The new footbridge over the entrance to the Lapal Canal was now open, and fully landscaped around the Unite Students accommodation. Winding Hole site on the far right all behind hoardings.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

One day in the future, those who built and restore the Lapal Canal will have to dig up the surface below this new footbridge.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

This is now a quick and easy route from the Bristol Road and Selly Oak Station to get to the Selly Oak Shopping Park. And more safer than the old canal entrance from Selly Oak (down The Dingle near a 2nd hand car showroom).

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

January to October 2020

First year of the pandemic. In January 2020 I went to Selly Oak to go into the new Sainsbury's. While there got these views. This area near the new footbridge at Bristol Road, next to the old bridge over the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

A West Midlands Railway Class 323 train on the Cross City Line, as work was under way at the Winding Hole site of the Lapal Canal.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Blue hoardings on the left, as during 2020, the new permanent footbridge would be built at the site. Seems like plenty of activity at the time on the other side of the canal.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

Views from the no 63 bus on the Bristol Road in Selly Oak, taken during February 2020. The footbridge over the start of the Lapal Canal near Sainsbury's at the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

This would be the last time I would pass the Worcester & Birmingham Canal in Selly Oak before the first lockdown started about a month later. You can see the route of the Lapal Canal, that it will go in the future (after restoration). Part of the existing towpath would have to go, and people would have to cross over the footbridge.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

After the first lockdown, restrictions were being eased by summer 2020. During August 2020, I walked a section of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, and saw the new footbridge under construction from the Selly Oak Shopping Park, to the Winding Hole site to the right.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Both sides had ramps and steps that the builders were installing here. The original pipe bridge and railway bridge were still behind.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The new ramps and steps on the Winding Hole side of the canal.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Saw a West Midlands Railway Class 170 train passing in orange and white. These trains are now in purple, before they are transferred onto East Midlands Railway.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The ramps and steps on the side of the canal near the Selly Oak Shopping Park.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

General canal view of the new footbridge as of August 2020.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

One more view of the new footbridge during October 2020, days before the 2nd lockdown began. This was from a Stirchley to Selly Oak canal walk that I did at the time. Wouldn't be back here again under after the 3rd lockdown restrictions were being eased during Spring 2021.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

April 2021

The third lockdown from January 2021, meant I couldn't travel back to Selly Oak on public transport until April 2021. Got the train down to Bournville and walked up via Linden Road and Oak Tree Lane on the 24th April 2021. Walked down the Bristol Road, and got this view of the area as it is now. What a transformation!

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

It was completed in either late 2020 or early 2021. The grass on the right is where the winding hole of the Lapal Canal will be (once restored). But they will have to dig that all out.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Metal fence along the Bristol Road, as I headed down to the entrance.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

There is bollards close to where the old viaduct used to end, until it was demolished more than 6 years ago.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

This is the first time I think the area has been opened up to the public. From 1842 until 2000 it was the site to Goodman's, a successful builders merchant.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The area was also known as Whitehouse's Wharf. Selly Oak Junction opened here in 1798. The canal basin on this site was filled in during the 1940s. Sign in the middle all about the history and of the lime kilns that used to be here.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Heading to the footbridge, the ramps on the right, steps on the left.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Before going onto the ramps, saw this Cross Country Voyager train heading south over the Cross City Line viaduct bridges.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

I went up half of the ramps, before going up the rest of the way up the steps.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The view from the top of the ramps. Hard to believe what a mess this site was a decade ago.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Crossing the footbridge to the Selly Oak Shopping Park. Sainsbury's on the left.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

View from the footbridge, look how nice, clean and tidy the area is now. More work of course in the future for the Lapal Canal restoration. Will take a long time to reach Dudley again.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

After a drink at Costa Coffee (sat on a bench outside of Sainsbury's). I headed back to the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, to get a train back to Birmingham New Street from Selly Oak.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

View of the winding hole site. Looks nice with the grass, but that will have to go when they dig down to restore it in the future.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

One last look, before crossing Bristol Road, to get my train back to the City Centre. People with bikes can cycle all the way from here if they want to.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
29 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

NEW 25 STOREY FOR THE GUN QUARTER GETS THE GREEN LIGHT

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Regeneration of the Gun Quarter has taken another major step forward with the approval of a three-block development, with the tallest set to top 25 storeys.

53-68 Princip Street, at the corner of Lancaster Street & Princip Street, will see the creation of 337 rented homes 
on a main thoroughfare into Birmingham City Centre.

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TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

The site is being brought forward by Load Estates Ltd (Taylor Grange), with the aim of delivering a sustainably viable PRS (Private Rented Sector) development in three builds of 6, 11 & 25 storeys.

All three buildings will be grouped around courtyard gardens, providing high-quality landscaped amenity spaces.

Shared communal facilities, totalling 551sqm, will be prominent at ground floor level, each containing a reception area & lounge space; coupled with a games room, ‘WFH’ office space, gym, shared kitchen & dining areas.

Despite concerns raised that the development would impact heritage assets, they (officers & planning committee) concluded that ‘the public benefits of the scheme outweighed any harm identified.

The present site, which includes vacant unlisted 20th-century industrial premises, a substation, car park & a pair of semi-detached HMO dwellings, can now be safely demolished.

Despite the approval, removal of the vacant former Turner Machine Tools Building, a non-designated heritage asset, caused Historic England to voice deep concerns that the loss would further eliminate the area’s proud heritage. Councillors could not muster up a remark regarding its loss.

IMAGE: Turner Machine Tools/ Roger Marks, Flickr.

Once developed, apartments will range in size from 40- 80sqm and will see 146 one & 196 two-bedroom homes, created - providing a healthy mix of one, two, three & four-person accommodation.

16 of these apartments (4.7%) will be offered for affordable private rent—this is what the applicant can offer without rendering the development unviable.

To proceed, a S106 legal agreement will need to be agreed to secure these affordable homes into the scheme. 

BLUE-BRICKED 25 STOREY

The tallest block will feature a curved, blue-bricked 25 storey that will occupy a prominent corner facing onto both Princip Street & Lancaster Street. The others, at 6 & 11 storeys, will be predominately red-bricked.

Each block will provide activity at ground floor level and duplex units to enhance overlooking of the street frontages.

THE CHANGING FACE OF GQ

The cityscape around the area has changed significantly in recent years, helped by the publication of High Places document in 2003, with derelict sites around the canal and along Lancaster Street and Newtown Row continuing to be developed with residential & student accommodation—reaching upwards of 25 storeys.

All renderings are the property of Glancy Nicholls Architects.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
28 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Two Major New Offices for Upper Gough Street

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ANOTHER exciting regeneration scheme for Birmingham with the delivery of two new office builds on Upper Gough Street.

