Third time’s a charm as £275m apartment complex gets green light again

A major regeneration project which will see more than 1,000 new apartments built in Birmingham city centre has been approved for a third time.

Manchester-based developer Orchidtame has won the green light again for its £275 million plans to redevelop the former home of Monaco House in Bristol Street.

It initially won planning consent in summer 2018 before going to the council’s planning committee again in July, pending the completion of a suitable legal agreement.

Following that second consent last year, the development was the subject of a challenge from Benacre Properties which has interests in nearby properties.

The firm issued a pre-action protocol letter prior to launching a judicial review bid on the grounds that the Monaco House project would impact neighbouring locally listed buildings.

Want more business news straight to your inbox?

BusinessLive is your home for business news from around the country – and you can stay in touch with all the latest news through our email alerts.

You can sign up to receive daily morning news bulletins from every region we cover and to weekly email bulletins covering key economic sectors from manufacturing to technology and enterprise. And we’ll send out breaking news alerts for any stories we think you can’t miss.

Visit our email preference centre to sign up to all the latest news from BusinessLive.

City council officers had advised councillors the authority did not consider the grounds from the objector had merit but that it should be put before the committee again to “firm up the council’s position in terms of potential challenge”.

Officers continued to recommend the application for approval.

Demolition work has long since been completed at the Monaco House site which had for many years been at the centre of a supermarket war.

Tesco had been eyeing the land for a new store while Asda wanted to build on the Park Central estate opposite.

Tesco abandoned this plan in 2015, paving the way for a residential-led development comprising 1,009 apartments and townhouses to rent alongside 16,285 sq ft of commercial space and a new public walkway.

To be called ‘New Monaco’, it will be built over a series of 13 blocks including two of 26 and 29 storeys, with underground parking for 335 cars, 35 motorbikes and 1,010 covered bicycle spaces.

Speaking at the latest meeting of Birmingham City Council’s planning committee, Cllr Gareth Moore said: “There’s very much a sense of déjà vu with this application.

“I did have concerns about the application at the time and I certainly think it’s far from perfect.

Birmingham Business – Review of the Year 2020

“But I haven’t seen anything in the report or what the objector has circulated with us which would suggest (the previous decision to approve) was falsely made.

“I agree that there’s no real need to further defer this application. As far as I am concerned, it has been approved and I am committed to do so again.”

Cllr Martin Straker Welds added: “There are legal challenges. The report suggests the legal challenges are less than firm and that in some cases they are also irrelevant.”

Councillors voted unanimously to approve the plans.

BusinessLive – West Midlands