Architects behind the redevelopment of Paradise Circus have made sweeping changes to their plans to better showcase the city’s historic Town Hall and Council House.
Archant and Altitude Real Estate, the developers behind one of Birmingham City Centre’s major regeneration scheme, have agreed to shave the tops off buildings and widened walkways around the site following stinging criticism that their new buildings would over shadow the city’s prime heritage assets.
Under a planning application, submitted in July, the John Madin-designed Central Library would be pulled down and replaced with a mixed use scheme including new offices, public squares and a new concert hall for Birmingham City University’s school of music.
It will also see a significant remodelling of the roads in the area, including the removal of part of the Paradise Circus roundabout.
Six months ago the council’s Conservation and Heritage Panel poured scorn on the plans using phrases like ‘‘appalling’’ and ‘‘dreadful’’.
In particular plans to place a tall building just a few yards from the historic Town Hall were criticised, as was the overall scale of the buildings compared to the neighbouring listed buildings like Baskerville House.
But, in a return visit to a depleted Conservation and Heritage Panel – only four members out a possible 13 were present – the developers, along with Glenn Howells Architects, announced a series of alterations to the scheme.
They admitted that some of the panel’s criticism, along with comments from Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and other organisations had been taken on board. Gary Taylor, of Altitude, said: “As part of the design process we have listened and made significant changes, and our scheme is better for it.”
Davinder Bansall, of Glenn Howells, explained that some of the buildings had been reduced in height and in several cases the top stories pulled back to create a shoulder, providing rooftop terraces and allowing more light into the walkways below.