The 20,005 sqmscheme, which will further encourage wider regeneration, will provide commercial units, a new public realm, an extension of Chapmans Passage, and a shared car park.

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TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

The significant development has been brought forward by Lambert Smith Hampton & Holland Lloyd, on belhalf of City Realty.

Designed by Corstorphine + Wright, the site offers a golden opportunity to introduce a landmark office building to the area, whilst integrating Peace Gardens with a new passageway, connecting with the existing Chapmans Passageway.

This new landscaped route, designed by Fira, will dissect both builds and will provide a fluid link from Chapmans Passage, directly to the Peace Gardens, offering landscaping areas and seating for pedestrians and occupants en-route.

The larger of the two blocks will contain rooftop gardens at the upper level providing occupants with scenic views across the city.

Influenced in its materiality by the historic Grade II listed, Church of St. Thomas, it'll be constructed in buff brindle brick, with concrete faced columns and perforated panels.

The smaller block will feature glazed red brick, angled protruding windows and louvred panels - it has been designed to take into consideration the existing 93-99 Holloway Head, which will likely be converted as part of wider redevelopment plans.

A shared car park will be provided within the basement of the taller block, accessed off Marshall Street. It'll feature a range of lockers and showering facilities, alongside vertical cycle racks, 20 car parking & electric vehicle bays.

FUTURE REDEVELOPMENT PLOTS:

All images are the property of Corstorphine + Wright Architects

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Transport
27 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

EasyJet planes in and around Birmingham

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One of the main budget airlines to still serve Birmingham Airport to this day is EasyJet. Using Airbus A319, A320 or A321 planes. You can spot them taking off from the Sheldon Country Park airport viewing area. Also visible in the sky from Solihull, Stechford and Bordesley Green. Once also saw some EasyJet's at Lyon Airport (in France), back in 2017.

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easyJet

EasyJet is a low cost airline with headquarters at London Luton Airport. They fly to routes all over Europe. The entire fleet was grounded when the Pandemic began in March 2020, but they have been flying again since that time. You can see them at Birmingham Airport, as well as taking off and landing there over the City.

 

The first time I flew on a plane was with EasyJet. But it was from East Midlands Airport to Rome back in June 2006 (15 years ago now!). Have not flown with them since.

 

EasyJet, November 2016

A bit of plane spotting at the Sheldon Country Park during November 2016. Caught this EasyJet Airbus A319-100 landing at Birmingham Airport on runway 15.

Easyjet

I saw it exit the runway and beginning to taxi back to the terminal building.

Easyjet

Distant car park to the far left, and the spire of St Peter's Church, Bickenhill.

Easyjet

There was so many cars in the car park behind the EasyJet plane. Car Park 5 is also a good area for spotting planes.

Easyjet

 

EasyJet, March 2017

By the spring, headed to the Sheldon Country Park again for another plane spotting session, this time in the sunshine. Saw this EasyJet Airbus A320-200 taxiing as it prepared to take off over runway 15.

EasyJet

Zooming in, the plane and the area around it looked all hazy on my camera, probably going well beyond optical zoom into digital zoom.

EasyJet

The plane was now on the runway about to take off over the Sheldon Country Park. It was heading from Birmingham to Geneva in Switzerland.

EasyJet

 

EasyJet, June 2017

Arriving on a Flybe plane at Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport in Lyon, France for a holiday around the historic Burgundy area, saw this EasyJet plane. It was a Airbus A319-100.

EasyJet

About a week later at the end of the holiday (around Burgundy) got this photo of this EasyJet plane. Another Airbus A319-100.

EasyJet

From the Flybe plane window I saw this EasyJet Airbus A320-200.

EasyJet

 

EasyJet, January 2018

Back in Birmingham, was waiting for a train at Stechford Station when I spotted this EasyJet Airbus A320-200 plane coming into land at Birmingham Airport. In the new livery, that I first saw at Lyon 6 months earlier.

Easyjet

 

EasyJet, February2018

One month on, was at platform 4 at Birmingham International Station, when I spotted this EasyJet Airbus A320-200 taking off from Birmingham Airport.

Easyjet

 

EasyJet, April 2018

Another EasyJet plane spotted from my walk to Catherine-de-Barnes in Solihull. This was during a Grand Union Canal walk from Solihull to Catherine-de-Barnes. Saw it from Hampton Lane. Was another Airbus A320-200.

Easyjet

 

EasyJet, July 2020

The first passenger plane that I spotted in the air, after almost 5 months of the 1st lockdown. Early on I saw a Jet2 plane from Fox Hollies Park (March 2020, days after the lockdown began). Then by July, had another walk to Langley Hall Park, and spotted this EasyJet Airbus A320-200 from Hall Green near the Fox Hollies Road. I'm not sure what kind of passengers would have been travelling with them.

EasyJet

 

EasyJet, April 2021

Not seen any passenger planes in the sky in ages. Now in the third lockdown. Spotted this EasyJet Airbus A321neo from the Sycamores Recreation Ground in the Kingfisher Country Park. International travel is currently not allowed (for holidays), so perhaps it's business people, or people flying to Northern Ireland? Hopefully with more restrictions being eased, International travel for holidays could be allowed again in the summer of 2021. Fingers crossed.

EasyJet

 

Look out in the future for posts on Jet2 and RyanAir.

 

If you are interested in more planes at Birmingham Airport posts click on the links below to view:

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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50 passion points
Green travel
27 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

New blue cycle lane from Selly Oak Triangle up the Bristol Road

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The final phase of extending the Selly Oak Bypass is now complete. Harborne Lane has been bi-directional to traffic since the end of October 2020, and it seems that Chapel Lane is the same. The blue cycle lane runs past the former Sainsbury's store. Beyond that is red and white bollards past the new Sainsbury's close to Selly Oak Station and the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

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New Blue Cycle Lane from Selly Oak Triangle along the Bristol Road

The work to extend the Selly Oak Bypass to the Bristol Road was completed at the end of 2020. A new blue cycle lane has been installed that runs down the side of the former Sainsbury's store (the plans for student flats were thankfully rejected).

 

Harborne Lane at Selly Oak Triangle

From Oak Tree Lane and Bristol Road in Selly Oak, you can see that traffic now goes in both directions, where as before it was one way. The ambulance was crossing from Oak Tree Lane to Harborne Lane.

Selly Oak Triangle

The start of the new blue cycle lane at Selly Oak Triangle. Lots of new traffic lights and lampposts, no benches or trees at this point.

Selly Oak Triangle

Part of the cycle lane comes from Harborne Lane.

