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Silver Blades ice rink development gets go-ahead despite pollution fears

Scheme at former Leisurebox site to go ahead after Birmingham City Council planners give the green light

The old Silver Blades ice rink can be knocked down for an 11-storey apartment light after councillors gave the green light – despite concerns over air quality.

An application by London-based Bouygues Development and owner Hallmark Investments will see 334 one- and two-bedroom apartments and retail space at the city centre site.

Birmingham City Council’s planning committee approved proposals despite concerns that 70 parking spaces were not enough and a warning that air quality in the area is so poor that ground floor properties require a special seal.

Planning committee member John Clancy said it was concerning the air quality nearby was so bad that the development would require sealing at ground floor level.

Coun Clancy (Lab Quinton) said: “Presumably, as the Wholesale Markets moves away the pollutant levels at street level would decrease.

“Obviously it is a considerable concern that we are moving properties into an area where street level pollution is so bad.”

However, an officer said she expected air quality to improve with the Wholesale Markets move and traffic changes.

The application for the scheme, called Hallmark-BY, was approved subject to section 106 and demolition of the existing, four-storey, building at 73-75 Pershore Street can now be knocked down.

Contributions totalling more than £540,000 towards off-site affordable housing and the enhancement and improvement of public realm at Centenary Square or Hippodrome Square will now be required.

The proposals comprise three wings in a ‘H’ shape to front Pershore Street and Dean Street and contain 266 one-bedroom and 68 two-bedroom flats.

The ice rink, then called Planet Ice, closed down in 2003 following a fire but reopened in 2010 as The Leisurebox where it also contained a bowling alley. It shut down permanently in May 2014.

Peter Douglas Osborn said it was a shame the city was without an ice rink but welcomed the development.

Coun Osborn (Con Weoley) said: “Let’s welcome this but there is a sad side because of the facilities we lose.”

He added: “I think the nearest ice rink is in Solihull. It seems a pity that a city this large doesn’t have these facilities.”

Coun Gareth Moore (Con Erdington) suggested there were not enough parking spaces and it would be expensive to park nearby.

He also raised concern about noise from the nearby Arcadian centre, although officers said tests had been made.

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