A new housing estate is recreating unpopular back-to-backs housing and a canalside "deathtrap" for children, it has been claimed.

The 117 houses and 90 apartments are to be built on the Icknield Port Loop site, in Edgbaston, and feature some units built around shared courtyards while others open onto the canal banks.

Members of Birmingham City Council's planning committee gave the green light to the scheme, put forward by joint venture developers Urban Splash and Places for People for land owned by the authority and charity Canal & River Trust.

Some members of the planning committee were highly critical of the estate's designs.

Coun Gareth Moore (Con Erdington) said the development seemed to have been designed with architectural awards in mind rather than providing homes.

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He told the meeting: "It should be sent back to the drawing board and they should actually build some decent housing for decent people to live in."

Coun Barry Henley (Lab Brandwood) said the committee had argued against this style of housing when outline plans for the area were approved five years ago.

CGI of the first phase of development at the Icknield Port Loop site
CGI of the first phase of development at the Icknield Port Loop site

He said: "All of our rules we apply to housing are simply cast aside.

"We had a discussion - we said we did not want back-to-back or courtyard housing. This type of housing is not popular in the UK.

"Nobody does it in Britain. We've knocked down millions of these houses, it's absurd to build them.

"They've built up to the edge of the canal with no space for fencing to make a deathtrap for children."

And Peter Douglas Osborn (Con Weoley) added: "It does seem to be boxy.

"The glass element seems to be huge and I wonder about the privacy of the people who would live there.

"They would be in full view of people walking past and we want people to walk past. I had hoped for a better design."

CGI of the first phase of development at the Icknield Port Loop site
CGI of the first phase of development at the Icknield Port Loop site

There was one keen supporter as Coun Fiona Williams (Lab Hodge Hill) said the courtyard design comprised grassed play areas rather than the old, hard stone yards.

She added: "Children love to play together. It's a good idea to have a secure area where children can play and be looked after. I think it's a plus."

Chief planning officer Richard Goulborn also argued that the courtyards were more like parks than the tight cobbled spaces that the old slum back-to-backs were known for.

He added: "These are houses, they do offer a different style of living. These are effectively private parks."

He said that Birmingham needed to offer a wide range of housing.

And planning officers argued the canalside homes would not necessarily appeal to people with young children and that safety would be the responsibility of the occupants.

The committee approved the plans on a narrow six-five vote.

These 207 homes are the first of up to 1,150 expected to be built on the canalside side near the city centre.