St Paul’s Square, Birmingham
Even if a building is not a designated heritage asset, any proposed development will need to be assessed for heritage impact if it falls within a Conservation Area, or within a setting of a Conservation Area or known heritage assets.
AB Heritage was commissioned to produce a combined Archaeology Desk Based Assessment and Heritage Statement covering works at adjacent sites at St Paul’s Square, Birmingham. Although the development was located within the Jewellery Quarter Conservation Area, the site was neither a statutory or non-statutory designated heritage asset. No. 24 St Paul’s Square had undergone a large degree of interior modernisation but retained heritage interest through some surviving original architectural details. No. 25 functioned as a car park. The proposed works included a new residential block in red brick on the car park site and renovation works to the interior and exterior of No. 24.
As the site contributed to the overall heritage values of the Conservation Area, any potential impact from the proposals needed to be assessed as part of the Planning process. Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter Conservation Area and the Grade I Listed Church of St Paul, close-by, are heritage assets considered to be of Very High Importance.
Following discussions with our client on the planned works and a site visit, our assessment was that the proposals would be beneficial and enhance the significance for the Jewellery Quarter Conservation Area and the setting of the Grade I listed Church of St Paul, as they would reinstate element of the original street scene. And although our report found a minor adverse impact upon No. 24 St Paul’s Square, through the alteration of small elements of the surviving historic fabric, our consultant believed that this could be mitigated through design and concluded that no further heritage works would be required.
After thorough desk-based research, no archaeological evidence was found for activity in the vicinity of the site prior to the Post-Medieval & Modern periods. There was limited but uncertain potential for remains relating to the 19th century St Paul’s Rolling Mill that occupied the site between the mid-19th and late 20th century. As a result, AB Heritage recommended a small-scale trench evaluation to determine the presence or otherwise of such remains and their level of survival. This would inform whether any further works would be required.
For our client, our clarification that the development site was not considered to form part of any of the principal views or focus points within the Conservation Area meant that questions regarding built heritage impact could be answered for Planning. Our consultant was able to provide more clarity regarding potential archaeology and suggest a suitable programme of phased evaluation for the approval of the Local Planning Officers. This meant that our client’s programme of work could be better evaluated and costed ahead of works proceeding.