Plans to build a new Sainsbury’s supermarket, retail park and life sciences campus on the former Battery Park site in Selly Oak have been given the go-ahead.
The scheme submitted by the Harvest Partnership - a joint venture between Land Securities and Sainsbury’s - was approved by Birmingham City Council’s planning committee.
Derelict for 30 years and with a history of landfill use, the site is now set to be the home of a mixed-use and retail destination, including an 80,000 sq ft Sainsbury’s foodstore and Birmingham’s new life sciences campus - a business park for medical and pharmaceutical research,.
The development will also feature shops, places to eat and drink, as well as student housing.
There will also be improvements to the existing canalside, with a new piazza-style square featuring a pub/restaurant.
A new bridge over the canal will also be built to provide a direct link between the new development and the centre of Selly Oak.
The development could commence in early 2014 with the clean-up of contamination on the site, followed by construction early in 2016. Neil Carron, Land Securities project director, said: “We’re delighted that the planning application has been approved and our vision for Selly Oak can finally be realised.
“We’re confident our proposals will provide significant economic benefits and will revitalise Selly Oak by creating a high-quality retail and mixed-use development incorporating a world class research centre of excellence.”
The Harvest Partnership pledged to pay an extra £767,000 towards the restoration of the derelict Lapal Canal that runs through the site in a bid to secure the go-ahead for the development.
It upped its contribution towards the restoration after plans for the Battery Park scheme stalled last month.
The planning committee had deferred its decision amid concerns the partnership was reneging on pledges to make financial contributions towards both the canal and the construction of Selly Oak New Road.
Both commitments were attached to a previous planning application for the Battery Park site secured five years ago.
But Harvest had argued that due to a combination of the economic downtown and the addition of the life science campus, it could no longer afford contributions on the same scale.
The company found extra funding for the canal, taking the total to £4.4 million, and told locals restoration could begin at the same time as the store’s construction, if a remaining funding is found by the Lapal Canal Trust.
Selly Oak MP Steve McCabe had discussions with the Harvest Partnership and said he believed the developer had made several pledges to alleviate local concerns, including a pledge to consult over design elements and improvements to cycle and disabled access.
“I feel that the developers have taken every reasonable step to address the concerns of local people and their representatives,” said Mr McCabe.
The Harvest Partnership has estimated the scheme will create 2,700 jobs, something that was welcomed by Mr McCabe, who added: “This development will bring much needed jobs to this part of the Selly Oak constituency.”