Art; Culture & creativity
08 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Hurst Street Christmas Lights in Southside (2018, 2019 and 2020)

A look at the Christmas lights on Hurst Street from Smallbrook Queensway towards the Birmingham Hippodrome and The Arcadian in Southside / Chinese Quarter. The walk through Christmas tree is now in front of the Hippodrome, but it was in Hippodrome Square the year before (when they had astroturf down there but not now).

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A look at the Christmas lights on Hurst Street in Southside (Chinese Quarter / Gay Village) over the last three years. Mostly the same red and yellow Christmas lights on trees, in the Chinese Lantern style. The walk through Christmas tree was first installed in Hippodrome Square in November 2019. It returned in November 2020 outside of the Birmingham Hippodrome.

December 2018

These were taken on the 30th December 2018 (after 4:30pm), after getting off the no 45 bus on Pershore Street. A walk up Hurst Street through the Gay Village. The multicoloured fairy lights on the trees came out a bit blurry.

Hurst St Xmas lights 2018

First look at the red and yellow Christmas lights near The Arcadian as I headed towards the Hippodrome.

Hurst St Xmas lights 2018

A close up of the Hippodrome sign with the red and yellow tree Chinese lantern style Christmas lights.

Hurst St Xmas lights 2018

Dragon Christmas lights in yellow and red on the lampposts on Hurst Street in front of the Genting Casino.

Hurst St Xmas lights 2018

November 2019

Heading down Hurst Street in Southside on the 26th November 2019, just before 5pm, to see the walk through Christmas tree. That year it was on the astroturf on Hippodrome Square. Several people about.

Hurst St Xmas tree 2019

People posing for photos with the walk through Christmas tree.

Hurst St Xmas tree 2019

A few days later on the 29th November 2019, took it again, this was shortly after 4:30pm that evening.

Hurst St Xmas tree 2019

December 2020

On the early evening of the 1st December 2020, I headed down Hurst Street shortly before 5pm.

These fairy lights (below) were on the side of Snobs on Hurst Street.

Hurst St Xmas lights

Looking down Hurst Street along the cycle lane with taxis parked opposite of Genting Casino.

Hurst St Xmas lights

The fairy lights along Genting Casino, Happy Lemon and Mr Egg in the Chinese Quarter.

Hurst St Xmas lights

This year the Christmas tree is in front of the Hippodrome. There wasn't anything on the Hippodrome Square space.

Hurst St Xmas lights

As usual, there is always red lights in the trees outside of the Hippodrome.

Hurst St Xmas lights

First close up shot of the walk through Christmas tree near the Hippodrome and Back to Backs. As a cyclist went past (I don't do long exposure or know how to).

Hurst St Xmas lights

A retake of the Christmas tree, with The Sly Old Fox pub on the left. Closed in the lockdown, probably still closed afterwards in Tier 3 as they can't do takeaways.

Hurst St Xmas lights

The red and yellow Chinese style Christmas lights on the trees in the Gay Village part of Hurst Street near The Dragon Inn and The Arcadian.

Hurst St Xmas lights

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

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40 passion points
Green open spaces
08 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Eastside City Park as it was in 2012 onwards after it opened

The land that was used to build Eastside City Park was hoarded off during 2011. And the park was complete and open by the end of 2012. Here we will look at the park when it was brand new and when it was opened. Taking land that was formerly a car park in front of Millennium Point, and part of which was Albert Street. It also runs alongside Curzon Street. Near the BCU Eastside Campus.

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Eastside City Park

Development of the park took place during 2011 and 2012, and was partially opened in late 2012. It was fully opened by the spring of 2013. The park is near Millennium Point, which included the Thinktank Science Garden and a Kids Park. Access to the Science Garden is usually with youtr entrance ticket to Thinktank.

December 2012

This was during December 2012 when the hoardings had come down. My first look around Eastside City Park. Getting on from Park Street, and walking up the footpath around which used to be Albert Street. In the distance is The Woodman pub and Curzon Street Station. The park was partially opened by the then Leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore on the evening Wednesday 5th December 2012.

Eastside City Park

Looking towards Millennium Point. The tall sculptures near the steps ahead. While new trees had been planted here on the newly laid lawns.

Eastside City Park

The steps when new, with benches to sit on. Looking towards Millennium Point and the Thinktank Science Garden. This was before the skateboarders started to regularly do their tricks here (well where the water fountain jets are to the right of here). Grosvenor Street West is to the left of here (near BOA (Birmingham Ormiston Academy) which leads to Jennens Road.

