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Canalside economic boost for Selly Oak as new student homes approved

Watkin Jones, the UK’s leading developer and manager of residential for rent homes, is pleased to announce it has received resolution to grant planning permission for a 523 student home scheme on Elliott Road in Selly Oak, Birmingham. The committee approved the plans with nine votes in favour and one against. 

Welcoming the decision of the committee, Alex Pease, Chief Investment Officer at Watkin Jones Group said: 

“This is a superb scheme that will create new homes for students, reduce pressure on local housing, boost local businesses and transform the canal side for everyone to enjoy, creating long term value for the local community. Residents will be able to cycle along the canal to the University of Birmingham in under 10 minutes and center of Birmingham in under 25 minutes, adding to the sustainability of a development that is designed to minimise its impact on the environment. 

“Developments like this are a great example of how to use brownfield land to make sustainable urban living attractive and meet the growing need for new homes. 

“We always receive a lot of interest from institutions that want to invest in Birmingham. The strength of the market here speaks to the continued success of the city as an powerhouse economic and cultural centre, as well as its attraction for students.” 

Designed by multi-award-winning, Birmingham-based, Glenn Howells Architects, the scheme will comprise of 388 cluster rooms and 135 studios, as well as space for residents to socialize and will relieve pressure on local housing by providing new homes for students within easy walking distance of the University of Birmingham. 

Sandeep Shambi, Partner, Glenn Howells Architects said: “We’re delighted that our new canalside, green residential campus has been approved By Birmingham City Council today. At the core of the scheme is a private courtyard garden that visually reconnects the site to the canal, while the Victorian terraced houses to the south are complimented by the domestic language of the red brick façades. The highly sustainable location within close proximity to shops, bars, restaurants and various forms of public transport will not only re-animate this stretch of the canal but will also enhance the residential setting of Elliot Road.” 

The development is designed to be highly sustainable, meeting an industry-recognised BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’, and the conversion to a car-free residential scheme from an industrial unit will reduce vehicle traffic from the site by 96%. The scheme’s central square and canalside outdoor areas will be offer a space for students to relax. The outdoor areas will include planting that will increase local biodiversity. 

Residents of the scheme are expected to drive an anticipated £2.6m additional spending a year in the local economy, as well as the creation of local jobs. The proposals will also deliver major improvements to the canal towpath both in front of the scheme and between the site and Bristol Road bridge, linking with recent improvements completed as part of the Battery Park development. This will include new lighting and better signage, as well as increased visibility and widening of the towpath in front of the site. £60,000 

of S106 funding has also been agreed that Birmingham City Council could use to deliver improvements to Selly Oak Park. 

Watkin Jones has committed to helping local sporting facility Revolution Gymnastics continue to operate safely and successfully and will help it find a more sustainable home for the long term as part of the planning consent, further demonstrating the developer’s dedication to creating a scheme that benefits not only the prospective residents, but also the wider community. 

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