Watkin Jones Group’s application for new managed student homes is set to be considered at Birmingham City Council’s planning committee meeting on Thursday 30 September. The application has been recommended for approval.
The plans for purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) at Elliott Road, Selly Oak will relieve pressure on local housing by providing managed new homes for students within easy walking distance of the University of Birmingham, as well as delivering economic and community benefits including:
- An economic boost to Selly Oak with over £2.6m a year anticipated in additional local spending from future occupants of the development
- Creation of local jobs including apprenticeship opportunities through construction, and management roles once completed. Watkin Jones’ Stratford High Street scheme in London saw 56% of people working on site classified as local, as well as the undertaking of student placements and over £10m of procurement from local businesses
- Improvements that will benefit the local community and future occupants of the scheme with £60,000 of S106 funding provided to Birmingham City Council that could be used to deliver improvements to Selly Oak Park
- A car-free development that will reduce journeys to and from the site by 96% and substantial provision of cycle storage spaces at the development to encourage sustainable travel
- Ensuring the ongoing operation, without interruption or hinderance, of Revolution Gymnastics. The applicant is working with Revolution Gymnastics to ensure that they continue to provide a high-quality operation in the long term within a new local facility that will be at least equivalent and more suited to their operations that their existing facility.
- Improvements to the canal towpath both in front of the scheme and to the Bristol Road bridge, linking with recent improvements completed as part of the Battery Park development. This will include new lighting, as well as increased visibility and widening of the towpath in front of the site. This will improve safety, connectivity, and enjoyment of this area for everyone as well as linking to more attractive public realm on the fronts of the development facing The Dingle, Selly Wharf, and Elliott Road
- A BREEAM rating of ‘excellent’ that demonstrates the high sustainability credentials for the scheme
- Further community benefits generated by occupants of the development, with the planned creation of a student group to assist in litter picking alongside the canal.
Iain Smith, Planning Director at Watkin Jones Group said:
“Our plans for Elliott Road are the result of over two years’ engagement with the local community, council and third-party stakeholders. We’ve listened closely to feedback and are proud to be working with multi-award winning, Birmingham-based, Glenn Howells Architects. The design of our scheme respects the character of the local area with a design, height, scale, and massing that has been supported by the Council’s Senior Urban Designer.
“As well as improving the street scene along Elliott Road, the plans will open the stretch of canal next to the site for everyone to enjoy, with new lighting to improve safety. We’re excited to invest in creating these homes and hope that the Council’s planning committee share our ambition for the local area.”
Research overseen by Birmingham City Council’s Acting Director of Inclusive Growth has identified there is currently a shortfall of over 13,000 student bed spaces across Birmingham and UCAS predicts there will be 90,000 additional applicants to UK universities in the next four years.
Local businesses have also welcomed Watkin Jones’ plans, with companies surrounding the site stating that a growth in the student population will help outlets achieve more trade and provide a prospect for further employment opportunities.
Speaking about Watkin Jones’ proposals, a spokesperson for T&G Repairs, based on Oak Tree Lane, Selly Oak said: “More student accommodation in Selly Oak will help improve the area and it could mean that we are able to employ more staff. Whilst a representative of Shake House said: “More students in Selly Oak will allow our business to be more successful, due to higher footfall and demand.”