Eastside City Park

Close up look at the four metal sculptures on the steps. The view to the left is of the former Christopher Wray building and the McLaren Building.

Eastside City Park

Towards Masshouse. The residential block at the front is called Hive.

Eastside City Park

Masshouse without the sculpture columns in the way. To the left is what was called Hotel La Tour (now the Clayton Hotel).

Eastside City Park

Heading along the footpath near Curzon Street with Millennium Point and the Parkside Building on the left. The first building of the Birmingham City University Eastside Campus was complete by the summer of 2013.

Eastside City Park

Now looking back towards Millennium Point. As you could see, the Parkside Building wasn't yet complete.

Eastside City Park

The lawns as they were at the end of 2012. A brand new park, the first one in the City Centre for over a 100 years. Highgate Park was probably the last one to open within what is now the Middle Ring Road (Middleway's).

Eastside City Park

This covered canopy seen on the path from Curzon Street.

Eastside City Park

These early evening photos taken in the middle of December 2012. The Eastside City Park sign with crazy lights near what is now the site of The Emporium Building.

Eastside City Park

I had heard that the park looked good lit up after dark, so checked it out on the way back to my bus from work. This view towards Millennium Point.

Eastside City Park

Rush hour traffic to the left on Curzon Street. Before the University Campus opened here, the park wasn't full of students like it is now. Although Birmingham Metropolitan College has always been based in Millennium Point. And BCU had a presence in there even from the UCE days. At this point BCU were still at their old campus in Perry Barr (to be the site of the Commonwealth Games 2022 village).

Eastside City Park

Some of these shots came out a bit blurry. But you can see the spot lights all over.

Eastside City Park

The white lights lighting up the new trees.

Eastside City Park

Getting close to the area with steps and those four metal sculptures.

Eastside City Park

It was so perfect in December 2012. The paving hadn't got worn like it did in later years.

Eastside City Park

I'm sure many Birmingham photographers have taken these over the years. But I got it early on in December 2012.

Eastside City Park

March 2013

By the middle of March 2013, the park was fully complete. So I had another look around, a few days before it was officially opened in full. This is the curvy benches area under the canopy near the park entrance on Park Street.

Eastside City Park

Benches line this area with plants and new trees. Towards Curzon Street Station and New Canal Street.

Eastside City Park

Towards the Christopher Wray Building and Jennens Court. This is what it looked like 5 years before the Emporium Buillding was built here.

Eastside City Park

A few days later it was the day that Eastside City Park was officially opened on the 16th March 2013. Saw this banner.

Eastside City Park

Over there on the area where the water jet fountains are, was the official opening ceremony. Councillor Sir Albert Bore (then Leader of Birmingham City Council) was talking about how he envisioned a park when they started the Eastside development back in 1999.

Eastside City Park

This view from the steps near the metal sculptures towards the official event formally opening the park in full. The railway line behind with a London Midland train heading in or out of Birmingham New Street Station.

Eastside City Park

Water fountain jets

The water fountain jets seen in Eastside City Park during June 2013. Kids used to play in these like the ones in Centenary Square (that opened in summer 2019). And in later years, skateboarders would do tricks here.

Eastside City Park

This view from April 2014. The water jets would get quite high. In recent years though, these have not been turned on. Especially since Ice Skate Birmingham had their Big Wheel and Ice Rink here in the winter period of 2018 / 19 (they were on HS2 land on Eastside Green in the winter of 2017 / 18).

Eastside City Park

The Canal

Near Millennium Point and the Parkside Building was this canal. There is bridges that crossed it. In April 2013 it looked quite new and in good condition.

Eastside City Park

But by June 2014, the walls where the water jets came out of looked quite rusted around the holes. And hard marks down the side. This night shot was from December 2014. In the last several times that I've been past here, this has not even been turned on or even full of water. Unless rain water filled it up. Hopefully it can be cleaned and turned back on.

Eastside City Park

In late July 2019 the state of the canal near the Farmhouse Dairy Ice Cream block. Hardly much water in it. There must be a reason why the Council hasn't turned it on in a while?

Eastside City Park

More recent views to date

This view of Millenniumt Point taken from Eastside City Park during December 2016. On a lovely blue sky day. This was sometime after 11am on Boxing Day 2016 so hardly anyone around!

Millennium Point

Snow on the side border during February 2017. Wasn't much other snow around here.

