Words & pics by Ed King
An expansive office and retail block on Erdington High Street is being sold as a ‘residential conversion opportunity’, which could potentially bring over 47 social housing units to Erdington High Street.
On the market for £1,399,000 through the Online Property Agency (OPA), the ‘huge corner plot’ is further described by the OPA as an ‘exciting residential conversion opportunity’ which ‘already boasts planning for conversion into 23 apartments’.
However, Erdington Local has learned the current owner was invited by Birmingham City Council (BCC) to amend their planning application to house potentially over 47 units – if the development would include social housing.
This is further reflected by the OPA who, at the time of writing, state the property has ‘Potential For 47 Units +’ subject to further planningapproval.
Although the initial planning application was for 23 apartments, originally registered in November 2021, any amendment to include social housing could green light nearly 50 homes for vulnerable or displaced people in an area already blighted by reports of street crime and anti-social behaviour.
Located at 224 – 232 High Street, Erdington, the ‘applicant’ on the property’s existing planning proposals is UVSC Erdington Ltd – a company registered at the same address and with the same directors as Urban Village Healthcare, and registered at Companies House in April 2021 just over six months before the planning application was submitted.
Urban Village Healthcare have a history of multi-million pound developments, including a £10.8m scheme to convert Rubery’s oldest pub, the Cock Inn, into a care home with ‘64 ensuite bedrooms with communal facilities’.
Local residents have raised concerns over any development housing vulnerable people in the area, with one stating “more social housing would be a red flag on Erdington High Street, but putting a care home in that building would be even worse. Look at it, it’s like a prison.”
Erdington Councillor Robert Alden (Conservative) shares the fears raised by people in his ward. He told Erdington Local: “It was already hugely concerning to see this site being given permission for 23 flats as the location is totally unsuitable for decent quality housing.
“Now we are told, despite a previous application for 43 flats being refused, the Council have suggested someone should apply for 47 flats! The previous application was refused in part due to 43 flats having insufficient natural light in the flats to be habitable. Now even more are being considered.
“When you consider that the current 23 proposed flats are barely of sufficient room sizes it is clear a doubling of them to 47 flats would be totally unacceptable.
“47 flats would likely have poor quality of life for tenants and not be habitable, it is clear the Council should reject any such application as being unsuitable”.
Erdington Local has contacted Birmingham City Council and Urban Village Healthcare for comment.