Plans submitted for new Birmingham Health Innovation Campus

Ambitious plans for Birmingham Health Innovation Campus (BHIC) took another step forward this week, as a hybrid planning application was submitted to Birmingham City Council.

The plans for BHIC will help create up to 3,000 jobs at the Campus, as part of 10,000 jobs in the wider region boosting the local economy by around £400m GVA per year.

The hybrid planning application includes detailed plans for the first phase of development, set for completion in 2023 if approved. The plans also outline how the former Battery Park site in Selly Oak could be developed over the next 10 years to include six buildings, a multi-storey car park, lab and office space, a gym, café and extensive landscaping and public realm. The proposed development also includes a new publicly accessible park, outdoor event space plus pedestrian and cycle access to the neighbouring canal towpath.

The partnership between the University of Birmingham and Bruntwood SciTech (a 50:50 joint venture between Bruntwood and Legal & General) was revealed last month following an announcement earlier this year that BHIC had been identified by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as one of only six new Life Sciences Opportunity Zones in the UK, and the only one outside the South East.

In October, a detailed public consultation was undertaken, which included live online webinars and an image-led consultation website. Plans are still available to view at www.bhicconsultation.co.uk alongside a recording of one of the webinars.

As part of the public consultation, detailed plans for Phase 1 of the proposed development were revealed, which include a 7-floor, 133,000 sq ft building. Its top three floors will be occupied by the University of Birmingham’s Precision Health Technologies Accelerator, which was the focus of recent investment by the GBSLEP, and will bring together leading experts in genomics, diagnostics, healthcare technology development and evaluation, clinical trials and healthcare data and informatics.

Lakeside view of the Precision Health Technologies Accelerator, Birmingham Health Innovation Campus. Artist’s impression.

The building will also provide space for larger, established SMEs specialising in precision medicine, diagnostics, medtech and digital healthcare. Work on Phase 1, the public spaces, canal link and a temporary car park is due to start in Spring 2021 and complete in 2023, creating 500 new jobs. Expansion of University Station, to provide a tenfold increase in station capacity, is expected to be completed ahead of BHIC opening.

David Hardman, Managing Director, Bruntwood SciTech – Birmingham said: “The health and life sciences sector is thriving in the West Midlands and BHIC will provide valuable space, support and a focal point for start-ups, SMEs and large corporates working in areas such as health innovation, digital health and medtech.”

Steve Taylor, University Director of Strategy & Operations for BHIC said: “We are delighted with the response we have received from the public to our consultation. We have been working on the project for over three years and engaging stakeholders throughout, and it has been good to talk to local residents and to hear the positive feedback on our plans. The general consensus appears to be that people want us to get moving as soon as possible.

“BHIC will provide crucial space for both young and thriving businesses to grow and work with our clinical and academic experts to advance life-saving health innovations. Our current incubation space is at capacity so the first phase of this development will play a critical part in helping encourage new medical start-ups to grow and stay in the West Midlands.”

Andy Street, the Mayor of West Midlands said: “Life sciences is one of the key industries of the future for the West Midlands economy, which will help to provide thousands of high-skilled, high-paid jobs. I am therefore delighted that the Birmingham Health Innovation Campus has taken another step forward with the submission of the plans.

“BHIC is one of the best stories of this pandemic, with Bruntwood SciTech’s mammoth investment showing real confidence in the future of our region’s economy.”

Steve McCabe MP for Selly Oak said: “This planning submission is an important step in delivering a state-of-the-art development that will put Birmingham, and Selly Oak, at the forefront of UK medical research with the prospect of new drugs, treatments and medical technologies. I am looking forward to seeing work start on site in the near future and the innovations we will bring to the world in the longer term.”

The planning application and consultation process was led by planning and strategic communications consultants from Turley’s Birmingham and Manchester offices, alongside a project team which includes architects Sheppard Robson, PlanIt IE and Mott MacDonald.

Once the hybrid planning application has been validated by Birmingham City Council, the Council will undertake a formal 30-day period of public consultation on the plans. Future detailed planning applications will be submitted to develop the rest of the Campus, including a multi-storey car park alongside the Phase 3 development, before the site is completed in 2031.