Eastside City Park

Snow in Eastside City Park during March 2018. Well here it was quite slushy and icy. The Emporium Building seen under construction.

Eastside City Park

More snow on the grass than on the paving. No one around at midday on the 18th March 2018.

Eastside City Park

This was after dark in January 2019. the Emporium Building was complete by then. Heading into the park, this would be the last time you could see Ice Skate Birmingham at the other end of the park. As they were starting to dismantle the ice rink.

Eastside City Park

What had happened to the grass in Eastside City Park in March 2019? It looked like this. All patchy. They had to replace the grass during the spring of 2019. I may have applied a filter on this phone shot that I took.

Eastside City Park

By May 2019, just soil where the ice rink had been of Ice Skate Birmingham from November 2018 to January 2019. It was raining in the park. As you can see the water jet fountains were still off. And the only water you could see was rain water. HS2 land all hoarded off to the far left. Trees all lush and green though.

Eastside City Park

What a transformation to the grass by July 2019! They had laid new grass. The trees all full of green leaves.

Eastside City Park

Hopefully the grass can stay like this into 2020. These days the park is full of students from Birmingham City University. This view towards Millennium Point.

Eastside City Park

The Woodman pub has been reopen for several years now. Various people walking through the park as I saw this cyclist go past. I think I headed down New Canal Street into Digbeth from here. The tower of Exchange Square Phase I was getting bricked up.

Eastside City Park

These days struggle to find something to take photos of in Eastside City Park. In August 2019, saw this unusual bike outside of The Woodman. Babboe City. A cargo bike.

Eastside City Park

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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80 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
04 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Annatomix Birmingham street art trail

Annatomix is one of Birmingham's most well known street artists with her unique style of foxes done in origami. Her pieces can be found around Digbeth and Southside. There is also a Birmingham mural in Grand Central, just as you exit or enter from the ramp. She is also known for her David Bowie pieces.

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ANNATOMIX

Come with Birmingham We Are and one of their followers of street art Elliott on a digital tour of the street art of Brummie legend Annatomix. Known for her distinctive origami style foxes. She also famously did a piece of David Bowie in Southside (which she had to repaint after multiple vandal attacks). Why can't they leave her art alone?

More digital street art trails coming soon. So watch this space.

 

Digbeth

Location: At Warwick Bar (on the opposite side of the River Rea Aqueduct) on the Grand Union Canal (Digbeth Branch). Close to The Bond, Fazeley Street, Digbeth, B5 5SE. 

Date found: February 2018.

Annatomix Origami Fox

Annatomix Fox

 

Location: Under the Bordesley Viaduct, Custard Factory, Digbeth, B9 4AA.

Date found: April 2018.

Annatomix Origami Fox

Annatomix Fox

 

Location: Under the Bordesley Viaduct, Custard Factory, Digbeth, B9 4AA.

Date found: April 2018.

Annatomix Origami Rabbit

Annatomix Fox

 

Location: Close to Heath Mill Lane entrance and Greenhouse, Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth, B9 4AA.

Date found: February 2019.

Annatomix Giant Origami Cat and a Small Rabbit

Annatomix Cat

 

Southside

Location: Close to Birmingham Master Locksmiths, Dudley Street, B5 4RU.

Date found: February 2016.

Annatomix Bowie

Her original tribute to the late singer David Bowie who passed away in January 2016, age of 69.

Annatomix Bowie

 

Location: Close to Birmingham Master Locksmiths, Dudley Street, B5 4RU.

Date found: January 2019.

Annatomix Bowie

Version 2, as vandals kept damaging the 2016 piece, but they would target this one as well.

Annatomix Bowie

 

Location: Close to Birmingham Master Locksmiths, Dudley Street, B5 4RU.

Date found: February 2020.

Annatomix Bowie

A repair to the eyes scratched out with a blindfold, sadly vandals kept targetting her work.

Annatomix Bowie

Detail of the new blindfold and black star above Bowie's head.

Annatomix Bowie

 

Location: Next to Rodroj Fish and Chips, 25-27 Smallbrook Queensway, B5 4HE.

Date found: November 2020.

Annatomix Origami Fox

Sadly vandalised by the time of my visit, hopefully she can fix it.

Annatomix Fox

 

Grand Central

Location: Opposite NatWest, East Mews, Grand Central Birmingham, B2 4BF.

Date found: February 2019.

