Birmingham Design Guide - Consultation Closes on Friday 5 February
Date of Article
Feb 01 2021
Planning & development

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Laura Stops
Associate Partner, Planning & Development
0121 8207963 Email me About Laura
Laura is an Associate Partner with over 8 years post-qualification experience. She joined Carter Jonas in July 2021 and prior to this gained experience in both the public and private sector. Laura specialises in large-scale residential applications and site promotions, including new settlements and Green Belt release for national and local house builders, private developers and promoters and landowners. She is also highly experienced in acting for clients on industrial, commercial and retail projects, including brownfield redevelopment, stakeholder engagement and town centre uses.She provides clients with planning strategies, prepares and project manages complex planning applications, leads on Appeals and prepares representations and attends hearings in respect of site promotion.

The formal consultation on the draft Birmingham Design Guide closes on Friday 5 February 2021. The document intends to update 14 separate supplementary planning documents, some of which are now 25 years old, into a single comprehensive document.

Many policies already established in the city - such as separation distance guidelines, BREEAM Excellent requirements, and adherence to Nationally Described Space Standards - are retained. However, several new policies are proposed, meaning it will not be business as usual for the development community in the city. The draft design guide consists of an overarching 'design principles' document with 28 policies. This is supported with five more detailed manuals. Below, Neal Allcock, Head of Midlands Planning, Carter Jonas, reviews some of the key changes set to impact on how new development is shaped across the city:

  • Biophilic design principles - intended to benefit the health and wellbeing of building users and integrate the natural environment into the external appearance and spaces of the building.
  • A Birmingham ID - a clear contextual appreciation of surroundings, rather than dropping standardised design onto a site.
  • Tall buildings - signals from the city to formally support expansion of tall building locations beyond the 'central ridge zone' previously established in High Places. However, analysis of wind and microclimate impacts are more onerous, even for 'smaller' tall buildings up to 30 storeys in height. Guidance now stipulates that tall buildings will not be allowed in conservation areas. This would mean replacement tall buildings, such as 110 Colmore Row in place of the Nat West Tower, would now be contrary to the draft policy.
  • Clear points on examples of bad design to help support excellence in new buildings.
  • New requirements to improve shared spaces and circulation space in communal buildings such as apartments.
  • Policies which require minimum glazing sizes and ceiling heights to habitable rooms - potentially discouraging some innovative designs and impacting on overall development viability.
  • First consideration of reusing existing built form on a development site as a sustainable approach to redevelopment.

Whilst these polices are progressive, they are still at draft stage and could be subject to change. Carter Jonas's Birmingham Planning & Development team is well placed to assist with representations before the deadline.

Please contact the team for further information.