A document providing a vision and principles to protect and enhance the environment as well as inform future investment of the area around Edgbaston Reservoir is set for approval on October 11. The Edgbaston Reservoir Masterplan Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) was drawn up after the Birmingham Development Plan (BDP), which was itself adopted in 2017, identified Greater Icknield as an area for growth with the reservoir specifically described as one of the city's most significant areas of open space.
The BDP identifies Icknield Port Loop and the Tower Ballroom site as major opportunities and allocated them to provide a mixture of innovative family housing, commercial, and community uses. The SPD will provide further guidance on the BDP allocations, proving a clear vision for their delivery.
In getting to the point where the council's Cabinet will consider the upcoming report, there has been extensive public consultation over the past three years. This started with a 12-week period between May and July 2019, after which the council set up a Community Partnership Forum with representatives of a local Community Consortium to work jointly on revisions to the Masterplan.
A six-week public consultation then followed in March and April of this year, along with a specific and widely-promoted drop-in session at Ladywood Health and Community Centre for local people. Almost 400 formal responses were made to the 2022 consultation.
Support was expressed for the vision and principles along with the increased emphasis on the natural environment, as well as suggestions for alterations to the Masterplan, which has been amended in a number of ways to take on board the views of respondents.
These amendments do not alter the strategy within the document but rather strengthen and highlight the existing strategy, to respond positively to several of the representations. The main changes to the masterplan can be summarised as:
· Amendments to the proposed design of the Osler Park and Osler Place (former Tower Ballroom Site) to set the building line further back from the waters’ edge to create a wider public walkway with increased green infrastructure and deliver a public square;
· Amendment to reopen the existing car park at the reservoir to deliver a reduced number of spaces in a secure and well-managed way;
· Amendment to guidance regarding Biodiversity Net Gain to ensure the document aligns with latest national guidance;
· Addition of definition of short, medium and long-term in the Delivery and Management chapter to inform future delivery.
Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This is an area of great strategic importance for the city and its growth and prosperity – the adoption of this Masterplan will provide a clear and sustainable way forward for inclusive development in this part of Birmingham.
“We have consulted extensively over many years and this was a genuine process – we have listened to the feedback and refined the draft document so we have strongest Masterplan possible. This is a Golden Decade of opportunity for Birmingham, and Edgbaston Reservoir and the surrounding areas have a key role to play in our future.”