The scheme, to develop two buildings on land at the corner of Woodcock Street and Jennens Road, includes a seven-storey hotel. It will contain 170 bedrooms above reception areas, a restaurant, bar and 45,750 sq ft of conference and meeting facilities capable of holding up to 1,000 delegates.
An adjoining five-storey building would contain 55,260 sq ft of office accommodation for around 225 staff from Unite.
However, Conservative councillors on the planning committee – who were also keen to reference Unite’s relationship with the Labour party – outlined concerns about whether the science park was the correct place for a hotel.
Coun Bob Beauchamp (Con Erdington) said: “Not withstanding that this is an uninspiring building, the clue is in the name – Aston Science Park. What are we doing putting hotels in Aston Science Park?”
Fellow Tory Peter Douglas Osborn (Weoley) added: “The science park this was specified in the original conditions for industrial or development purposes.
“A hotel would be stretching the balance of probability.”
However, officers pointed out there is already a variety of uses on the park.
The scheme would see the two buildings connected at the lower levels on the 2.2-acre site in the Eastside area of Birmingham and the total development including parking will cover more than 200,000 sq ft.
Known as ‘Holt Court’, the site currently consists of four office buildings grouped around a landscaped courtyard and the most southerly of these will be demolished to make way for the development.
Planning committee member John Clancy (Lab Quinton) welcomed the scheme. He said: “I would have thought it would be particularly good to for people to be able to stay close to where things are happening rather than having everyone have to go to the middle of town.”
Approval was granted subject to section 106 which will see a financial contribution of £50,000 toward Wayfinding between Aston Street, Woodcock Street and Jennens Road.