Planning application submitted for BBC’s new Birmingham home
Property developer Stoford has submitted a planning application for the BBC’s new Birmingham home at the historic Typhoo Building in Digbeth.
The corporation is hoping to move from its current home at The Mailbox to the new 84,001 sq ft custom-built centre in 2025. The Bordesley Street landmark will be one of Birmingham’s first net zero carbon in construction office buildings. The detailed planning application has been informed by two successful public consultation events and numerous online consultation responses, and represents the first phase of a wider masterplan for the surrounding area.
Landscape architecture practice Grant Associates is designing the new landscape and urban realm, which will create a new canalside quarter centred on the canal which used to bring tea in and out of the original Typhoo building. The re-imagined public realm will look to provide a pedestrian-focussed setting for the Typhoo Masterplan, connecting HS2 and Paternoster Place to the front door of BBC Birmingham. The new public square will be delivered in time for the first BBC staff to move in in 2026.
The landscape proposals seek to work with the industrial character of the site by opening up views towards the historic warehouses and canal. The ‘gritty’ vibe of Digbeth is reinforced using traditional materials such as blue clay pavers, granite setts, crushed gravel, corten steel, timber and street art.
Specimen tree planting and floating reed beds will look to make the space rich in urban ecology, creating a green heart at the centre of the development. The new square will be a focal point for workers, residents and visitors to meet and socialise in a sheltered space, whilst the hard paved areas will provide space for flexible uses and pop-up events.
Designs for the wider masterplan are currently being updated following feedback from the public. They will be published for further comment in the coming weeks, regarding opportunities for cafes, bars and terraces, as well as new homes and commercial spaces, which would complete the vision for Birmingham’s most creative canalside community.
Typhoo Wharf, as it is currently known, will house several BBC editorial teams, including The Archers, BBC Asian Network, BBC Newsbeat, BBC Radio WM and Midlands Today.
The proposed alleys and courtyards will look to improve permeability and pedestrian connectivity across the site, linking to the proposed New Canal street tramway and HS2 Curzon Street station, canal towpaths and local cycle route network. The sustainable urban drainage strategy will form habitat rich rain gardens within these hard landscaped areas, thus reducing flood risk as well as bringing people closer to nature.
The feedback from the public - both those who live or work in Digbeth and the thousands of people we reached via social media who are just interested in the scheme - has been overwhelmingly positive. Birmingham’s residents, visitors, and commuters are genuinely excited at the prospect of the BBC making its home at such a recognisable and prominent building. "Typhoo Wharf is a significant opportunity, which will not only catalyse reinvigoration of the wider area, but will also help to kick start further private and public-sector investment into Digbeth’s built environment and transport connections.
This project is a great opportunity to breathe new life in to the Typhoo quarter of Digbeth with a vibrant new urban realm and landscape design centred around the canal wharf frontage and the adjacent Typhoo building with its iconic Art Deco blending tower.
Stoford is working with The Gooch Estate, Glenn Howells Architects, Turley and several public sector partners to deliver the development and to prepare a comprehensive vision for the wider area, which will be served by multiple public transport connections, including a new tram top, HS2’s Curzon Street terminus, and the existing Birmingham coach and Moor Street railway stations.
Over the next decade, Stoford plans to deliver up to 800,000 sq ft of new residential, office and hospitality accommodation around the new BBC. The wider scheme will see more than 10 acres of underutilised land around Typhoo Wharf and the adjoining canal basin transformed into a new mixed-use neighbourhood characterised by attractive public spaces and open thoroughfares.
For more information about Typhoo Wharf, visit: www.typhoowharf.co.uk