No flames as third time lucky - Student apartment approved in former Birmingham Central Fire Station

On 10th July 2011 I noted plans for the redevelopment of the former Birmingham Central Fire Station, adjacent to Aston University, Aston University clears the way for student high rise living.  The plans by architects K4 saw a 30 storey tower, derided by the planning committee as a tombstone ruining views of Corporation Street, sited in the courtyard of the Grade II listed former Central Fire Station.  In a tale worthy of a soap opera but which has sought to ensure the building is preserved without a tower rising from it's centre, the proposal was rejected and resubmitted so that the 30 storey tower proposal became a 23 storey tower which in turn was also rejected before finally a six storey block within the courtyard, but which is not visible outside of the building, gaining planning permission,£31m-birmingham-fire-station-redevelopment/5048180.article

The removal of the tower element of the proposal has seen the number of student beds almost halve to 463 students but the new approved development will see studio pods in the former ballroom space, alongside the new six storey courtyard block and use of the basement level.    

As well as £8million worth of ‘essential repairs’, the designs include a glazed rooftop extension and a newbuild six storey building set within the old drill yard.

K4 founder Bob Ghosh said: ‘The conversion element incorporates the innovative re-use of the key internal spaces, including the studio ‘pods’ within the barrel-vaulted ballroom space, a private study area within the oak-paneled boardroom, leisure facilities within the engine bays, re-use of the firemen’s flats, and self-contained studio apartments within the drill tower.

With funding secured and work due to begin this Summer, the new student accommodation could open in time for the 2015 student intake.

The following pictures show the former Central Fire Station building on 13 January 2013.

Images of the development from planning application proposal are reproduced below courtesy of


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