Digbeth Forum

Nechells Ward Councillor Tahir Ali, recently established an advisory group in Digbeth. Digbeth Residents Association are pleased to sit on the Digbeth Forum, which represents the views of businesses and residents.

The Birmingham Mail reported on the main issue for discussion at the first Digbeth Forum meeting: HS2 and its possible effects. The main concern was that the new station could isolate Digbeth and restrict any economic growth. The HS2 proposals as they currently stand would have major implications for connectivity; New Canal Street and Fazeley Street would be closed during the seven-year construction phase, blocking any movement between the city core and Digbeth.

Lucan Gray, owner of the Custard Factory, said: “We are in overall support of the HS2 proposals but our concern is the development could create an impermeable barrier between us and the remainder of the city core. This could seriously affect the economic prosperity and the on-going regeneration of Digbeth and its contribution to Birmingham’s wealth generation and identity.”

The next meeting of the Digbeth Forum is planned to take place at South and City College‘s Digbeth campus this week; rest assured that DRA will keep our members updated of any important outcomes.

Up Against The Wall

When: Thursday 7th November, 20:00
Where: The Edge, 79-81 Cheapside, Digbeth, B12 0QH

MSFAC‘s six-month whirlwind programme of exhibitions, gigs, film screening, meals and more has now come to an end, but never fear, the fun continues with Up Against The Wall next week!

In partnership with Friction Arts, UATW is a celebration of Digbeth’s street art and buildings, with an open fire and live music. The event is free and will see digital projections, folk music, conversation and an opportunity for you to get involved if you bring an instrument!

See the Facebook event page here, or the flyer below for more information.

A Peaky Weekend

Our Peaky Blinders Tours are happening this weekend, and it seems everyone wants a piece of the action!

Keith Watson, The Metro’s TV critic, wrote a fantastic review of Peaky Blinders saying it should “take the BBC all of three seconds to sign up this blinding show for a second series.” Read the full review here.

Why aren’t the fashion stores filled with flat caps and waistcoats?

With its cinematic sweep, grinding guitar riffs and a rich stew of a plot that stirred the political and the personal with lively relish, Peaky Blinders was a period drama with swagger. Its tale of gangland desperadoes cutting deals and waging turf wars revealed a side and time of England that’s rarely seen the light of day.

The BBC last week confirmed rumours that a second series has been commissioned. Hurrah!

Digbeth Residents Association has planned four Peaky Tours to celebrate the lawless past of our fair city, and all the tickets were snapped up in under 48 hours! It seems that the show and the prospect of retracing some historic steps in Digbeth has really captured the imaginations of Brummies and those further afield.

The media has also taken a keen interest in the tours: the Birmingham Mail has covered our tours and the speed at which they sold out. Our tour guide, Rosie Pocklington, was interviewed on BBC WM this morning by Pete Morgan; listen again here (scan to 1:55:00 – available for a limited time only).

To top this all off, tune in to BBC Midlands Today this evening to see Rosie giving the team a sneak peak of what to expect this weekend!

We’re really grateful for all this coverage, and just hope the tours live up to the hype! Once things have settled down, we hope to be in a position to announce future tour dates, so make sure to keep checking our website and Twitter pages for updates.

Fire Safety

Please see a message below from the Neighbourhood Watch Network (NHWN):

Dear Neighbourhood Watch members,

At this time of year with Halloween, Diwali and Bonfire Night approaching, as well as the season for lighting wood burners and open fires, please see below for a fire safety flyer.

To read all of our fire safety information in full, please click here.

Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable season,

HS2 Community Forums – Update

Please see below for an update from HS2 Community Forums

Dear Forum Member,

Please find attached the draft meeting notes and actions arising from the Washwood Heath to Curzon Street Community Forum held on the 24th September 2013.

Yours sincerely,

West Midlands Community & Stakeholder Engagement Team| High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd
Community.Forums@hs2.org.uk | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn
High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd, 2nd Floor, Eland House, Bressenden Place, London SW1E 5DU | www.hs2.org.uk

Provide vs. Eastside Projects

Image: An Endless Supply (c)

Our friends at Provide in the Custard Factory, and Eastside Projects, have come together to create an inspirational t-shirt.

The idea came from a quote featured on the billboard above the entrance to Eastside Projects, designed by Digbeth-based design studio An Endless Supply, featuring a quote from Nelson Mandela:

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

With Eastside Projects recently celebrating their fifth birthday and Provide their first anniversary, they wanted to create something that reflected the ethos of both organisations. As Matt Nation at Provide says: “impossible is a challenge rather than an obstacle, and we tend to believe that unrealistic goals should be pursued.”

With the t-shirt concept designed by An Endless Supply, in partnership with Eastside Projects and Provide, this truly is a Made in Digbeth fashion statement. You can buy your own in person at Provide, or online here, to be reminded that whatever you’re up against, if there’s a will, there’s a way!

Jeun Restaurant

When: Saturday 9th November, 18:00-midnight
Where: Jeun Restaurant, Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth, B9 4AA
Tickets: £ various

Jeun Restaurant is the newest addition to Digbeth’s food scene, specialising in Nigerian cuisine.

Based by the pool in the Custard Factory, Jeun Restaurant will be holding a grand launch party on Saturday 9th November. Featuring a fashion show, live music and traditional African dance, and no doubt some delicious and unexpected food!

For more information and tickets, please call the team at Jeun on any of the numbers on the flyer below. To keep up to date with happenings at the restaurant, click here to follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

Envision Flashmob

Digbeth-based charity Envision hit the streets of Digbeth yesterday with their volunteers to clean up.

