Mammoth plans by the University of Birmingham to build ten student housing blocks and a multi-storey car park in Edgbaston have been rejected.

The scheme, which would have delivered 532 beds, has been highly contentious among locals attracting dozens of formal objections with one residents group branding the development as 'abhorrent'.

Concerns centred around the scheme's potential visual impact on the area as well as the existing traffic congestion at the two roads bordering the proposed site Vincent Drive and Pritchatts Road, particularly the adjoining mini-roundabout.

Birmingham City Council's planning committee went against the recommendations of its own development officers to turn down the scheme this week (Thursday, January 31).

They deferred the application 'minded to refuse' meaning a formal reason will be drafted and agreed at a later date.

A CGI of what part of the development would have looked like. Credit - Glancy Nicholls Architects.
A CGI of what part of the development would have looked like. Credit - Glancy Nicholls Architects.
 

'It is not in keeping with the character of the area'

Cllr Gareth Moore, on the committee and a former UoB student, said: "I am still concerned with the student accommodation, it is not in keeping with the character of the area.

"I am still concerned regarding the traffic situation.

"The mini roundabout is particularly busy, the traffic flow is horrendous.

"It was like that when I was there in 2007 and the situation hasn't improved much in that time.

"I am still struggling to understand how providing a 600-space car park all exiting out on to Vincent Drive will make it better.

"Unless we do something to that roundabout I don't think it's sustainable."

 

Councillors had previously deferred making a decision on the scheme so they could visit the site last week.

The proposals featured two main sites, the first next to the Ashcroft Halls of Residence which would have accommodated four blocks with a total of 230 beds.

The remaining six blocks providing 302 beds would have been built on a second site, behind homes on Pritchatts Road.

The existing 289-space surface level car park, also on Pritchatts Road, would have been replaced with a five-level multi-storey providing 608 spaces.

However it was to be agreed that another car park on the campus would be closed once the new multi-storey opened.

The University of Birmingham main campus
The University of Birmingham main campus
 

'The very thought of such a development is abhorrent'

Edgbaston MP Preet Gill (Lab) and ward councillor Deirdre Alden (Cons) had echoed residents' concerns.

While the Edgbaston, Calthorpe and Metchley Park Road residents' groups all lodged objections.

The latter stated: "The very thought of such a development is abhorrent in terms of density and the already overpopulated situation in Birmingham.

"Edgbaston now seems to be at a standstill for large parts of the day traffic wise."

The university carried out re-consultation with residents last year.

They stated they were experiencing increased pressure on its housing capacity and also wanted to offer more 'mid range cost' accommodation.

Council officers assessed the plans and while accepting the Pritchatts Road and Vincent Drive roundabout was 'at capacity' concluded the development would not cause a 'significant' increase in traffic.