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Jan 2014

Second phase of £5.5m Harborne clock tower development revealed

Plans for the second phase of a £5.5 million development in a leafy Birmingham suburb have been unveiled after a city architect won a competition for the contract.

Developer EDG Property has submitted proposals for 12 homes as part of the wider scheme which will see the conversion of the prominent clock tower building in Harborne High Street.

City firm Bryant Priest Newman Architects was selected to draw up the blueprint for the £2.7 million work after winning a competition which saw more than a dozen different proposals submitted.

EDG Property managing director Neil Edginton said plans were submitted last week, and he hopes work will start early this year.

He said the competition was open-ended, but he was most taken by a fully residential scheme to complete work at the former Victorian school built in 1891.

He said: “It was an eye-opening process. When you are working there all the time, sometimes you can only see one angle.

“But bringing in fresh eyes meant they could look at it without any preconceived ideas.

“The brief was primarily residential, but we were open to other uses. But in the end we were won over by a scheme which is totally residential.”

Proposals from Bryant Priest Newman, which previously worked on the Bloc Hotel, Ruskin Glass Centre and Rhubarb in the Custard Factory, will see up to 12 apartments and houses built at the rear of the main square.

The development, which includes a Grade II listed building, recently used as an adult learning and community centre, is expected to be completed by 2015.

The competition was similar to one launched when Mr Edginton worked at The Cube, which resulted in its unique look, and resulted in five practices submitting various proposals for the space.

Mr Edginton added: “There was clearly some seriously amazing entries. The competition encouraged people to be creative and we wanted some fresh eyes.

“We gave them four weeks and had our design team working alongside them. Our quantity surveyors were costing it as they went along, so we knew it could actually be built in the realms of the commercial world.”

Meanwhile, Mr Edginton said progress was being made on the final two parts of the first phase.

He is in talks with “three or four” parties about replacing Metro Bar, which pulled out of the scheme, and expects to announce a new food school early this year.

For all commercial and residential enquiries at The School Yard, please contact EDG Property on 0121 654 9404 or

(With thanks to Graeme Brown, Birmingham Post)