Selly Oak Triangle

 

Bristol Road towards Chapel Lane

There is a new bus lane that goes from Harborne Lane onto the Bristol Road. The bus stops have been moved to outside of the former Sainsbury's store.

Selly Oak Triangle

Crossing over the bus lane. It all looks nice and new. Not sure if any cyclist has used it yet.

Selly Oak Triangle

There is still trees growing in front of the former Sainsbury's store. Re-located bus stops on the right.

Selly Oak Triangle

New young trees have been planted down here. Let's hope that they last and have a chance to grow.

Selly Oak Triangle

Frankie & Benny's ahead at the Chapel Lane junction with the Bristol Road, sadly closed down in 2020 during the previous lockdowns.

Selly Oak Triangle

 

Chapel Lane at the Bristol Road junction

At the Chapel Lane junction with the Bristol Road. Before this was one way, but it is now bi-directional as well. Speed limit of 20 mph. Former Frankie & Benny's restaurant on the right.

Selly Oak Triangle

 

Bristol Road beyond Chapel Lane

No longer bus stop outside of the ex Frankie & Benny's. But there is some new cycle racks. TouchBase Pears up ahead on the right.

Selly Oak Triangle

The pop up cycle lane that is now on the Bristol Road in Selly Oak near TouchBase Pears. Up ahead is the new Sainsbury's and Unite student accommodation at the Selly Oak Shopping Park.

Selly Oak Triangle

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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70 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
22 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Bartley Reservoir in Bartley Green

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In Bartley Green is located Bartley Reservoir. It is on Genners Lane at the retaining wall (dam) and Scotland Lane. Completed in 1930, the reservoir is now operated by Severn Trent Water. It receives water from the Elan Valley Reservoirs in Wales, which comes from the nearby Elan Aqueduct. The reservoir is also home to Bartley Sailing Club. And is close to King Edward VI Five Ways School.

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Bartley Reservoir

You can get to Bartley Reservoir on the no 18 bus, that goes past Newman University, and can get off near Genners Lane. On Scotland Lane there is a picnic area and some car parking spaces. But you could also park a bit further down, close to King Edward VI Five Ways School. Other nearby bus routes include the 23.

My visits during December 2015 (by bus) and March 2021 (by car).

 

Bartley Reservoir, December 2015

Getting off the no 18 bus on Genners Lane in Bartley Green, I was eager to try out my then new bridge camera (which I'm still using today over 5 years later). Could see the retaining wall (or dam) at Bartley Reservoir on the left.

Bartley Reservoir

It was very windy at the time, so the water on Bartley Reservoir was a bit choppy due to Storm Desmond.

Bartley Reservoir

The direct view of the reservoir from Genners Lane. It was like the tide was coming in.

Bartley Reservoir

Between the retaining wall on Genners Lane and the water was a fence on the left. In the distance you can see Newman University.

Bartley Reservoir

Distant fields showing you that the reservoir is close to the countryside.

Bartley Reservoir

More of the same views of the reservoir as I walked up Genners Lane.

Bartley Reservoir

A bit of a zoom in to the fields to the back of the reservoir.

Bartley Reservoir

Halfway down there is a bench where you can sit and watch the reservoir. Bird watching perhaps, or on days when members of Bartley Sailing Club are out on the water?

Bartley Reservoir

The far end of the retaining wall (or dam).

Bartley Reservoir

It was very windy that day at Bartley Reservoir, this was to the north west corner.

Bartley Reservoir

One last look at the reservoir from the end of the retaining wall.

Bartley Reservoir

 

Small Tower at Bartley Reservoir

Saw this small tower from Genners Lane, behind it was Bartley Sailing Club. The gate was locked.

Bartley Reservoir

I would guess it would have something to do with the water coming from the Elan Valley in Wales.

Bartley Reservoir

Only Severn Trent staff can go down that bridge I would think.

Bartley Reservoir

The gate was locked, and was danger signs, also No swimming allowed.

Bartley Reservoir

 

Bartley Sailing Club 

I've yet to see any of the boats out on the reservoir, that day it was too windy due to Storm Desmond!

Bartley Reservoir

There is a sailing club house on the right.

Bartley Reservoir

Steps below the sailing club, and somewhere for members to climb into their boats (but not in this weather of course).

Bartley Reservoir

There was a lot of yachts on dry land.

Bartley Reservoir

From Genners Lane there was an open gate, and I could see some of the boats nearby.

Bartley Reservoir

 

Bartley Reservoir, March 2021

More than 5 years later, back to Bartley Reservoir, but by car this time. We went around Scotland Lane, and parked just beyond King Edward VI Five Ways School. Then walked along the road towards the Picnic Area. Where there would be some nice views of the reservoir.

Bartley Reservoir

A sign warning fly tippers. Sadly I saw a lot of rubbish and fly tipping alongside Scotland Lane at this point, even with CCTV camera's they are still doing it!

Bartley Reservoir

First view of Bartley Reservoir from near the picnic area.

Bartley Reservoir

There would be a path to head down in a short while.

Bartley Reservoir

Block of flats seen on the other side of the reservoir. The retaining wall (dam) and small tower seen to the far left.

Bartley Reservoir

There was a fence at the bottom of the field near the picnic area.

Bartley Reservoir

Zooming into some buoys, with gulls in the distance, they weren't close to the banks of the reservoir, just in the middle.

Bartley Reservoir

The general direction to Frankley Reservoir. At least one of the roads in this area was having roadworks, but you can't get to close to Frankley Reservoir on foot.

Bartley Reservoir

This tree at the picnic area, had things taped to it, some memorial to someone who passed away?

Bartley Reservoir

A zoom in to the small tower at the retaining wall (dam).

Bartley Reservoir

Leaving the picnic area behind, we walked back up Scotland Lane, how heading towards Senneleys Park. Saw this view between the trees.

Bartley Reservoir

From Scotland Lane, went down Field Lane, and got to Genners Lane. Went past King Edward VI Five Ways School and Newman University. Got to Bartley Sailing Club when I saw this boat with fangs on it!

Bartley Reservoir

A quick look at Bartley Reservoir from Genners Lane near the retaining wall (dam). Before heading up Cromwell Lane towards Senneleys Park.

Bartley Reservoir

It hasn't changed much in more than 5 years, other than the water was much calmer.

Bartley Reservoir

Still fences around the north west corner of the reservoir close to the retaining wall.

Bartley Reservoir

Areas for launching yachts and boats close to Bartley Sailing Club.

Bartley Reservoir

One last look at the retaining wall and Genners Lane, before walking up Cromwell Lane towards Senneleys Park.

