Unlocking brownfield site for future community
Multi-disciplinary technical support under the Homes England framework to remove site constraints and secure planning for 762 homes on a £62m proposed development in Digbeth, Birmingham.
Under the Homes England framework, we were part of a team led by Avison Young to assess the viability for redevelopment of New Bond Street, a site in Digbeth, Birmingham. We subsequently supported the submission of the successful planning application.
New Bond Street is located by the famous Grand Union Canal in an area of Birmingham renowned for it’s creative, industrial and bohemian roots, and emerging as a popular location for residential development.
Successful programme management
Our Strategic Projects team led our integrated technical support to assess the site and advise on how to make it successful. The planned development is for 762 new homes, of which 35% would be affordable. This will be delivered across five apartment blocks of up to 15 storeys, and the planning approval granted in late 2021 also includes for over 2,000 sq m of commercial floorspace.
Our Strategic Projects team truly add value on complex projects such as this by ensuring that there is clear communication between the various technical engineering teams in Hydrock, the architects, the planning team, and the client, to work collaboratively to deal with the site constraints and minimise any impact on the proposed timescales.
Engineering out constraints
There were a number of challenges with this site, including:
- Part of the site had the potential to be un-developable because a large, 1.5m diameter sewer pipe ran through the northern corner of the site. Our team liaised with Severn Trent Water and devised a suitable pile foundation design to prove that the development could be delivered successfully without affecting the underground sewer. Between our structural and drainage engineers, we secured a build over agreement. The result was a larger developable area which maximises the site’s potential value for Homes England.
- With the site in close proximity to the Grand Union Canal, we assessed strict easements and no-build zones in the designs.
- Our transport planning team ensured that the historic cobbled street running through the centre of the site could be retained. This featured in our Transport Assessment, as the street is one of the few remaining cobbled streets in the area. With the architects, Allies and Morrison, retaining the character of the street, whilst providing suitable carriageways and increased footway provision was an important part of the masterplan development.
- We also analysed the baseline energy performance of the development and advocated that a site strategy combining air source heat pumps and PVs would ensure compliance with Part L requirements.
Overseen by our Strategic Projects team, our focus on these big issues was a key part of helping to maximise the opportunity to redevelop this brownfield site.