The young volunteers took time out from their half-term break to address the persistent litter issue in Digbeth, focussing on problem areas identified with support from Digbeth Residents Association.

This flashmob litter pick was part of Envision’s Truth About Youth programme, which aims to change wider perceptions of young people and show that some care about Digbeth just as much as we do! The volunteers collected umpteen bags of rubbish from around Digbeth, highlighting the fact that more does need to be done by Birmingham City Council and the establishments helping to create litter to tidy up after weekend revellers.

As a thank you to Envision, Mace and the young volunteers, Digbeth Residents Association provided a round of hot drinks and cakes in the warm surroundings of the fire at The Spotted Dog. Thank you to John and Sean at The Spotted Dog for opening up especially to give the volunteers a well-earned rest after a hard afternoon’s work!

Gigs at Hennesseys

When: Friday 15th and Friday 29th November
Where: Hennessey’s Bar, 30-31 Allison Street, Digbeth, B5 5TJ

Hennessey’s have recently announced the return of live music to their establishment.

Featuring Madness and UB40 tribute acts, Friday nights are certainly for dancing! If these gigs are a success, Hennessey’s plan to have regular gigs in the new year.

For more information, please see the posters below, or visit the Hennessey’s website.

Planning Victory for Eastside City Park

Digbeth Residents Association are strong supporters of Eastside City Park, and firmly believe in the preservation of Birmingham’s newest park in over 100 years.

Recently, a 24-hour alcohol licence application was made by a convenience store at Masshouse Plaza, which if granted, would have allowed the owners to sell alcohol 24 hours a day. DRA was worried about the implications of such a move on the family-friendly environment of the park.

Chairperson of DRA, John Gordon, raised the issue at the Nechells Ward Meeting, asking all three of our councillors to also personally object to the application. We also made a call to residents of Hive to inform them of the application and its implications.

This week, the announcement was made that the 24-hour alcohol licence would not be granted. DRA are happy with this decision – you can read the full objection submitted including our reasons below. We would like to thank the Nechells Ward Councillors Tahir Ali, Yvonne Mosquito and Chauhdry Rashid for their support, and warmly invite them along with residents of Hive at Masshouse to future DRA meetings.

To: licensing@birmingham.gov.uk
Subject: Alcohol Licence Application at Masshouse Plaza

On behalf of the Friends of Eastside Park, and as the Chair of Digbeth Residents Association, I would wish to have the following objections raised regarding the proposed sale of alcohol by the premises located at Unit 1, Block H1, 2 Masshouse Plaza, B5 5JE.

We believe that the intention to sell alcohol twenty-four hours a day through a hatch will have a detrimental effect on the quality of life for local residents and have a substantial impact on the adjacent £11.75 million Eastside Park development.

Our concerns include the following;

1.01 We believe that the sale of alcohol at these times will lead to increased drunkenness, anti-social behaviour and littering in the new park, likewise the large number of homes that are part of the same development will be affected.

1.02 There is a relatively strong link between alcohol consumption and crime. Therefore, we suspect that this proposal will contribute to increased levels of offending within the park and make it less safe for those who use it or live near it. We request that the views of the local police service are sought and taken into consideration.

1.03 During the summer there were significant problems with littering and safety issues regarding broken glass in areas of the park designed to be safe places for children to play. This will be exacerbated by the proposal.

1.04 We believe that the availability of alcohol in this manner may result in additional safety issues regarding events in the park and we request that the appropriate services are consulted prior to a licence being considered.

1.05 There are concerns about the ‘customer base’ for late night and early morning alcohol sales. If it is only safe to conduct such sales through a hatch, maybe the retailer appreciates that a significant number of his potential customers may be ‘topping up’, having already been out drinking or have other characteristics that require additional safeguards for staff. Safeguards that would not be available to the local residents and the wider public in the area.

1.06. There are no public toilets in the park or adjacent to the retail premises, we suspect that this will result in an increase in a very specific form of anti-social behaviour in the vicinity of the Hive and around Eastside City Park.

1.07 The proposed late sale of alcohol arrangements will result in the premisses becoming a destination point, rather than serving a local community. Therefore, there will be secondary impacts of vehicles parking where there is no real parking provision, and associated noise issues from customers. This might particularly be the case for those who arrive having not managed to buy enough alcohol during the traditional opening times of other retailers.

1.08 We believe that in many ways this proposal is at odds with several of Birmingham City Council’s responsibilities and policies relating to the broader health and well-being of the community, social cohesion, and strategies for enjoying our relatively few green open spaces.

1.09 The proposal has the potential to impact on how the park is used and perceived – a Muslim woman pushing her child’s buggy through the park, surrounded by the the debris of last night’s alcohol consumption; a young family playing in the fountain with broken bottles not far away and an older person who reads about alcohol fuelled incidents of crime -  may never return to the park. We have to take the modest steps that are available to reduce the decline of our urban open spaces, we suggest that this is one such small opportunity.

1.09 We understand that there is a need for retail premises at The Hive, including alcohol sales, but to take this outside of normal retail opening hours would add little to the community, while having the potential to cause significant longer term harm to those who live, work, study or find recreation and entertainment in the area.

Will you please acknowledge our objection, advise us of the next stage of the application process and let us know of any arrangements regarding meetings where decisions are going be made.

Kind regards,

John Gordon
Chair of Digbeth Residents Association
Vice-Chair of The Friends of Eastside Park