Bartley Reservoir

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
22 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

OCTAGON: World's Tallest Octagonal Skyscraper Set For Approval

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Octagon is the world's tallest pure octagonal residential tower - and it's set to dominate the Birmingham skyline!

Plans go to Planning Committee on the 29th of April, at 11 am, with approval recommended.

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Located within the highly sustainable Paradise Birmingham site, this original build to rent skyscraper will soar to 49 storeys tall (155m/ 510ft) and with it, will set a barometer for healthy, sustainable and quality new homes for the city.

The building will stand tall and proud as a signpost for the city, making the most of its location on the Birmingham ridge - a line of higher ground that stretches from Snow Hill to Five Ways along Colmore Row and Broad Street.

It'll provide 370 high-quality spacious one, two & three-bedroom apartments in a mixture of 218 one-bed (two persons), 144 two-bed (four persons) & 8 three-bedroom (six persons) units, with apartment sizes healthily ranging from 51.3- 115 sqm. 

PUREST FORM - A WORLD'S FIRST

Designed by Birmingham-based architects, Glenn Howells, with landscaping coming from global landscaping firm, Grant Associates, Octagon will feature eight identical facades - conveying the purest octagonal form, with the building's frame punctuated by large horizontal windows opening up apartments to panoramic views of the city. 

With Council House, Alpha Tower, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG), and the Grade-I listed, Town Hall, all within close distance, the 'light champagne' finished exterior will give off a warm tone to reflect its grandiose surroundings, and this will also be echoed in the Octagon's subtle backlit crown, too.

30 affordable rented units are included, equating to just over 8% of the total number of apartments.

AMENITIES, RETAIL & CYCLES

Profiting from a triple-height glazed base, lower & upper ground floors floorspace will be home to retail, amenity, leisure and residential entrance spaces.

Amenities will comprise dining/ café, lounge areas, live/work meeting space, and wellness hub/gym supporting opportunities for healthy and active lifestyles.

Crucially, the new vibrant space will open up to a landscaped courtyard within Paradise - ultimately driving footfall through the evolving development. 

Zero car parking spaces will be provided, however, four accessible spaces will be situated at ground level alongside an on-site cycle store containing 225 storage spaces.

A 550-space car park will be provided within the wider Paradise masterplan.

'PUBLIC BENEFITS'

The principle of development has been supported from the getgo, with the belief that Octagon is too good an opportunity to pass up on.

'Furthermore, the public benefits of the scheme demonstrably outweigh the less than substantial harm caused to the setting of nearby heritage assets. It is therefore considered that the development application is acceptable subject to completion of an s106 legal agreement and safeguarding conditions.' - Birmingham City Council Planning Officers.

DEMOLITION

77 Paradise Circus Queensway currently stands in the way of progression - this will be demolished and has been earmarked for a 2021 removal date once a contractor has been formally tendered & announced.

All renderings are the property of Glenn Howells Architects.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
19 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Digbeth Fun Fair

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With restrictions being eased, a fun fair has opened in Digbeth. Located at Charles Henry Street and Moseley Street. Digbeth Fun Fair is also near Birchall Street (in walking distance of the Custard Factory and the Bullring). Opened on the 12th April 2021. Open daily from 1pm to 10pm. Only groups of six in social bubbles can attend. From the people behind Ice Skate Birmingham.

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Digbeth Fun Fair opened on Monday 12th April 2021. In time for more restrictions being eased in the middle of Spring 2021. Just as people can go back to bars and restaurants (at the moment eating and drinking outside). The Fun Fair in Digbeth is located on wasteland at the corner of Moseley Street and Charles Henry Street (close to Highgate and towards Southside). You can approach it from the Custard Factory by walking up Birchall Street. It is also near Alcester Street, which connects you to Sherlock Street (if coming from Southside).

Due to the lockdowns and Tiered restrictions, Ice Skate Birmingham was cancelled in 2020 (it would have taken place around November 2020 to January 2021 at Centenary Square, but it didn't happen). Ice Skate Birmingham was based at Centenary Square until 2016, then at Eastside Green for 2017 and 2018, before moving back to Centenary Square in 2019.

So Digbeth Fun Fair is about 6 months later than the last Ice Skate Birmingham could have opened (but without the ice rink). Many of the rides here have featured at the previous events.

 

The approach from Birchall Street past The Market Tavern on Saturday 17th April 2021.

Digbeth Fun Fair

Digbeth Fun Fair

Digbeth Fun Fair

Digbeth Fun Fair

 

Digbeth Fun Fair seen at the corner of Charles Henry Street and Moseley Street.

Digbeth Fun Fair

 

The views below all taken from Charles Henry Street.

Wild Mouse was last seen at Ice Skate Birmingham on Eastside Green in 2017-18.

Digbeth Fun Fair

 

Welcome - I recall seeing this at a previous fun fair that was near Curzon Street Station in a car park about 10 years ago (now where the HS2 station will be built).

Digbeth Fun Fair

 

The Big Wheel and Sky Flyer. They were last seen in Centenary Square around 2019-20.

Digbeth Fun Fair

 

A ride called Extreme. View towards the Beetham Tower and Centre City Tower. 

Digbeth Fun Fair

 

Wild Mouse and The Big Wheel back together again.

Digbeth Fun Fair

 

Wild Mouse and the Sky Flyer.

Digbeth Fun Fair

 

The Big Wheel with the Wild Mouse and Sky Flyer.

Digbeth Fun Fair

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
15 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Birmingham Health Innovation Campus Approved

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Birmingham Health Innovation Campus (BHIC) is set to become a world-leading life sciences campus after a hybrid application was approved by Birmingham City Council.

Full Planning was comprehensively granted for No.1 BHIC, together with outline consent for upcoming plots 2-5.

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Opening in 2023, the first phase will see the delivery of a 130,000 sq ft state-of-the-art office & research development building–positioned to the east of Aston Webb Boulevard and the west of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal–providing a high-quality cluster for health excellence, including biopharma, medtech, precision medicine and genomics.

Designed around the notion of an 'ordered bookshelf, it will become home to the University of Birmingham's Precision Health Technologies Accelerator (PHTA) for start-ups, providing incubation space, wet and dry labs, clean rooms, prototyping and maker space.

This will offer close, direct access to the University's clinical trials ecosystem and research capabilities, and will provide a flawless setting to scale ground-breaking innovations for rapid adoption into the healthcare system.

Support facilities will see a ground floor café space, events and meeting spaces, with a central green parkland & pond, a temporary surface level car park for 258, motorcycle parking for five & outdoor spaces for 60+ cycles.

