A city councillor has praised the hard work of conservationists in protecting Birmingham’s historic buildings, three weeks after describing them as “middle class idiots”.
Coun Len Clark (Con Quinton) last month attacked the Victorian Society’s unsuccessful attempts to protect derelict Victorian villas on Hagley Road from bulldozers making way for a new retirement village.
He was forced to apologise for the outburst, and has now completed an about turn at the latest planning committee meeting.
It comes as developers behind two retirement villages in Birmingham were praised for including historic buildings in their designs.
The compliment to house builders McCarthy and Stone Ltd, which is building a 56 bedroom home at Heathfield Road, Kings Heath and Audly Court Ltd, which is building a 95 apartment retirement village in Calthorpe Road, Edgbaston.
The Kings Heath project includes an early 20th century building most recently home to the Secure Trust Bank, while the Calthorpe Road site includes Georgian and Victorian buildings including a former school for deaf children.
Coun Clark said: “This brings two clear benefits. It offers the retirement and extra care facilities this city needs and retains some historic buildings of real quality.
“I can only applaud the contribution of heritage groups and conservation groups in this worthwhile project.”
Last month he said that “middle class idiots” from conservation groups were not living in the real world in wanting to preserve derelict old buildings.
Shocked committee members who opposed the Hagley Road demolition, said that these two proved historic buildings could be preserved in a modern retirement complex.
Vice-chairman Paula Smith (Lib Dem Hall Green) said: “It’s a breath of fresh air to see a developer take our historic buildings and utilise them and include them in a site like this.
“This shows it can be done if developers are willing to put heritage above the profit or the price.”