Bid to save Ringway goes legal

Campaigners fighting to save a Birmingham city centre landmark have turned to the law in a bid to save it from demolition. The Save Smallbrook group has appointed a senior barrister to challenge the decision to knock down the historic Ringway Centre.

The group has appointed climate and heritage barrister Estelle Dehon KC to challenge the council’s decision. Depending on the outcome of her initial work, the group will then be crowdfunding to develop the campaign.

As we reported this time last year, the original proposals that were approved by Birmingham City Council involved demolishing the Ringway Centre in three phases, replacing it with three new buildings, the tallest of which would be 56 storeys.

Although the Ringway Centre is listed locally as a Grade B heritage asset, the plans would ensure the entire building is demolished – little over six decades since its completion.

Campaigners say this approach is based on both a misunderstanding of the centre’s quality and of environmental considerations – particularly in light of Birmingham’s net zero targets ¬¬– because of the amount of embodied carbon that would be lost by pulling down the building as well as the construction phase.

As an interesting wrinkle to the tale, DemolitionNews understands that the Ringway was once the headquarters of the Midlands and Wales Region of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors under secretary George Bacon, an office it shared with the Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors that collapsed in 1996.