Birmingham City Council to Sell Properties in the Jewellery Quarter

The Council’s wish to sell off more land and property with several sites in the Jewellery Quarter including 58-60 Caroline Street, 11-17 Pitsford Street and Vyse Street triangle. Full details can be downloaded at https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/downloads/download/2311/sites_prospectus
It is a shame that some individuals decided to spread rumours that ‘tenants were receiving eviction notices, all the properties were going to be demolished, and blocks of flats erected in their place’.

The fact is many of the buildings are listed, are in the most protected areas of the Jewellery Quarter and have to comply to all present planning regulations!

The following are only highlights of the sites available in the JQ…

58 – 60 Caroline Street
‘The site is within the Jewellery Quarter Conservation Area. 58-59 and 60 Caroline Street are Grade II listed buildings. Careful regard will need to be paid to the historic environment when designing any new development. The adjacent Heritage Court building should not be used as a design reference.

Existing buildings should be retained and enhanced through sensitive refurbishment works. New additions to these existing buildings are unlikely to be acceptable.

The vacant site offers potential for new building development, designed to acknowledge and enhance its historic surroundings. Proposals should repair the urban grain of Caroline Street, and introduce activity and over-looking of the street. Heights should reflect the character of the surrounding historic buildings, not exceeding four storeys or match the height of the existing three storey building’.

11 – 17 Pitsford Street
This site offers the opportunity for the refurbishment and re-use of the historic buildings to provide distinctive and characterful workspace and offices, set around multi-purpose courtyard spaces.

The surrounding area has strong historic character, falling within the Golden Triangle character area of the Jewellery Quarter Conservation Area.

‘Vyse St Triangle
The site is within the Jewellery Quarter Conservation Area. Many buildings within the site are Listed, including Nos. 85, 87-88, 90-94 Vyse Street, 28 Hockley Street and 94-102 Spencer Street.

The block as a whole adds considerably to the character of the surrounding area and any development should focus on the re-use of the historic fabric. Development should look to refurbish and convert the existing buildings and retain some or all of the commercial use. Modernisation would need to be sympathetic so as to enhance the historic character of both the building and wider block’.

NOTE: JQ Heritage is of the opinion that the Pitsford Street buildings seem most at risk – although in the Golden Triangle they could be redeveloped for more lucrative commercial use at the expense of losing well established jewellery workshops and associated trades already there!
Just as we were posting out the JQH Newsletters we received the following email at the JQ Heritage office from Cllr Ian Ward (Leader of Birmingham City Council):

Email from Councillor Ian Ward – Leader of Birmingham City Council’
Friday, 30 November 2018
Thank you for sharing the concerns that have been raised by some of the City Council’s tenants in the Jewellery Quarter. I hope my response will provide you with some clarity in terms of the Council’s approach.
The City Council are offering to the market 58 – 60 Caroline Street, the Vyse Street Triangle block and 11 – 17 Pitsford Street, along with some other sites outside of the Jewellery Quarter. These have been identified within the five-year Property Strategy commencing November 2018, as opportunities to generate much needed capital resources for the city.
There are no current plans or proposals for redevelopment of the Vyse Street Triangle block, as the site lies within the Jewellery Quarter Conservation Area and many buildings within the site are Statutorily listed, including numbers 85, 87 – 88, 90 – 94 Vyse Street, 28 Hockley Street and 94 – 102 Spencer Street, so wholesale demolition would not be supported. Indeed, the block as a whole adds considerably to the character of the surrounding area, with any future development proposals considered in the context of the block, rather than just the individual building.
Any development would need to focus on the re-use of the historic fabric, leading to the enhancement, refurbishment and conversion of the existing buildings; any modern additions sought would need to be appropriately designed to enhance the historic character of the buildings and wider block. Future uses within the block would need to sit comfortably within the scope of the Birmingham Development Plan, Jewellery Quarter Conservation Area Management Plan and other appropriate current planning guidance, and commercial uses are most appropriate within this part of the Conservation Area.
The letter sent to the Council’s tenants last week was for information, advising them of the potential disposal of the properties they occupy, and to provide them with a point of contact for further enquiries, along with links to the dedicated web page, the sale prospectus and the sale details.
The sites being offered in the Jewellery Quarter will be on the basis of long leasehold disposals for Pitsford Street and the Vyse Street Triangle block, and Caroline Street will be a freehold disposal. In each case, disposal will be subject to the purchaser acquiring with the benefit of all the existing tenancies, and as those tenancies offer security of tenure, there is no automatic right for them to be terminated. The tenants in occupation will simply have a new landlord once the disposals complete.
I trust my response covers the concerns raised with you by the tenants you have spoken to, but if they require any further specific information, please ask them to contact Ian Chaplin, Head of Investment Property Management, Birmingham Property Services (ian.chaplin@birmingham.gov.uk or 0121 303 2650).

Regards,
Councillor Ian Ward
Leader of Birmingham City Council’

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