New square at heart of development
ONE of Birmingham’s largest city centre regeneration projects will create a public space the size of Victoria Square, city planners have been told.
The large space in the Connaught Square development in Digbeth will feature a renewed River Rea and be used for markets, parades and festivals.
Further details emerged as developer Seven Capital presented the scheme – one of the largest regeneration projects in Birmingham – to the city council’s planning committee for the first time.
It also announced that the number of flats proposed had been cut from 940 in original plans issued late last year, down to 724 and that the 1960s JFK mosaic memorial could be resited from across the High Street to the new square.
Surrounded by four blocks, including a 20-storey tower block, the River Rea will be opened up for the fist time in a century and sweep through the development. A pedes- trian bridge and new street will also be created.
Development spokesman Gerard Sweeney said: “In terms of public space Connaught Square is roughly 5,000 square metres, that’s the same as Victoria Square.”
Previous plans for Connaught Square, on Digbeth High Street were approved in 2008 but never delivered due to the economic downturn.
Planning committee members were supportive of the long-awaited development.
Cllr Peter Douglas Osborn (Cons, Weoley) said: “The river opening up is a plus for it, as is the public area and three-bedroom flats introducing a family aspect to the area. All in all this is a magnificent Seven Capital project.”
While there was support for the overall development, councillors did raise concerns over the high number of smaller single person apartments proposed.
Councillors also called for more character to be added to the designs of the 20-storey tower.
Seven Capital will consider the comments before returning for a final decision later this year.
> Proposed plans for the Connaught Square development in Digbeth