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Review of 2016 - September: More skyscrapers, Chinese eyes city housing and new restaurant outside Snow Hill

The city council admitted in September that it would need to look again at its tall building policy after approving a new hotel while Chinese investors took a keen interest in Birmingham's housing market

Pic: Glenn Howells Architects

Ruling means more huge skyscrapers could be built in Birmingham

Restrictions on building skyscrapers in the centre of Birmingham were set to be relaxed in a bid to attract more development, it was revealed in September.

Council planners launched a review of their 'Tall Building Policy' document, issued in 2003, after it emerged a new 26-storey tower next to New Street station would not normally be allowed.

Luckily for the developer of the 270 ft Bloc hotel, in Hill Street, members of the council's planning committee overruled their own policy to approve the sleek black skyscraper - compared to the famous monolith in the film 2001 A Space Odyssey.

And they were keen to see more tall buildings put up in the run-down area to the south of Grand Central and the revamped railway station.

Chinese investors eyeing Birmingham houses

Birmingham leader John Clancy lined up Chinese investors to build houses and create jobs during a week long visit to the Far East this month.

The council leader met executives from several Chinese companies during a tour of Guangdong province and Hong Kong, pushing the message that Birmingham was open for business.

While the city is renowned for its strong tradition of attracting foreign investment in industry, business and now football, Coun Clancy was looking to promote several major housing schemes, including the 1,000-home Icknield Port Loop development and potential city centre residential projects at Smithfield and Curzon Street.

He had already lined up talks with executives from Guangdong-based property developer Country Garden. The company also visited Birmingham and later announced it would fund new housing in the city.

Old parts of Snowhill station to feature in new underground restaurant

Part of the original Victorian Snow Hill railway station is to be incorporated into a new basement restaurant in Birmingham's business district.

City planners awarded the green light this month to the novel redevelopment underneath One Colmore Row which will incorporate elements of the substructure from the original station.

The project, which is due to open in spring 2017, will see a striking glass entrance pavilion built in Snow Hill Square designed by GLaSS, the company behind the imposing glass structure outside the Apple store in Manhattan's Fifth Avenue.

No occupier has yet been announced for the unit, which will count Waitrose as its next door neighbour and be passed by thousands of commuters during the week.

Birmingham Airport plans £100m overhaul

Birmingham Airport announced plans to inject £100 million of investment into the transport hub in a bid to improve efficiency and the experience of passengers.

The most significant project will replace the hold baggage screening system with the latest x-ray technology, which is expected to more than double the hourly baggage processing capacity.

Other major improvements include developing a new drop-off car park, which will be free for 30 minutes and connected to the terminal entrance with a covered walkway.

Existing car parks will also be upgraded and a brand new surface car park is planned.

The airport also plans to double the number of self-service bag drop kiosks as well as install digital check-in aimed at improving efficiency.

Celebrated artist unveils new collection inspired by modern Birmingham

A collection of oil paintings showing scenes from Birmingham city centre went on display in September.

Called 'City Living', they were the work of renowned Birmingham artist Reuben Colley who displayed and sold the paintings at his eponymous gallery in Colmore Row.

Mr Colley was born in 1976 in Hodge Hill and said he had always drawn his inspiration from the industrial urban setting in which he grew up.

The images captured New Street and Corporation Street and evoked thoughts of wintry, rain-sodden roads in the heart of Birmingham city centre.

Each of these paintings recorded a day in the life of an ever-changing and evolving city

£4m flood defence plan for city - but it comes with student flats attached

Flood defences costing £4 million and designed to protect more than 100 Birmingham homes were approved by councillors.

The plans for the defences, at Harborne Lane Reservoir and the former Pebble Mill site, will protect homes in the Selly Park area of the city which were deluged during the June storms.

The flood risk management scheme is directly attached to the controversial development of 340 student flats and two shops on the former Pebble Mill site.

A parallel river link will join Bourn Brook and the River Rea to reduce the pressure on the existing channel.

Flights from Birmingham to New York are scrapped

Daily flights between Birmingham and New York are to cease operating, it was announced in September.

American Airlines announced it would discontinue the two-way service from January 2017 - a route that had been running since May 2015.

It was another blow for the airport after Beijing Capital Airlines announced in May that it would not be running weekly direct scheduled flights between Birmingham and Beijing and Shanghai.

A statement from the airport said: "We appreciate that transatlantic air services are particularly competitive, however we are optimistic that another carrier will fill this gap shortly."

Alexandra Hospital children's ward closure could lead to 'disaster', campaigners fear

A shortage of specialist doctors meant seriously-ill children would no longer be treated at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.

Bosses closed the children's ward for admissions and medics working there moved to Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester.

However, youngsters not seriously ill, who came to the Alexandra Hospital site, would continue to be seen and treated there.

The closure applied to those who needed an inpatient bed.

Review of 2016 - January

Review of 2016 - February

Review of 2016 - March

Review of 2016 - April

Review of 2016 - May

Review of 2016 - June

Review of 2016 - July

Review of 2016 - August

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