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A conversion of this GII Listed industrial building into residential units

Special attention to designs that preserved the remaining heritage features and fabrics was required to secure approval .

Under the local development plans for the area, Birmingham City Council, as a general rule, was not minded to approve residential development at this location.

The former Button Works Factory in the Jewellery Quarter Conservation Area at 80 – 82 Great Hampton Street is a Grade II* Listed Building, and a purpose-built late 19th century button factory. The principal building has a an impressive detailed Victorian gothic façade designed by the prominent local architect H. R. Yeoville Thomason; to the rear are works buildings with well-preserved functional industrial elevations.

The building has very high architectural and historic values, and a setting interest provided by the Jewellery Quarter. The Great Hampton Street Works is therefore considered to be a heritage asset of Very High significance and any works to the building need to pay special regard to protecting and enhancing its heritage value.

The proposed development was seeking Listed Building Consent to create a series of apartments together with ancillary facilities at the site, utilising the impressive front building, 2 side wings and rear building. The three storey buildings featured many original fixtures and fittings, including windows, walkways, stairways and doors still in-situ, although some were blocked up.

Early consultations with stakeholders aired concerns and shared ideas

Detailed early consultations between our client, Birmingham City Council, The Victorian Society, Historic England and AB Heritage largely agreed design plans, with adjustments to some elements that could negatively impact the heritage value of the building.  AB Heritage was commissioned to prepare a Combined Archaeological Desk Based Assessment and Heritage Statement to 

accompany the formal Listed Building Consent Application.  This traced the history of the site from archived maps and documents and reviewed the likelihood of any archaeology to be impacted by the development.

AB Heritage was able to demonstrate through research only a low potential for significant below-ground archaeological remains pre-dating the 19th century and therefore no further work relating to archaeology was recommended.

The development proposals included changes to both the building interiors and exteriors. Creating the residential apartments would result in the loss of some building fabric, including some 20th century timber staircases, and a small number of windows.

However, the proposals would also see the retention of some existing staircases; reinstatement of blocked portals; replacement of modern windows with traditional style units, and the refurbishment of the exteriors, with the façade seeing dormer windows reintroduced to replicate the originals.

AB Heritage’s Heritage Statement assessed that the works overall would result in very low negative impact to the heritage significance of the Button Works Listed Building, but would be beneficial to the heritage significance of the Jewellery Quarter Conservation Area.

Photographic recording of the building prior to works would be valuable

Given the important heritage status of the building, it’s setting and the magnitude of works to be undertaken, AB Heritage recommended and was appointed to undertake a Level II  Historic Building Recording of all elements of the complex to describe and photographically record the structure before works were undertaken. This was in line with Birmingham Council’s Local Development Plans and took place in August 2023.

Early consultation with the LPA and heritage experts including AB Heritage, meant our client was able to fully understand the heritage restrictions and opportunities in order to manage the design works and planning process efficiently.

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AB Heritage is a registered organisation with the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists