The Colmore Row conservation area, laid following an Act of Parliament obtained by Ann Colmore in 1746, is one of the few parts of central Birmingham to have escaped wholesale redevelopment. The buildings are now largely Victorian and early twentieth century but include notable 1820s and 1830s works by distinguished architects such as Charles Edge and John Fallowes. Colmore Row is not, though, immune to city centre development pressures and isolated incursions, chief among them the 1970s former NatWest tower, have eroded its character. British Land bought the redundant tower in November 2006 and have sought to replace it with an even more gargantuan building rising to thirty-five storeys. This would dominate key views along a number of the most important and best-preserved thoroughfares in the conservation area, considerably affecting the setting of the Town Hall (Joseph Hansom and Edward Welch 1832-34) and more particularly Thomas Archerís cathedral (1709-1725).
We have joined forces with the Victorian Society to oppose the development scheme, which has also been criticised by the Commission for Architecture and English Heritage, but the City Council appear determined to grant consent.