Pedestrian & cycle links will, too, be formed, alongside the formation of a new spine road connection to the Queen Elizabeth Island roundabout.

BIRMINGHAM HEALTH INNOVATION CAMPUS

The 10-year masterplan is being brought forward between the University of Birmingham, as landowner, and Bruntwood SciTech, in partnership with Birmingham Health Partners (University of Birmingham, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust & Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust). 

BHIC will become the regions only dedicated health and life sciences park, providing pioneering facilities within the heart of a cluster of healthcare excellence, bringing together researchers, clinicians, policy makers and industry to rapidly translate scientific and clinical insights into patient benefit and economic growth.

It is projected that up to 10,000 new jobs will be created, alongside the delivery of an extra (Plots 2-5) 700,000 sq ft state-of-the-art lab, office and incubation space acting as a catalyst for the growth of the Midlands’ life sciences sector.

PHASES 2-5

Five new buildings of up to eight storeys are reserved for future phases, with a 1333 space multi-storey car park (MSCP) integrated for good measure.

These builds could well see innovative health and life sciences businesses take up pre-lets or co-locate at the heart of the BHP ecosystem. The potential is enormous.

All images are the property of Sheppard Robson.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
15 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Approval For 51 Storey One Eastside

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51-storey (525 ft) One Eastside has been approved again—four months after the previous consent was quashed for failing to mention an objection in its original report.

The landmark Court Collaboration development can finally get underway, subject to a Section 106 legal agreement.

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One Eastside will deliver three builds containing a 2, 16 (51m) & a 51 storey (155.145m) skyscraper on vacant brownfield land at the corner of Jennens Road and James Watt Queensway, comprising 667 one- and two-bedroom apartments, and a two-storey courtyard pavilion.

With its minimalist white fluted appearance, complete with deep reveals & modern yet classic grid design, Glancy Nicholls’ One Eastside design will immediately become the largest structure in the city, conquering top spot and knocking BT Tower (151m) - who’s held that mantle for over fifty years - off its perch and into second.

357 PRS one & 310 two-bedroom open-plan apartments will be provided, with sizes ranging from 38.2-71.36 sqm. Twenty apartments will be allocated for ‘affordable housing’ and these will be available at 20 per cent below local market value in perpetuity.

All three buildings, including the pavilion, will feature a high quality range of residential amenity in the form of co-working spaces, cafe/retail areas, meeting rooms, lounges, roof terrace, residents’ lounge, games room and private dining areas.

An expansive 3,200 square metre landscaped courtyard garden will be positioned between both towers, supporting yet more amenity space.

No car parking provision has been allocated given the location of the development; however, this will be mitigated with 132 secure cycle spaces.

The development was not without its objections. LaSalle Investment & The Victorian Society, once again, objected on the basis that the site would diminish key heritage buildings such as Curzon Street station, Methodist Central Hall and Victoria Law Courts - despite the former funding a building next door that dwarfs most of these.

Planning officers, recommending the scheme for approval before the committee meeting, accepted that, yes, a 51 storey would naturally harm one's surroundings but, with full objections & worries fully assessed, the substantial wider public benefits were considered to outweigh the harm from any such impacts.

PAVILION GYM: To be constructed in a ceramic green gloss metal with transparent and opaque glass.

One Eastside was approved 12-0.

All images are the property of Glancy Nicholls Architects & Fira Landscape.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Green open spaces
14 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

A walk in the Kingfisher Country Park from Hay Mills to Bordesley Green on Easter Sunday 2021

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This was an Easter Sunday walk in the Kingfisher Country Park. Starting from the Coventry Road in Hay Mills. And walking as far as Bordesley Green (not far from Stechford). The Cole Valley Route in Hay Barn Recreation Ground, Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground, Sycamores Recreation Ground and Bordesley Green Recreation Ground. Sadly was a lot of litter to see along the River Cole.

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The Kingfisher Country Park starts in Birmingham from the Coventry Road in Hay Mills. Not far from Small Heath and Haybarnes Circus. This is part of the Cole Valley Route that walkers and cyclists alike can use. Sadly as soon as we got here on Easter Sunday 2021 (Sunday 4th April 2021) I could see litter, rubbish and fly-tipping all over the place (it was not nice to see how people treat our City and wonderful open spaces).

The walk was through four recreation grounds that follow the River Cole.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground starts at the Coventry Road in Hay Mills and ends at Hob Moor Road.

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground starts at Hob Moor Road and ends at Yardley Green Road in Bordesley Green.

Sycamores Recreation Ground starts at Yardley Green Road and ends at Bordesley Green East.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground starts at Bordesley Green East and ends at Eastfield Road (you can see the West Coast Mainline to the far end with Avanti West Coast and London Northwestern Railway trains going by).

 

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

Starting at the Coventry Road in Hay Mills, there is this map of the entire Kingfisher Country Park from Hay Mills towards Chelmsley Wood in Solihull. Sadly other maps like this in the country park had graffiti on them.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

A Project Kingfisher sign showing signs of past vandalism. It mentions that riding off road bikes with City Council parkland is illegal. I later saw an idiot riding a petrol powered dirt bike around Bordesley Green Recreation Ground in circles, all over the grass. Plus last Christmas was idiots riding bikes in the part in Shard End.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

Earlier we first had views of the River Cole from the Berkeley Play Park.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

But was no footbridge to cross over the River Cole at this point, but later found a footbridge further up in the Hay Barn Recreation Ground.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

From the Haymills Old Bridge dated 1903 on Coventry Road, with the River Cole below. A cyclist from Just Eat in orange stopped on the path on the left.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

The correct form of bikes, a couple riding bicycles along the Cole Valley Route. This is how it should be done!

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

Daffodils to the left of the main path.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

When we first got to the Kingfisher Country Park, we were near the Berkeley Play Park, and walked down to the Coventry Road. While on the Cole Valley Route in the Hay Barn Recreation Ground, spotted this footbridge over the River Cole which we later used as an exit from the park on the walk back to the car.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

View of the footbridge over the River Cole. Which we crossed at the end of the walk heading back to the starting point on Berkeley Road.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

Further on in the Hay Barn Recreation Ground is this open field, running towards Hob Moor Road.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

The path continues alongside the River Cole towards Hob Moor Road.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

Getting close to Hob Moor Road, the bridge is almost in view.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

The Hob Moor Road Bridge over the River Cole.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

 

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

Now at Hob Moor Road, and into the Newbridge Recreation Ground. Several wooden bollards here. Plus a fingerpost / direction sign on the Cole Valley Cycle Route along the River Cole. The name of the area comes from Newbridge Farm, which used to be located at this site near the river.

