Downing the Ziggurat II

Alan Clawley reports on the timescale for Paradise Circus redevelopment.

The city planners have now given me the Demolition Method Statement for Paradise Circus site produced by Carillion and demolition specialists DSM.

I correctly predicted the difficulties of the task in my previous article, but their solution is to divide the site into 14 areas and demolish the Ziggurat in two stages. Although no overall timetable is given we can assume that the various buildings and parts of buildings will be tackled in the order they are listed.

The number of weeks allowed for each area is given and adds up to 140 weeks, or roughly three years, assuming that each area has to be dealt with in sequence. That timing makes sense as the Conservatoire is not expected to move out before 2017 when its new building is finished in Eastside.

We can therefore look forward to nearly three years of demolition and building construction in Paradise Circus followed by several more years of more demolition and new building construction.

Although the empty buildings have been stripped out it seems unlikely that serious demolition will start before May 2015. Not surprisingly, the first building that we shall see being wrecked is Chamberlain House, followed by the Pedestrian Link Bridge, the JCT Lecture Theatre (Library Theatre), the Yardbird, the Staircase and Pond, and the Link Building. All of this is scheduled to last 37 weeks, which would take into December 2015.

Part of the Ziggurat furthest away from the Conservatoire will be demolished next and will take 16 weeks. The Council will be anxious to start work by January 2016 when its Certificate of Immunity from Listing expires but it looks like a close-run thing. Friends of the Central Library are ready to submit a listing application if the building is still standing on the expiry date.

The rest of 2016 will be also taken up with the demolition of the link bridge, the Lending Library and the Council Car Park.

The final tranche of demolition can only start when the Conservatoire has vacated its buildings, presumably some time in 2017 if all goes to plan. The Adrian Boult Hall will be first to come down, followed by the South elevation of the Ziggurat. Fletchers Walk and the Conservatoire itself will be the last to go.

The Ziggurat will therefore undergo a protracted demolition process that could start in December this year and only end in 2017. This piecemeal approach is necessary because the demolition contractors do not have the entire site to themselves as they would like. They will be moving round demolishing bits and pieces over a period of three years.

Neither the Copthorne Hotel nor Office Number 77, are included in the Demolition Method Statement which could mean that they will not be demolished after all or that they will be demolished after 2017 when the rest of Paradise Circus is developed. Proposals for a 23-storey hotel on the site of the Conservatoire have already been approved and illustrated in the press, but perhaps the Copthorne is having second thoughts.

12 thoughts on “Downing the Ziggurat II

  1. “We can therefore look forward to nearly three years of demolition….”

    …..followed by running out of money* and a half-done mis-planning eyesore remaining permanently ever after.

    *(due to lack of demand for yet more offices, hotels, tourist trasheries.)

    • So how about demolishing the cathedral, building a motorway down New St, turning vic sq into a heliport, Yes, roll on mindless pointless change for its own sake..

    • Birmingham’s history is full of changes that were made without thinking through the long-term consequences.

      • Birmingham’s history is full of changes that were made without thinking. Just counting the contract invoices instead.

  2. It is easy to criticise, more diffucult to create productive ideas. What would you want for the. City centre?

    • There’s been no shortage of good (rather than profitable) ideas suggested over the years. Just a shortage of politicians willing to listen and make them happen. Instead they have “visions”, generally of flashing dollar signs associated with big corporate contractors and developers. Such “visions” rarely have anything to do with improving the situation for mere bus users, cyclists, or pedestrians.

    • Answering your question, the Birmingham for People group developed a model for a new Bull Ring which was organic, i.e. with public rather than private space and discrete units rather than single blob building. Many people have proposed reducing the dominance of motoring highways. It was also pointed out that the new Bull Ring was the last place that needed a load of car parking as it was right next to two railway stations and all the buses. The “leaders” have consistently ignored these proposals (with a bit of exception in narrowing the Stratford Rd after the largest ever protest meeting in Bham’s history, against the M40 extension plans).
      I’m sure there is much more I have overlooked here as I haven’t kept my nose to this particular grindstone.

  3. Tamsin, I’d actually like a nice park where families or friends could walk dogs, have picnics, where kids could play football. And I’d ally this to an insistence that there was a very high percentage of ‘affordable’ housing (absurd phrase I know) included in any development. I’d like an art gallery of international importance to rival the best in Liverpool as well as a museum of Birmingham life. I’d like bus services that serve the needs of customers rather than being subserviant to hideously expensive Metro lines designed to appeal to visitors who can’t be botherted to walk a few hundred yards. And I’d like to see a velodrome, retail markets in the heart of the city as they used to be (rather than being pushed further out as they are soon to be again). Birmingham is becoming an increasingly homogonised city, offices, hotels, buy to let apartments and more branches of chain stores and coffee shops. Birmingham is anywhereville, just on a smaller and more modest scale than those of dozens of larger more established and better loved cities in Europe and North America, whilst we are rapidly falling behind dozens of fast expanding conurbations in Africa, Asia and the Gulf. Birmingham thinks that it is a global player but it is second or third division, our sporting infrastructure is falling behind the likes of Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff, our arts infrastructure is no better (and arguably worse) than that found in any similarly-sized city and our civic leaders and many of the public and pseudo public bodies who promote the place delude themselves at every turn.

    I would also like to second much of what Ban The Trees said in his earlier response to you about where the city is lacking.

    • Velodrome? We’ve already got the inner, middle and outer ring roads, plus numerous, erm, circuses not to mention smaller gyratories. No satisfying some people.

  4. Thanks for that. I back the comments on the Bullring which seems like one big virtual Amazon site. I for one do not want what the politicals and planners did to Broad Street which was to ignore mixed use of the area with Low profile shopping, mixed housing and green space. Some deluded person got the wonky bizarre idea the street would be the next Bourbin Street or Times Square and look at it now …a sad booze-flooded road which even my two boys, both young adults, never go to.

Comments are closed.