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Under threat: a row of six historic houses in Birmingham

This image shows shows how No.336 Hagley Road might look if it was restored. Birmingham City Council is considering an application to demolish the house, along with five other historic properties, to make way for a retirement village.

The Victorian Society is urging Birmingham City Council to refuse permission for an application to demolish six important Victorian and Edwardian houses on the Hagley Road in Edgbaston.

The houses have been earmarked for demolition as part of plans to build a Florida-style retirement village. The six houses on the south site of Hagley Road would be replaced by 240 flats in a series of buildings up to five storeys high.

The formerly grand homes are unlisted but all lie within the Barnsley Road Conservation Area

'We are extremely concerned. The city council has a responsibility to care for its built heritage and conservation areas are part of that protection', said Tim Bridges, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'The Barnsley Road Conservation Area has been identified as at risk by English Heritage, and we have long been worried about the condition and vulnerability of several properties within the area.'

The houses under threat include number 324, built in 1895 and the only surviving house in Birmingham by the Arts and Crafts architect, Ernest Barnsley. Two houses designed in the early 1900s by local architect, George Henry Devall would also be demolished.

The Victorian Society is urging the council to secure a better outcome for this prominent site on a main route into the city.

'We believe that the buildings should be restored and incorporated within a more sympathetic scheme. These houses are attractive, robust and adaptable and if kept would enhance the redevelopment of the site. A more imaginative and sustainable approach is needed.'

The application will be considered by Birmingham City Council's planning committee this Thursday.

Monday 10 January, 2011

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