Plans to knock down historic buildings in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and replace them with more than 100 new homes have been given a cool reception by heritage watchdogs.
Developers want to demolish a number of Victorian buildings and build 25 town houses and 86 apartments.
But members of the city council’s Conservation and Heritage Panel urged the developers to proceed with caution as many of the buildings were a key part of the Jewellery Quarter’s architectural treasures.
Lancashire-based developers Blackmores Ltd, have lodged an application with the city council’s planning department for the new homes on a large patch of land bordered by Camden Street, Sloane Street and Camden Drive.
Before the application goes before the planning committee, members of the Conservation and Heritage Panel make comments and observations.
During a presentation by the developers this week, members of the panel were told the site had been vacant for 13 years and a lot of the building were in a poor condition, having fallen prey to vandalism and squatters.
The panel was told that all the buildings, apart from four, will be demolished.
The ones which will be preserved are the former School House fronting Legge Lane, the grade 2 listed Sloane House, 48 Camden Street and the pair of cottages fronting Sloane Street.
These will all be converted into either apartments or townhouses.
Members were told the new buildings will be designed in such a way they merge and blend in with the historic architecture of the existing ones.
Andy Foster, from the Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings, half welcomed the plans.
“Most of the demolitions are not a problem, but the CWGU building should be preserved because it is a building of some interest which fits in with the Jewellery Quarter.”
He also said it would have helped the panel to form opinions if they had photographs of all the buildings at risk before them.
David Mahony, from the Jewellery Quarter Association, said he was disappointed at the plan.
It was a shame the new courtyard proposed for the homes was going to be closed off, he said, and only available for residents as it would be better to turn it into an open thoroughfare to open up the Jewellery Quarter.
Mr Mahony was also unhappy about the proposals to build so close to Sloane House. “It’s a classical building and should not be hemmed in,” he said.