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

From here, you can cycle left to the City Centre and Small Heath, or right towards Stechford. (Note the sign has an extra "t" which is incorrect).

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

The path in Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground curves to the right, already signs of litter on both sides of the path!

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

The path heads straight towards Yardley Green Road.

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

Some green areas, so you have plenty of space for the 2 metre social distancing rule, while on your walk (to overtake some slow people).

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

Getting close to Yardley Green Road, the path curves to the left.

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

Bollards and another fingerpost at Yardley Green Road. Also a gate on the right where the lawn is.

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

Interesting bridge on Yardley Green Road to the right of here. With a separate pedestrian footbridge. Was quiet on the Easter Sunday, but I gather in normal times there could be a lot of cars driving down here.

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

 

Sycamores Recreation Ground

From Yardley Green Road in Bordesley Green, we next enter the Sycamores Recreation Ground. More bollards here. Sometimes the Kingfisher Country Park is also called Project Kingfisher.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

Beyond the Project Kingfisher sign (missing fingerposts?) the path curves to the right, then beyond to the left.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

Heading on the path in the Sycamores Recreation Ground, it now turns to the left before turning to the right.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

A distant cyclist up ahead, the odd piece of litter on the lawn on both sides of the path.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

Bordesley Green East is now in view, as the path curves to the left.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

The River Cole is visible again on the right, as is the Bordesley Green East Bridge.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

At Bordesley Green East, more bollards. This is a busy dual carriageway road. Turned right and headed to the pelican crossing traffic lights.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

 

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

Starting at Bordesley Green East, we enter the Bordesley Green Recreation Ground after crossing over at the lights. This area was the former site of Batchelors Farm.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

Many families enjoying the sunshine and sitting on the lawn. Sadly the litter problem here was quite bad to see.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

The path curves around the Recreation Ground. While here, kept seeing an idiot riding a dirt bike around the ground in circles. Tyre tracks were visible in the grass. Other signs of burnt out former off road bikes were along the path.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

The path curves in an S shape as we passed these bushes to the right.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

Not too visible here, but in the distance is the West Coast Mainline. Stechford Station is to the far right of here.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

Bits of rubbish on both sides of the path, and sometimes on the path.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

The path is good to walk on though, was even the odd dog walker and cyclist here.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

Getting close to the end of the path, a man riding a bike in orange.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

End of the path at Eastfield Road. Litter was really bad around here, plus graffiti on the wall on the right. Turned back from here towards Hay Mills.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
12 Apr 2021 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Birmingham, Cranes in the City - April 2021

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August 2020 was the last Birmingham crane photography gallery post and a lot has been added to this feature. Here is a selection, please visit the full gallery to see them all.

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See the full Crane Photography Gallery here: Crane Photography

5th September 2021

11th september 2021

19th Septmber 2021

27th September 2021

30th September 2020

4th October 2021

17th October 2021

5th November 2021

6th November 2021

1st November 2021

5th December 2021

10th January 2020

25th February 2021

28th February 2021

7th March 2021

16th March 2021

21st March 2021

30th March 2021

All photography by Daniel Sturley

See the full Crane Photography Gallery here: Crane Photography

 

 

 

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40 passion points
Modern Architecture
12 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Osman Yousefzada's Dogtooth Flower at Selfridges

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Scaffolding started going up Selfridges around November 2020. By December 2020, the first pieces of Osman Yousefzada's Dogtooth Flower (IKON Gallery) pink artwork started to go up. Entered the 3rd lockdown in January 2021. So didn't get to see more until I travelled up early April 2021 on the train. So this update mostly before getting the train home from Birmingham Moor Street.

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For years, the shiny discs at Selfridges have been going missing, you might see the odd abseiling worker dangling down the side taking them down, or replacing them. But this process is taking ages. So finally something is being done about it. Scaffolding has been going up the last six months, a long with pink artwork by Osman Yousefzada called the Dogtooth Flower. As of April 2021, they still haven't finished putting it all up. The goal is for workers behind the scaffolding to take down all the discs, and replace them with new ones. Hopefully in time for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022. Good luck! The time is ticking down!

 

This photo below taken during March 2019. Men abseiling down Selfridges with blue bags, probably holding some of the discs.

Selfridges

 

 

16th November 2020

Heading back to the office in the middle of the second lockdown, got off the bus early and walked up Digbeth to see Selfridges with scaffolding going up.

Selfridges

At first the scaffolding only went up Park Street, and the windows were covered up to protect them.

Selfridges

Selfridges

No scaffolding on Moor Street at this point.

Selfridges

 

20th November 2020

Leaving the office just before 5pm GMT, headed down to St Martin's Square at the Bullring to check of the hoardings at Selfridges after dark.

Selfridges

About the same amount of scaffolding as 4 days earlier. Was also Christmas lights on Park Street.

Selfridges

Selfridges

As well as Christmas lights up Moor Street.

Selfridges

Selfridges

Selfridges

 

18th December 2020

On the bus in the evening heading home from work, spotted the first bit of pink hoardings artwork by Osman Yousefzada. Selfridges was claiming that they were still open as usual. At the time in Tier 3 restrictions.

Pink Selfridges

 

24th December 2020

The Christmas Eve walk around the City Centre. Saw the same piece of pink artwork but in the daylight before getting the bus home. Would be the last time I would see it in 4 months. As the 3rd lockdown began a few weeks later early into January 2021.

Pink Selfridges

Pink Selfridges

Pink Selfridges

 

3rd April 2021

View from the train pulling into Birmingham Moor Street Station. I would stay on until Jewellery Quarter Station. Couldn't travel in while "Stay at Home" during the 3rd lockdown. But once we changed to "Stay Local" I got my first train in months. From the Restored Chamberlain Clock in the Jewellery Quarter, on a walk to Selfridges.

Pink Selfridges

Later after a walk around the City Centre, got to Upper Dean Street from Southside, got this view over the Bull Ring Open Market and St Martin's Church, with the Bull Ring Tavern on the right.

Pink Selfridges

The views of the pink hoarding artwork up Park Street, starting from St Martin's Lane.

Pink Selfridges

Pink Selfridges

Pink Selfridges

The corner of Park Street and Moor Street, near Moor Street Car Park, as a National Express West Midlands bus went past.

Pink Selfridges

Onto Moor Street on the walk up to Birmingham Moor Street Station.

Pink Selfridges

The No 50 NXWM Platinum bus. Not been on a bus in 4 months now.

Pink Selfridges

Artwork information inside of the hoardings opposite. Osman Yousefzada created this artwork in conjunction with Selfridges and the IKON Gallery.

