Glasswater Locks, Birmingham
Regeneration Case Study

  • 2.62-acre brownfield site in the heart of Birmingham’s Learning Quarter
  • 762 mixed-tenure homes including 37 affordable
  • 20,000 sq ft of commercial space
  • Distinctive canalside setting 
  • Forecast to deliver a 23% biodiversity net gain

At Glasswater Locks, St Joseph is transforming a derelict industrial site on the Digbeth Branch Canal into a distinctive waterside neighbourhood, offering a mix of homes, amenities, shops and high-quality public space. 

Opening up a new gateway between Birmingham's Eastside and the city's vibrant Learning Quarter, Glasswater Locks is in walking distance of Aston University, Birmingham City University and the forthcoming Curzon Street Station. The site will be reconnected to the surrounding community through a network of new pedestrian and cycle routes.

Long Term Brownfield Regeneration

An Aerial Photograph of the Regeneration Site

The site before regeneration

A CGI of Glasswater Locks

CGI of Glasswater Locks

A CGI of Glasswater Locks

CGI of Glasswater Locks

Key Challenges:

  • Complex site involving close working with multiple partners, including Birmingham City Council, Homes England, Canal & River Trust and Birmingham City University 
  • Complex construction logistics to manage the interface with the public and Canal & River Trust-owned towpath and tunnel 
  • Relocation of crane bases as part of enabling works 
  • Delivering a biodiversity net gain on site
An old black and white image of the former Belmont Glassworks

Inspired By The Former Belmont Glassworks

Glasswater Locks sits alongside the Digbeth Branch Canal, with archaeological excavations revealing the base of a Boulton & Watt steam engine, which was part of a pumping station needed to raise water levels along the canal. Excavations also revealed boundary walls and kilns that once belonged to Belmont Glassworks, a company active on site from 1803. 

Glassmaking was one of the city’s major manufacturing industries in the 1800s, with glassworks being established along waterways to provide transportation.

A CGI of Glasswater Locks

Opening Up the Site

With new pathways and sustainable transport infrastructure, the community will be able to access this part of the canal for the first time in generations.

  • New gateway connection between Lawley Middleway and the Digbeth Branch Canal 
  • Improved access points onto the canal 
  • Walking and cycling routes throughout the development
  • A canalside public square
A CGI of Glasswater Locks

Sustainable Design

Glasswater Locks will include a mix of amenities and infrastructure that will encourage active, sustainable lifestyles.

  • Target 23% biodiversity net gain
  • Bird and bat boxes and green and bio-solar roofs will be incorporated throughout the development to further enhance and support existing wildlife
  • Energy efficient building fabric
  • Walking and cycling routes throughout the development
  • Electric car charging infrastructure and 762 secure cycle spaces 
  • Sustainable urban location close to existing transport and social infrastructure
An image of people on a construction site

Local Jobs and Skills Development

The Glasswater Locks Employment and Skills Plan provides a mix of skills training, apprenticeships and job opportunities for local people.

  • 16.5% of directly employed staff are apprentices, graduates or in training
  • Supporting local Berkeley Foundation charity partners, including MyBnK, Crisis and St Basils
  • Partnership with The Change Foundation to deliver the Street Elite programme
  • Working with The Skills Centre to offer structured pre-employment training to support Birmingham residents into construction careers
  • Partnership with the Passion Project to offer construction training to ex-offenders in construction
  • Collaboration with Ladder for Birmingham to support residents into employment and training

Site Plan

An Illustration of the finished development

Travel Timeline

Curzon Street Station

0.4 miles

Iconised image of a bicycle

3 mins

Iconised image of a person walking

6 mins

Moor Street Station

0.8 miles

Iconised image of a bicycle

6 mins

Iconised image of a person walking

16 mins

New Street Station

1 mile

Iconised image of a bicycle

8 mins

Iconised image of a person walking

20 mins

Snow Hill Station

1.3 miles

Iconised image of a bicycle

5 mins

Iconised image of a person walking

18 mins

Our Partners

Planning Authority: Birmingham City Council 

Architect: Howells Architects

Landscape and Ecology: Murdoch Wickham | Ecology by Design 

Local Partners: Canals & Rivers Trust | Birmingham City University | Birmingham City Council