Annatomix Mural of Birmingham

Featuring the Library of Birmingham, Rotunda, Selfridges, Birmingham New Street Station and Birmingham Canals (passing people in the way at the time).

Annatomix Birmingham Mural

 

Location: Opposite NatWest, East Mews, Grand Central Birmingham B2 4BF.

Date found: November 2020.

Annatomix Mural of Birmingham

With the Library of Birmingham, Rotunda, Bullring Bull and Selfridges (no people in the way due to lockdown).

Annatomix Birmingham Mural

 

Street art by Annatomix. Click the link to the left to visit her website.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
03 Dec 2020 - Daniel Sturley
News & Updates

Birmingham's 103 Colmore Row is now externally completed!

103 Colmore Row is now externally completed with the last few panels installed on 26th November. The building is stunning and looks so different from different angles and in various lighting conditions. Take the full article for construction photos up to December 1st.

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15th November 2020

Photos by Daniel Sturley

16th November 2020

Photos by Elliott Brown

20th November 2020

22nd November 2020

23rd November 2020

Photos by Daniel Sturley

26th November 2020

Photos by Elliott Brown

26th November 2020

Photos by Daniel Sturley

30th November 2020

Photo by Elliott Brown

1st December 2020

Photos by Daniel Sturley

See the full gallery with many more photos not highlighted in this update:

https://www.itsyourbuild.com/kms/dmart.aspx?strTab=ProjectTimeline&PageType=item&filter_ViewArticle=N&filter_ViewPosts=N&filter_ViewGallery=Y&filter_SurveyId=105543#Content

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90 passion points
Construction & regeneration
03 Dec 2020 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

UPDATE: 5 Centenary Square Now 10 Storeys

Due to market confidence in Birmingham, the landmark office building has now been increased to 10 storeys tall on the back of tenant demand.

Here are the latest renderings for the next building to kick off at Arena Central.

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The 10-storey building (264,340K) comprises speculative office space, with top floor external terrace, basement car parking, and the creation of a new public realm.

The development offers large, flexible floorplates with a central core, and will accommodate a variety of tenants: either a single occupier, a few major tenants, or several smaller tenancies.

It'll feature a basement and two levels of rooftop plant rooms on top; alongside a ground floor reception facing onto Centenary Square, with lower and upper ground floor office space to the rear and 8 storeys of office floorspace above.

The basement will contain vehicular parking for 32 cars (including 2 for disabled use), alongside 160 cycle spaces with showers and changing facilities. Access will be taken via a shared ramp from Bridge Street. Charging points for electric vehicles will be added if there is significant demand.

In terms of design, 5CS has been designed as a contemporary interpretation of the Portland stone & granite materials used by listed builds nearby.

Using alternate solid and glazed panels creates a simple, bold chequerboard pattern that emphasises the curved corner, and relates to the context of Centenary Square.

Updated renderings the property of MAKE Architects.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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30 passion points
Green open spaces
03 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Another visit to Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills

Only really had time for one park walk during the second lockdown (before I had to go back to work in the middle of November 2020). We went to Beacon Hill a the Lickey Hills Country Park (by car). After getting the skyline view updates, we walked into the woods, down and around the muddy paths. Got as far as a stream before going back up. The woods were covered in leaves and was quite wet.

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Beacon Hill into the woods with mud

The weather in November 2020, hasn't been great. We were in lockdown again for 4 weeks. So couldn't go far unless going in the car. And I wouldn't go back to work in the City Centre until the middle of the month (by which time the weather had improved a bit).

Before then we went in the car to Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park on the 10th November 2020. Was a bit cloudy. First priority was to get updates of the skyline. Then we had a bit of a walk down the hill into the woods. Some paths were quite muddy and wet, so shoes and jeans got covered in the muck.

Some signposts pointed to the Rose & Crown and Monument Lane. Although we ended up not getting close to either of those (apart from the road with the stream).

 

Birmingham Skyline, November 2020

First up checking out the Birmingham Skyline. New to the skyline is 103 Colmore Row and The Mercian.

Beacon Hill skyline

As well as The Bank Tower's 1 & 2.

Beacon Hill skyline

You can see why they call Birmingham the City of trees!

Beacon Hill skyline

If you zoom in a bit, you can see Old Joe at the University of Birmingham on the skyline with The Sentinels and the Beetham Tower.

Beacon Hill skyline

Zooming in from Beacon Hill to see 103 Colmore Row to the left of The Cube.

