A listed building in the heart of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter is destined for a new lease of life, after planners secured permission to convert it into apartments.

The Reliance Works, at 41-42 Caroline Street, will be converted into nine apartments and a small commercial unit after planners at Harris Lamb secured permission and listed building consent for the site on behalf of developers The Urban Project.

The Reliance Works, at 41-42 Caroline Street
The Reliance Works is set for a new lease of life

The Urban Project is the new residential arm of CityBlock, an established student accommodation provider with a track record delivering schemes in Lancaster, Durham and Reading. This will be The Urban Project’s first venture in Birmingham, and the scheme is set to demonstrate the high-quality product for which they are becoming known.

Sam Silcocks

Sam Silcocks, of Harris Lamb’s planning team, said: “This is a well-known building and an excellent example of the early historic evolution of buildings within the Jewellery Quarter, which are now considered to be of international significance. 

“The building is in a very poor state of repair and in need of significant investment to secure its long-term future. With The Urban Project’s considered and meticulous approach to working with the historic character and value of the building, we were delighted to achieve the relevant permissions from Birmingham City Council.

“Planning policy would normally resist a residential scheme in this location.  However, through detailed negotiations with the Local Planning Authority, it was agreed that a residential conversion would be appropriate to make the conversion viable and to secure the future of this important site.”

The Reliance Works was formerly occupied by jewellery box manufacturers Pickering and Mayell, but as the business’ operation reduced over time, the firm eventually relocated the remaining part of their operation to another building in the Jewellery Quarter. 

Sam added: “With no investment into the building for a long time, work is urgently needed to stop the building declining further and this important and striking listed building being lost.  So we were very keen to give it the attention it deserves and bring it back into use.”

The Urban Project is now working with an architect based in the Jewellery Quarter to fine-tune the plans, and the build process will also be overseen by Harris Lamb.

Andrew Bargh, Development Manager of CityBlock and The Urban Project, said: “The Reliance Works is a stunning building and we’re very excited to have secured permission to restore and convert such an historic site, which will bring much-needed new homes to the market in Birmingham.   

“Our expansion into the residential sector was always intended to leverage our many years of expertise in delivering sensitive restorations and high quality accommodation. We’re therefore delighted that the Local Planning Authority has been receptive to our vision and we can’t wait to begin the process of bringing The Reliance Works back to life.”     

Work on the conversion is set to start in early 2020 and the apartments and unit will be brought to the market later in the year.