Developers to go back to the drawing board and create new designs. Plans for a 26-storey city centre hotel which were given the green light almost two years ago have been ascended back after it emerged the application site was larger than originally understood.

Boutique hotel operator Bloc is planning to demolish Gallan House in Hill Street, opposite the entrance to New Street Station, and change it with a new venue to be called ‘Bloc Grand Central’.

However, the firm has now lodged a new application with Birmingham City Council which will see the project condensed by three storeys and the bedroom tally down from 238 to 227 while the exterior of the building will have a less of a triangular design.

Other changes in the new planning application include a different reception area and the entrance being set more back to allow more space for pedestrians on Hill Street.

New documents accompanying this revised application said the amendments had arisen after it occurred the site ownership boundary was larger than originally understood, meaning a new design could be installed which replicated Bloc’s latest brand standards.

Bloc’s first hotel opened in the Jewellery Quarter in 2011, which has since been expanded to include 31 apart-hotel rooms, and a second venue was launched at Gatwick Airport in 2014.

Its hotel rooms are designed around a ‘pod’ or compact concept whereby extra fixtures and fittings are removed to maximise space and create more bedrooms.

However, its latest designs feature deeper rooms and a larger bathroom, prompting the rethink of Bloc Grand Central before construction has commenced.

The project was seen as possible game changer when councillors awarded planning prmission in September 2016 as passing it actually contravened the city council’s own ‘Tall Building Policy’.

The hotel has been designed by Birmingham practice Glenn Howells Architects.

A design statement prepared for this new application said: “During the intervening period, a selection of changes have been proposed with a view to increasing the viability of the project while upholding the design intent and quality of the consented scheme.

“Following the original planning approval in 2016, a number of surveys have been conducted.

“Following the completion of Gallan House, pavements were extended to the building’s face and it was assumed (incorrectly) that these areas were designated as adopted highway.

“It is now known the title boundary and development plot should not be the footprint of Gallan House but actually a wider perimeter.”


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