Beacon Hill skyline

103 Colmore Row was seen behind Chamberlain Tower at The Vale Village (University of Birmingham).

Beacon Hill skyline

The zoom in to The Mercian finds it in front of The BT Tower. The Bank Towers's 1 & 2 seen to the left.

Beacon Hill skyline

You also have the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and Park Regis Birmingham Hotel in this view.

Beacon Hill skyline

Beacon Hill Toposcope

All my main Toposcope photos were taken back during my earlier May 2013 visit so wasn't going to take any new shots of it. But took this pair after the muddy walk down and around the woods as we headed back to the car park.

Beacon Hill Toposcope

Was good to be back at the top of the hill, after getting a bit lost around the woods as you will see below. Nice to see the Toposcope again!

Beacon Hill Toposcope

Around the woods in the mud

At first the path in the woods close to the top of the hill looked quite dry.

Beacon Hill woods

There was leaves all over the ground below the trees.

Beacon Hill woods

The further you got in, the more autumnal it looked, but off the paths.

Beacon Hill woods

Up to the fingerpost. Rose & Crown to the left, Monument Lane to the right.

Beacon Hill woods

Behind the fingerpost, the hill going down. Don't walk down this bit!

Beacon Hill woods

We first headed towards the Rose & Crown. But the path got muddy the further you went down, so we went back up.

Beacon Hill woods

Now heading in the direction of Monument Lane, some trees still have leaves on in yellows and greens.

Beacon Hill woods

Still a bit muddy as we went down the hill.

Beacon Hill woods

Getting further down and there was a lot of leaves on the path.

Beacon Hill woods

Some green fields nearby.

Beacon Hill woods

End of this path near the steps, was very muddy with a puddle, but found another way around.

Beacon Hill woods

This way seemed less muddy down to the stream.

Beacon Hill woods

The stream near the road. I think this was closer to Rose Hill, but we didn't head that way.

Beacon Hill woods

Other side of the stream, lined with rocks. We headed this way.

Beacon Hill woods

Heading up a bit, this path looked dry.

Beacon Hill woods

Saw a bridge over the stream and steps, so headed up this short cut to get back up to the Toposcope.

Beacon Hill woods

Leaves on the path as we went back up.

Beacon Hill woods

Back on the main path back up to the top of the hill.

Beacon Hill woods

Not far now as there was daylight behind the trees.

Beacon Hill woods

Back up at the top with the field at the top of Beacon Hill.

Beacon Hill woods

 

For my original post on Beacon Hill go to this post here: Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
03 Dec 2020 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

NEW: Morville Street Apartments for Ladywood

An application has finally surfaced for the redevelopment of Morville Street, which will see a key marker building built within the forthcoming Ladywood Masterplan.

Follow the post for a quick overview of the site and all the renderings.

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It's one we've watched quite closely as it's progressed through pre-application. Now the application has arrived!

This is Morville Street Apartments from Morville Street Properties Ltd (Mark Holbeche of Regal Property Group & William Houle of Trigram Properties).

Located at the corner of Morville Street and Ladywood Middleway, it has been designed by Glancy Nicholls Architects.

  • Demolition of the site;
  • Construction of a new 14-storey apartment block;
  • 80 one/two-bed apartments (41% one/59% two);
  • 2,594sqft roof garden;
  • Community amenity spaces;
  • 'work from home' space;
  • No car parking/ 80 cycles provided instead.

The red brick building has been designed with the placing of two blocks set at points with different angles, and as noted above, it provides a key marker building into the forthcoming Ladywood Masterplan.

All renderings & drawings are the property of Glancy Nicholls Architects

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Photography
01 Dec 2020 - Karl Newton
Gallery

A visit to Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham

A selection of photography from a visit to Cannon Hill Park taken during summer

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Photography Karl Newton

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70 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
01 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Broad Street Tunnel under the Black Sabbath Bridge

Near the end of the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline is the Broad Street Tunnel, between Brindleyplace and Gas Street Basin. In 2019, the bridge above it was renamed as the Black Sabbath Bridge in honour of the famous metal group who had been rocking for 50 years.

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Broad Street Tunnel

The Broad Street Tunnel is located on the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline between Brindleyplace and Gas Street Basin. Above it (from 2019) is the renamed Black Sabbath Bridge. Bars over the Gas Street Basin end include the Australian Bar Walkabout and the Indian O Bar. The BCN Main Line was built during the early 1770s with the canal engineer James Brindley. The canal reached Old Wharf through the tunnel by 1773. This was originally the Paradise Street Branch which left what is now Old Turn Junction towards Paradise Street. Today the canal ends at Gas Street Basin, and beyond what was Old Wharf is all filled in (the Arena Central development site).

