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City backs plan for Eden School on former IMI site

Go ahead for new Islamic free school despite concerns it could 'sterilise' surrounding area and impact local businesses

CGI of Islamic free school planned for former IMI site, in Wellhead Lane, Perry Barr
CGI of Islamic free school planned for former IMI site, in Wellhead Lane, Perry Barr

Plans to build a new Islamic free school on a former metal works site have been given the go ahead despite concerns over the loss of industrial land.

The Eden School, part of the Tauheedul Free Schools trust chain, is to be built on the former IMI site in Perry Barr.

Councillors approved plans for a three-storey school building complete with sports hall and play area on the landmark site on Wellhead Lane - across the road from the old Birmingham City University campus.

But there were objections from occupiers of the Hub industrial site over concerns that factories could be forced to limit activity if noise and heavy goods traffic proved to be a nuisance to the new school.

While planning committee members demanded reassurances that the school's development would not stop or hamper the construction of a new Birmingham Wholesale Market on a neighbouring site.

Coun Barry Henley (Lab, Brandwood) said he was worried that the school would 'sterilise' the surrounding area and stop the wholesale market move.

"We need to look at that clash, I would be very upset if we shoot ourselves in the foot," he said.

Other committee members raised concerns over the impact on factories because, in other areas, new residents had stopped existing businesses making a noise.

The most celebrated case of this in Birmingham was the closure of the Fiddle and Bone jazz club in the city centre after flats were built nearby.

But council planning officers insisted the school would not create a problem for surrounding businesses nor any market development.

They said the sports hall and outdoor playing areas would act as a buffer between the main school and the industrial site.

Coun Bob Beauchamp (Cons, Erdington) also pointed out that the area was already very busy with a bus depot, greyhound stadium and council tip close by.

The school, which is open to pupils of all faiths, was approved.

 

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