Tiny apartments designed for a major new housing estate have been slammed as "like something from Prisoner Cell Block H or Colditz" by city planners.
Architects behind the plans for 772 homes on the landmark St Luke's site in Highgate were also told their designs for new apartment blocks were bland and like shoeboxes as they presented them to the council's planning committee.
The committee has also demanded the developer Barrett Homes increases the offer of affordable homes from ten per cent to nearer the 35 per cent council policy recommends.
It was a brutal assessment of the scheme which would see the former Matthew Boulton College site, at the corner of Bristol Street and Belgrave Middleway, transformed with new blocks of up to 11 storeys and a revamped St Luke's Park.
Committee chairman Mike Sharpe (Lab Tyburn) said: "I have very grave concerns over the offer of ten per cent affordable houses.
"This city desperately needs accommodation but I don't think this is good enough."
He added that the uninspiring design was not suitable for a landmark site leading into the city.
"You need to know you are in Birmingham. We don't need a big building that reminds you of Prisoner Cell Block H," he told the committee meeting.
Committee members also urged the architect to build the apartment blocks, which range from four up to 11 storeys, a little taller if it meant they could make the flats larger.
Coun Barry Henley (Lab Brandwood) said: "They are very, very poky."
He added that the design was "very uniform" and called for something more elegant and urged Barrett homes to consider some shops, such as a Tesco express, and a community building for the estate.
While Coun Gareth Moore (Con Erdington) described the "lack of imagination" in the design, likening the blocks to lots of shoeboxes.
The committee was however divided over whether the historic disused St Luke's Church in Bristol Street should be demolished.
Coun Fiona William (Lab Hodge Hill) suggested it could be used as a community hall for the new estate while Coun Moore thought it could be converted into luxury apartments.
But Coun Henley and Coun Peter Douglas Osborn (Con Weoley) did not think the church was worth keeping if it meant getting more new homes built.
Conservation groups Save Britain's Heritage and The Victorian Society have already objected to the proposed demolition of the 1903 church. They are also objecting to the demolition of the 1877 Highgate Centre, a former orphanage which sits at the rear of the application site.
The committee has been asked for its views on the development before the formal planning application is considered.
The 21.5-acre application site is owned by Birmingham City Council and the Homes and Communities Agency.
It once housed Matthew Boulton College and the St Luke's housing estate but has been vacant since the college buildings were demolished around nine years ago.
Barrett Homes had earlier said: "The scheme will provide 772 homes over a range of types and sizes to meet local needs as well as providing high-quality open space and a series of connections with the surrounding area."