Digbeth is Under Threat

The Council welcomes property developers to a VIP Speakers’ Dinner while campaigners protest the gentrification of Digbeth, including a 30-storey tower block.

In January representatives of High Street Residential, Arena Central Developments, Oval Real Estate, Court Collaboration, Willmott Dixon, UK Power Networks, Edmond Shipway and many other millionaire property developers attended the VIP dinner in the Council House, followed by ‘discussions about projects and schemes, procurement opportunities and networking with decision makers’. This is how the Council sells off the city centre.

Meanwhile campaigners for ‘Digbeth Deserves Better’ are protesting about plans to redevelop Digbeth including a 30-storey tower of luxury apartments. [1] They are still waiting for their invitations to the Banqueting Suite. This what they say:


A planning application for a 30-storey skyscraper on Digbeth High Street was submitted to Birmingham City Council in September 2019.

Do you want this skyscraper towering over Digbeth? Have your say before it’s too late!

  • 928 flats planned and ZERO affordable housing
  • Only 70 car parking spaces
  • Design does not fit the character of Digbeth
  • Flouts policy framework + guidelines
  • Will cast year round shadows over Digbeth Conservation Area
  • Inadequate consultation + noise reports pose a huge threat to local music venues

When will a decision be made?

The planning decision deadline date has been extended. We have been told by the Birmingham City Council Planning team that it is likely a Committee Meeting with the public will take place in March 2020, however we are awaiting confirmation.

Here’s how you can help…

Sign the petition here

Share, share, share the petition!

Email the planning department with your objection here

Contact us here for more ways you can help

Visit our resources page to download posters and flyers to help spread the word

Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest news and updates from the campaign.

Birmingham Against the Cuts has condemned the lack of ‘affordable’ housing in luxury city centre apartment blocks, breaching the Council’s claimed policy of 35%, in several recent articles, including the Stone Yard tower in Digbeth (see 17 January. See also 16 Feb, 6 Feb, 28 Jan).

These multi-millionaire property developers typically claim that they can’t afford to provide ‘affordable’ homes in the city centre because it will eat into their profits. A ‘viability assessment’ is produced to back them up – but what it doesn’t say is that built into it is a profit margin typically of 20%. But Islington Council set a vital precedent by refusing to back down – and they won.

Islington Council has succeeded in a landmark planning case, taking on a developer who was refusing to provide affordable housing, a requirement that has been firmly built into the Council’s planning rules. After two lengthy planning enquiries and subsequent appeals, a High Court judge has finally backed the Council. Local authorities can stand firm then and achieve significant planning gain – if they have the political will to do so.

This case has been seen as a landmark judgement reinforcing what Islington and a number of other local authorities have been arguing already – that affordable housing requirements cannot be bypassed by using what has been described as the ‘dark art’ of viability assessments to ignore planning policy requirements. [2]

Birmingham Council could do the same in Digbeth, as part of rejecting the current Stone Yard plans. It’s a question of political will.

BATC 28 February 2020


[1] http://www.digbethdeservesbetter.co.uk/2020/01/30/get-your-objections-in/ . See also the report in Our Birmingham: https://ourbirmingham.wordpress.com/2020/02/27/social-cleansing-who-will-live-and-work-in-developed-digbeth/

[2] Increasing the Supply of Social Housing, CLASS: Centre for Labour and Social Studies, November 2018, pp20-1. http://classonline.org.uk/docs/Mayo_final_261118_1057.pdf




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