West Brom's answer to Singapore vertical gardens unveiled with 15-storey forest

A plant-filled, environmentally friendly apartment building could soon be built in the Black Country.

Architectural applications have been put through to build an eco tower in West Bromwich in the West Midlands. The building will offer 77 apartments, ground-floor shops and have plants growing on the outside of it.

This Wellbeing Tower would replace an existing cinema, which closed its doors in 2002.

Similar projects have been successful in Holland, Italy and China, where buildings have sought to provide lifestyle improvements.

In keeping with its environmental theme, the block would offer more bicycle bays – 92 – than its 45 car parking spaces.

Integrated Designs & Associates Ltd, which submitted the plans, said: ‘The idea is to create a living garden on the outside of the building.

‘We thought people can’t always have gardens in apartment towers, so we’ll bring the garden to them, and create a “garden atmosphere” on their balcony, so every single apartment has a garden accessible to them from their balconies.

‘We call it the Wellbeing Tower because it is designed around that.

‘People should have a place to live, where they may not have access to a big garden, but they have access to a garden facility that will assist them in their living, and as a way of gaining some mental stimulation. It’s important for mental health.’

But not everyone is happy about the development, with many residents fearing the luxurious project in a town ‘clad with grey concrete’ will ‘stick out like a sore thumb’.

Mum Tina Sanders, 29, said: ‘They have not learnt their lesson. Do our town planners not look around the area? It’s run down and derelict and needs more sensible investment than this.

‘A giant green tower block is going to look completely ridiculous in a town clad with grey concrete.

‘Who on earth is going to live in a swanky eco-friendly apartment overlooking West Bromwich?

‘I’m proud to be a Black Country girl but there’s not much to enjoy views of here, I’m afraid.’

Some locals thought the Wellbeing Tower would be built with public money but the building is being proposed privately.

Sandwell Council is just responsible for approving the plans.

Councillor Bawa Singh Dhallu, who represents West Bromwich Central, said: ‘I am not sure myself of the planning into this redevelopment, but I am definitely in favour of regeneration.

‘We had a meeting to discuss the redevelopment. No one has put concerns to me yet, but I would be happy to speak on their behalf if they so wished to.’

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