Pink Selfridges

Pink Selfridges

Pink Selfridges

View from Birmingham Moor Street Station, platform 3. With two Chiltern Railways trains, 168 325 and 165021. Couldn't see any other views from the station, so walked around the one way system, and crossed the footbridge to get my train home.

Pink Selfridges

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
12 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

St. Paul's Quarter Breaks Ground in the JQ

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A ground breaking ceremony has formally taken place at St. Paul's Quarter, Northwood Street, Jewellery Quarter - the largest development within the Conservation Area, signalling a start in construction on the £125m+ scheme.

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The significant four-acre site - formerly of AE Harris and once home to James Watt - is being brought forward by a Galliard Homes & Apsley House Capital Joint Venture.

Designed & master-planned by Glenn Howells Architects, it will become a mixed-use destination containing 305 new homes–including lofts, townhouses and duplexes–and circa 100,000 sq ft of commercial, retail & affordable business space across 20 buildings between two and five storeys.

The JV follows in the footsteps of Timber Yard and Soho Wharf - both under construction - and the recently proposed Belgrave Middleway, with the intention of providing thousands of high-end homes in the city.

Ground breaking: Photo by Galliard/ Thebusinessdesk

Demolition: Stephen Giles/ March 2021

A chunk of the site’s heritage will be meticulously maintained - two of which are Grade II listed buildings (109 Northwood St & 199 Newhall Street), while redundant factory buildings, deemed as having no architectural merit, have already been demolished.

Northwood Street, partially closed to the public, will also be reopened to pedestrians for the first time in well over 20 years. A new street, called Harpers Hill, will be formed and will stretch from Newhall Street into the heart of the Jewellery Quarter.

A new public square will then be incorporated, animated by vibrant shops, bars and restaurants.



44 car parking spaces will be provided alongside space for circa. 326 cycles.

AE Harris had operated on the site since 1964 but now employs 37 people and only ever used a third of the site. They have since moved to Frankley, having accepted that modern manufacturing methods do not meet their requirements.

We'll be updating on a regular basis. Be sure to follow the project here (opens in same window), as well as on our social media channels listed below.

All renderings are the property of Glenn Howells Architects.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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30 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
12 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Big Egg Hunt in Victoria Square, February 2013

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Lets time travel back to February 2013, when for a week, The Big Egg Hunt was on around Birmingham City Centre. 101 eggs to find. These were the eggs that were in Victoria Square at the time. Plus some Lindt Gold bunny's! The trail went nationwide at the time. Does anyone remember them? Hope everyone had a nice 2nd Covid Easter Bank Holiday Weekend break at home.

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THE BIG EGG HUNT

VICTORIA SQUARE

FEBRUARY 2013

 

Coming to Central Birmingham in the last week of February 2013, was The Big Egg Hunt. A trail of 101 painted Easter Eggs. The trail went around all the major Cities in the UK, including Birmingham. And they would be auctioned off at the end of the trail for charity.


There was loads of Easter Eggs in Victoria Square, too many to take in one go, so I only took photos of a couple of them at the time. This view to the Council House.

The Big Egg Hunt

 

Humpty Dumpty to the far left, a Lindt Gold Bunny on the right.

The Big Egg Hunt


The charity was Action for Children. The trail was fun for kids and adults alike to see.

The Big Egg Hunt

 

View of all the Big Eggs towards 130 Colmore Row, at the Colmore Row corner with Waterloo Street. This was the site from 1901 to 1970 of Galloway's Corner.

The Big Egg Hunt

 

A Frugal Meal

Near the bottom of the steps at Victoria Square was this caricature of King George III eating a egg in a egg cup. A Frugal Meal by the artist Charlie Billingham. Lot No. 14.

The Big Egg Hunt

 

Leafy Abstract

This green egg looked a bit like a dinosaur egg. Was near the bottom of the steps close to one of the Sphinx Guardians. Leafy Abstract by the artist Laura Morrison. Lot No. 41.

The Big Egg Hunt

 

Humpty Dumpty

Careful that you don't knock Humpty Dumpty over or he'd break up into a million of pieces!

The Big Egg Hunt

 

Lindt Gold Bunny

One of the Lindt Gold Bunny's in Victoria Square at the time.

The Big Egg Hunt

 

Another Lindt Gold Bunny

A giant Lindt Gold Bunny surrounded by fences.

The Big Egg Hunt

 

More Lindt Gold Bunny's

About four Lindt Gold Bunny's outside of the main entrance to the Council House, with Starbucks Coffee to the right.

The Big Egg Hunt

 

Hope you had a nice Easter 2021 and Passover 5781.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
10 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

The Construction of 103 Colmore Row - April 2021

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We have construction photos added to the gallery for this feature build covering January to April that you may not have seen! Too many to put in a post so please visit the main gallery after looking through this selection. Above is 7th April 2021 just before sunset.

Great photos from Elliott and Daniel...

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Go straight to the main gallery: 103 Colmore Row Construction Photo Gallery

103 Colmore Row from Cathedral Square (3rd January 2021). Photography by Daniel Sturley

103 Colmore Row at dusk. (19th January 2021). Photography by Daniel Sturley

View from Tysley Station (2nd February 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

The fog hides the top of 103 Colmore Row (6th February 2021). Photography by Daniel Sturley

View from Oaklands Recreation Ground. (17th February 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

18th March 2021, 103 Colmore Row with a rainbow.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

View from Edgbaston (19th February 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

View from Edgbaston Reservoir (24th February 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

7th March 2021, 103 Colmore Row from Suffolk Street Queensway near the Mailbox.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

16th March 2021, 103 Colmore Row from Victoria Square.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

22nd March 2021, 103 Colmore Row at sunset.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

26th March 2021, Installation of the bolcony parapet glass.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

1st April 2021, 103 Colmore Row from Victoria Square.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

7th April 2021, 103 Colmore Row just before sunset.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

Click: 103 Colmore Row Construction Photo Gallery for more.

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40 passion points
Civic pride
06 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Return of the Chamberlain Clock to the Jewellery Quarter

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Over the weekend of the 20th and 21st March 2021, the Chamberlain Clock was reinstalled at the island at Vyse Street, Warstone Lane and Frederick Street in the Jewellery Quarter. Once restrictions were changed to "Stay Local", I got the train up to the JQ, to start a walk around the City Centre. First target was the newly restored clock. Smith of Derby have done an amazing job.

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The Jewellery Quarter Chamberlain Clock via the JQ BID.

