The company behind a £500 million city centre canal-side development has been warned to protect and restore a historic bicycle factory building.

Birmingham City Council planning chiefs have demanded the Victorian Belmont Works off Jennens Road be returned to its former glory when the new Eastside Locks development goes ahead.

Development group Goodman must ensure the terracotta brick-clad structure, dating from 1899, is preserved after it passed the first stage of planning permission.

It can now go ahead and draw up detailed plans to convert former industrial land off Lawley Middleway and Curzon Street into a mix of offices, apartments, shops, bars, a hotel, conference centre and multi-storey park.

Planning committee chairman Coun Peter Douglas Osborn (Cons, Weoley) said: “This half-a-billion pounds investment shows a good deal of confidence in Birmingham by a major developer.

“It comes at the right time as we are looking to steer ourselves out of a recession.”

He also praised the designs as giving a ‘sense of character and place’ to the historic canal-side location.

But other committee members were more cautious and demanded that fetching architect’s designs, featuring the restored Belmont Works, are recreated and not compromised by financial constraints.

Coun Ernie Hendricks (Lib Dem, Moseley and Kings Heath) said: “This looks like a really positive development. It shows the fully refurbished frontage of the Belmont Works and that is what I am supporting. It must be fully restored.”

City director of planning and regeneration Clive Dutton told the committee that Goodman has announced that, as long as detailed planning permission is given, building work will begin in the summer of 2010. “This is a strong signal that the Eastside regeneration is on course,” he added.