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£4m Pebble Mill plans for student bedrooms and flood risk project

Calthorpe Estates to develop more than 300 bedrooms and help 150 homes and businesses with flood management scheme

The new dental hospital at Pebble Mill where Calthorpe Estates is planning more development

New plans for more than 300 student bedrooms and a £4 million flood risk management scheme in south Birmingham have been unveiled.

Historic property group Calthorpe Estates is behind the project which would see 340 bedrooms and two retail units developed at the Pebble Mill site in Edgbaston next to the Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry where 600 students are based.

In addition, it is planning to tackle three kilometres of Bourn Brook, the tributary of the River Rea, in Selly Oak to protect around 150 local homes and businesses.

Calthorpe Estates has worked with the Environment Agency, Birmingham City Council and other stakeholders over the last three years as part of the Rea Catchment Partnership ahead of submitting the new planning application.

The project involves the deepening and widening of an area of existing flood water storage near the Bourn Brook Walkway, in Harborne Lane near Selly Oak station, increasing the capacity of the storage 'reservoir' by almost double.

Wildlife habitat and ecology improvements are also proposed.

In conjunction with this, the existing ground level would be raised at the three-acre site of the former BBC Sports and Social Club at Pebble Mill - an area which has previously been unusable in planning terms, due to its flood status and its historic private use by the BBC.

Here, the formation of a flood relief overflow channel off Bourn Brook is proposed which will further reduce flows to and under Pershore Road Bridge, centrally dissecting the land.

A new underground flood relief culvert is also planned to allow a second flood water route to pass under the Pershore Road to the River Rea, in nearby Cannon Hill Park, to complete the flood mitigation scheme.

The Environment Agency will seek funding towards the flood mitigation works through a business case submission but Calthorpe Estates said significant other funding streams were needed, hence the development of the student flats.

Ralph Minott, director of development at Calthorpe Estates, said: "Working as part of the Rea Catchment Partnership over a number of years, we have been introduced to the scale of suffering homes and businesses in Selly Oak North have endured over many years, from what, on face value to us, manifested as ponding at our former BBC Social Club site.

"This has been particularly sobering, especially when reviewing the flood damage in 2008, when residents were forced to move out of their homes.

"This opportunity is incredibly bold and ambitious, both in terms of partnership working and the complexity of the many parts of the proposals."

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