Birmingham's first wind farm could be built in Digbeth if proposals for a sustainable mixed-use development on the historic Warwick Bar site go ahead.
Concept designs by Birmingham architects Kinetic AIU, revealed last night as winners of a competition to master-plan the site, include 11 wind turbines - ten along the canalside and another incorporated into a tall building which would greet train passengers arriving from London.
The turbines are one possible way of generating energy on-site as part of plans by developers ISIS to deliver a carbon-neutral development.
The scheme could also make a start on liberating the River Rea from the brick culvert which has constrained it for over a century. On one side the wall would be replaced by a stepped series of grassed terraces designed to accommodate flooding.
Warwick Bar is probably the most important surviving Victorian industrial canalside location in the city. The 1.9 hectare (4.56 acre) site is bounded on one side by Fazeley Street, on two by canals and on the fourth by the River Rea.
There are three nationallylisted and one locally-listed buildings on the site, and the land across the canal includes the only area of wilderness in the city centre, providing an important resource for wildlife.
Kinetic was selected from a shortlist of seven in a competition organised by regional architecture centre MADE ( Midlands Architecture Design Environment) on behalf of ISIS, a specialist waterside regeneration company linked to British Waterways. MADE has just relocated to a listed 1840s building at Warwick Bar.
The shortlisted practices, taken from 45 submissions, included firms from Denmark and Holland.
ISIS regeneration director Mike Finkill said: "As a developer we have a sustainability charter and have selected Warwick Bar as an exemplar and a test-bed. That is why we are working closely with colleagues at Birmingham City Council and the Eastside Sustainability Advisory Group."