The capacity of the proposed 35-storey British Land Tower in Colmore Row to spark passionate debate shows no sign of diminishing.
An extraordinary U-turn by Birmingham Civic Society, which has moved from a position of 90 per cent support for the pounds 160 million scheme to one of outright opposition in the space of a few weeks, means that the city's three main conservation groups are demanding that British Land's application for planning permission be turned down on the grounds that the 441ft-high glassfronted structure would be entirely out of keeping with surrounding Victorian architecture including the Council House, Town Hall and St Philip's Cathedral.
The strength of opposition is bad news for the council leadership and civic planners who took the controversial but brave decision to invite developers to replace the detested NatWest Tower with a sleeker, taller building. In doing so they perhaps assumed that conservation groups would kick up a stink, but must by now have been taken aback at the scale of derision which includes outright opposition from the conservation and heritage panel and worrying mutterings of discontent from the planning committee. …