Birmingham’s tallest skyscraper will be built and can be completed in three years, the developer has confirmed after securing planning permission.
City planning chiefs gave the 56 storey landmark Regal Tower their unanimous support hailing it as a massive show of confidence in Birmingham.
At 192 metres it will rise above Birmingham’s current highest structure the BT Tower and will be taller than the proposed 51-storey V-Building set to be constructed further along Broad Street at the Arena Central site.
The tower, at the junction of Broad Street and Sheepcote Street, is to include a hotel, serviced apartments and street level shops.
And fears that the application might be speculative and the project never completed were quickly dismissed by a spokesman for developer Regal Property Group Ltd.
Peter Weatherhead, of planning agents DTZ, said: “This meets with Birmingham’s ambitions to be a world class city and will be a landmark building on a gateway site.
“This is not a speculative scheme. There are tenants lined and we are ready to get on with construction once permission is granted.”
He said it would take three years to build, creating 300 construction jobs and once complete 400 permanent jobs.
The committee heard objections from the King Edwards Wharf residents association, which claimed the hotel will bring more traffic and gridlock the area.
Spokesman Alan Stedall said: “This is being built opposite another 40 storey tower at what is a traffic black spot junction.
“I have asked the managers of five local hotels and they say the vast majority of customers arrive by car or taxi, no one comes by bus or on foot.”
Transport officers said they had compared details of traffic flows at the Hilton in Manchester and the Radisson at Holloway Head and found the hotel would make little impact on Broad Street traffic levels, even accounting for developments yet to be built such as the swimming pool, library and two other tower blocks.
Planning committee member Ian Ward (Lab, Shard End) welcomed the tower but was concerned that the planning officers had yet to confirm details of the materials to be used and warned that the building should be of a very high quality given its landmark location.
He said: “I am not sure that we should give permission to a tower when we do not which materials will be used.”
Coun Ward was also concerned that national architectural advisor CABE had said the design should be “exceptional” urged the city to demand something better.
The committee was convinced that the design and that planning conditions meant materials must be first confirmed.
Committee chairman Peter Douglas Osborn said: “It will be a fine addition to the skyline and the character of the city.”
The company has been given three years to commence building work before the planning consent expires.