 

Previous Chamberlain Clock posts here:

 

It was probably best that I was unable to travel up to the Jewellery Quarter over the weekend of the 20th and 21st March 2021. As at the time we were still under "Stay at Home" restrictions. This changed on Monday 29th March 2021 to "Stay Local". Working at home, I was unable to travel up to the Jewellery Quarter until the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend. So got the train to Jewellery Quarter Station on Saturday 3rd April 2021 in the morning. For the start of a walk around the City Centre (which would end at Selfridges and Birmingham Moor Street Station).

 

A new sign about The Chamberlain Memorial Clock was installed close to The Golden Square and Vyse Street (just behind the Rose Villa Tavern). It's mentions Joseph Chamberlain's roll in what is now called The South Africa War (formerly The Second Boer War of 1899 -- 1902). Chamberlain's tour of South Africa led to this clock being erected near here in 1903. QR code on the sign, leads to the Chamberlain Clock website (link at the top of this article).

Chamberlain Clock

 

First view of the newly restored Chamberlain Clock from Vyse Street, on the walk from Jewellery Quarter Station. The other clock to the far right is at Three Brindleyplace. Jurys Inn was also visible from here.

Chamberlain Clock

 

It was now possible from Vyse Street to see the restored Chamberlain Clock with The Mercian and The Bank Tower 2. As well as the clocktower of Three Brindleyplace behind it. The Bank Tower 1 and Eleven Brindleyplace visible to the right.

Chamberlain Clock

 

View of the Chamberlain Clock, now working from Vyse Street, with Warstone Lane to the left and right. Frederick Street is straight ahead.

Chamberlain Clock

 

The clock was previously restored during 1989 - 90 by Octo Welding. This time from 2020 - 21 by Smith of Derby. Greggs at the Chamberlain Building to the left.

Chamberlain Clock

 

As well as repairing the internal mechanisms, Smith of Derby also repainted the clock and the plaques from 1903 and 1990. This view to the HSBC UK bank.

Chamberlain Clock

 

A close up zoom in of the clock. It looks amazing now. Lets hope it lasts more than 30 years before they have to restore it again.

Chamberlain Clock

 

Now looking from Frederick Street, with the Chamberlain Clock. Vyse Street is behind. Not far away is Warstone Lane Cemetery.

Chamberlain Clock

 

Heading down Frederick Street towards Newhall Hill, one more view of the clock. Since this lockdown began, Costa Coffee opened up a new coffee shop at 32 Frederick Street. Somewhere to stop for coffee in the future (when we can sit inside again, and not just have a takeaway).

Chamberlain Clock

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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70 passion points
Squares and public spaces
06 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Oozells Square through the seasons: Summer 2020 to Spring 2021

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The trees in Oozells Square at Brindleyplace are wonderful to see at any time of year. Here we check them out during Summer 2020, Autumn 2020, Winter 2020 and Spring 2021. From lush green leaves, to brown leaves. From a wet and rainy square to the end of the Cherry Blossom. Last summer the restaurants had outdoor seating spaces on astroturf. Hopefully they can reopen soon.

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Summer 2020

It was August 2020, and there was astroturf outside of Piccolino Italian Restaurant. Meanwhile there was green leaves on all the trees in Oozells Square.

Oozells Square

It was a bit wet from the rain, and was more space to set up outdoor seating for Siamaiz Thai Restaurant. This was during Eat Out to Help Out (restaurants had only reopened that July).

Oozells Square

 

Autumn 2020

It is now October 2020, and the outdoor seating on the astroturf for Piccolino and Siamaiz was still there. By then, all the leaves had turned brown, with leaf fall going on.

Oozells Square

Sadly by the time November came around, the 2nd lockdown had began, and all restaurants had to close, and would remain closed throughout the winter, and into the 3rd lockdown. Still the trees looked nice at the time.

Oozells Square

 

Winter 2020

Early evening in Oozells Square during December 2020. All the leaves had fallen, and the outdoor seating was gone. Just after the 2nd lockdown ended and we were in Tier 3 restrictions. Was heavily raining at the time.

Oozells Square

The view towards the IKON Gallery, near the Pergola Sculpture by Paul de Monchaux (1998). The rain and the reflections adds to the scene after dark.

Oozells Square

 

Spring 2021

Four months later at the beginning of April 2021 during the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. The famous cherry blossom is on the trees in Oozells Square. Was a handful of people about on the way I walked past here. Added to the view now is The Mercian.

Oozells Square

All the restaurants here have been closed for about 6 months now. Hopefully they will be allowed to reopen soon. But first they will need to get the outdoor seating back out again. But the cherry blossom might be finished by then.

Oozells Square

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
03 Apr 2021 - Daniel Sturley
News & Updates

The Construction of One Centenary Way - April 2021

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This build is going up fast now, hard to keep up! The steel structure is rising very apparently from all angles with the central core structure on pause while the rest of the building catches up. Great set of recent photos in this article and many more in the full construction gallery in the feature project.

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25th March

28th March

30th March

1st April

Photography by Daniel Sturley

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
01 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

APPROVED: Port Loop, Phase 3

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Phase 3 of Port Loop - Birmingham's premier new island community - has been approved this morning by planning committee (01.04.21) .

The site will now be unlocked with the exciting delivery of 98 new canal-side homes, public and private green spaces, and the planting of over one hundred trees across the site.

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Composed of two housing ideologies, the dwellings will be arranged in 8 terrace blocks running parallel to the canal and Rotton Park Street. Each will be equipped with terraces & will be centred on two spacious internally shared courtyards.

They include 29 two & three storey factory-built ‘Town Houses’—a build already used in earlier phases, and a new one for Port Loop: 69 two & three storey factory-built ‘Row Houses’—all designed by London architecture studio, shedKM.

Significantly, a new section of the canal towpath will be opened up - and this will form a major part of the newly landscaped public realm for both residents and the public to enjoy.

Around 110 new trees will be planted around courtyard areas and within proximity of the dwellings; 13 will be planted beside the canal towpath—with the area set to include new seating, hedges, and other landscaping works.

Town House allows residents to choose their own internal layout, the number of bedrooms, and room sizes; Row House will equally be as customisable but will be smaller, simpler and more affordable.

Around 10% of new homes across the site already provide affordable housing provision, including here, and with more to come. Each of the 98 dwellings will also be presented with a single car parking space alongside secure storage for two bicycles.

SNEAK PEAK OF TOWN HOUSE & ROW HOUSE: WIRRAL WATERS, BIRKENHEAD: 

Spanning 43-aces, this canal-side site, a mere 10-15 minute walk from the city centre, will soon offer up to 1,150 new homes, retail offerings, new stretches of unlocked canal towpath & leisure spaces.

Follow our social media channels for more updates!

All images are the property of shedKM & Urban Splash.

TWITTER: @Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: @Itsyourbirmingham

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