Application to convert historic Kings Norton pub into apartments as part of new housing development


Developers have submitted plans to Birmingham City Council to convert an historic Kings Norton pub into four apartments and to develop surrounding land with further apartments and houses.

The Navigation in 2012 | Photo Ell R Brown

Subject to several rejected or withdrawn planning applications over recent years, the future of The Navigation on the corner of Wharf Road – opposite The Green – was plunged in to further uncertainty last year.

“The Navi” finally closed its doors as a public house in February 2018 when then owners, brewery Greene King, sold the property.

The proposals

After twelve months of speculation, developers have now submitted a planning application to Birmingham City Council for a housing development on the site – one which includes retaining the pub building itself.

The proposals would see the former pub building converted into 4 two bedroom apartments, with a further 2-3 storey block of 19 one and two bed apartments being constructed on what is now the car park, at the corner of Wharf Road and Pershore Road.

The development would also include 9 three bedroom houses on the remainder of the land.

You can view the full development plans and submit your views on the Birmingham City Council Planning Online site (Application number 2019/02568/PA).

Views encouraged

Urging local residents to submit their views to the council’s Planning Committee, Councillor Alex Aitken (Labour, Kings Norton North) said: “The Navigation Inn is a longstanding centrepoint in the Kings Norton community, and it is vitally important that any development is in tune with what local residents want.

“I’m disappointed that, if the proposals are accepted, that the Navi will no longer be a community asset. However, given the current housing crisis both locally and nationally, I appreciate the need for increased housing. I sincerely hope that any housing as part of this development would be genuinely affordable.”


Cllr Aitken also noted the proximity of the apartments to Kings Norton Primary School and acknowledged concerns expressed by parents of the properties overlooking the playground.

He said: “From the plans it appears as though there is little to no visibility of the school’s playground, but I have contacted the lead planning officer to determine whether this proposal meets the guidelines for any developments within close proximity of a school, as the safety and safeguarding of children should always be prioritised.”

Past threats to the building

While this latest application would retain the building, albeit for a very different use, a number of attempts have been made to change the use of the site over the last few years – several involving the demolition of the existing building.

One of the proposals rejected in 2012

In 2011, then owners The Spirit Pub Company planned to sell the pub to the Co-op. Plans for a grocery store were met with much objection from local residents, politicians and businesses. The campaign against the proposal was successful, with city planners rejecting the application.

Plans were resubmitted again TWICE in 2012, but again campaigners opposed and Birmingham City Council rejected both applications, saying that the pub should not be demolished as it was a heritage asset and used for social and community activities. Planners also felt a modern building on the site would not fit with the character of the Kings Norton Conservation Area.

In 2014, The Spirit Pub Company and Sainsbury’s submitted a new planning proposal to demolish the pub and build a modern grocery store. Again, the proposals were rejected by the council.

The companies persisted and took an appeal to the government’s Planning Inspectorate. In 2015, they received the news that the government’s inspector had turned down their appeal, citing safety concerns and the adverse affect on the Kings Norton Conservation Area.

Have Your Say

You can view the full development plans and submit your views on the Birmingham City Council Planning Online site (Application number 2019/02568/PA). Comments need to be submitted for consideration before 2nd May 2019.

Read all B31 Voices posts on The Navigation Inn 


  1. What has happened to the Royal Warrant that exists on this site. This allowed a market or horse fair to be carried out on the ground. Has this been revoked, or are the planners / council ignoring this warrant ? We already have enough flats what we need is more commercial /industrial space.

  2. Given what happened to the North Worcestershire golf clubhouse today, don’t be surprised if a bout of arson should befall this nice place if permission isn’t granted.


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