At the side of the tunnel near Brindleyplace and The ICC, used to be a church, called the Church of the Messiah, this existed from the 1860s (when it was built above the tunnel), but was demolished in 1978.

In 2019 (for about 3 months), the tunnel was closed to allow the Midland Metro Alliance to strengthen the road above to enable the laying of tram tracks between Centenary Square and Hagley Road (just beyond Five Ways). After these works were complete, the bridge above the tunnel was renamed the Black Sabbath Bridge. Where the Black Sabbath Bench was placed (it has now gone into storage due to the Metro extension works). Instead there is temporary hoardings with images of the four members of Black Sabbath, so that fans can take selfies with them (Geezer, Ozzy, Tony and Bill).

2009

The Broad Street Tunnel seen from Gas Street Basin during June 2009. From the footbridge at the Worcester Bar. Today there is bars on all three sides including, the Tap & Spile, O Bar and Walkabout.

Broad Street Tunnel

Narrowboats taking people through the tunnel below The O Bar.

Broad Street Tunnel

On top of the Broad Street Tunnel during December 2009, with The O Bar and Walkabout on Broad Street. The O Bar is at the corner with Gas Street and is a Grade II listed building at 266 and 266X Broad Street. Build in 1875 of red brick and some stone by Martin & Chamberlain. Also at 2 Gas Street.

Broad Street Bridge

Next door to the left is Walkabout, The Australian Bar, which is in a Grade II listed building at 266A and 267 Broad Street. Built in 1860 of red brick with coloured tiles in Venetian Gothic Style.

Broad Street Bridge

2010

Heading through the Broad Street Tunnel during June 2010. Beware of the low headroom and the width of the tunnel varies. Towpaths on both sides.

Broad Street Tunnel

Near the end of the tunnel, getting close to Brindleyplace (to the left) and The ICC and Symphony Hall (to the right).

Broad Street Tunnel

From the other side of the Broad Street Tunnel. There is steps on the left up to Broad Street. That demolished church used to be located up above around this spot until the late '70s.

Broad Street Tunnel

Through those bars on Broad Street used to be a good view of The NIA. There was also Ozzy Osbourne's Broad Street Walk of Fame star up there.

Broad Street Tunnel

2017

In August 2017 heading over the Broad Street Bridge on the bus. Early stages of roadworks for the Midland Metro extension on Broad Street. The Crown / Reflex 80s Bar on the left, Walkabout on the right.

Broad Street Bridge

By December 2017, cars were having to turn right onto Gas Street, as construction of the first Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square was underway. Ony buses and taxies were allowed beyond this point.

Broad Street Bridge

2018

By November 2018 I was aware that the tunnel was due to be closed from January 2019 for 3 months, so got some photos before the closure.

Broad Street Tunnel

As usual, had to duck as I walked through the tunnel.

Broad Street Tunnel

If you stay on the towpath on this side, you walk around past Regency Wharf towards what was Old Wharf at Bridge Street. A couple of months later the tunnel would be closed for the Midland Metro Alliance works.

Broad Street Tunnel

2019

On the Broad Street Bridge, above the tunnel in January 2019. By this point the tunnel below was closed. And was a lot of restrictions in place at road level as well. All of this for the Midland Metro Alliance works.

Broad Street Bridge

From January 2019 the Broad Street Tunnel was closed for a period of about 3 months. This view from Brindleyplace towards Walkabout and O Bar.

Broad Street Tunnel

From the footbridge at Gas Street Basin, you could see that the towpath on both sides were closed.

Broad Street Tunnel

Scaffolding had been placed over the towpaths and the canal.

Broad Street Tunnel

The barriers, scaffolding and the signs made for some nice reflections at the time.

Broad Street Tunnel

There was also a line of yellow buoys in the canal. No boats could come this way for three months. Would be a long winter diversion.

Broad Street Tunnel

Later in January 2019 for another look from Gas Street Basin. Now was some white sheets over the scaffolding.

Broad Street Tunnel

Another look in early March 2019. The Broad Street Tunnel was still closed. View from the Brewmasters Bridge over the Brindleyplace Bridge.

Broad Street Tunnel

Near the end of March 2019, the tunnel was open again for the first time in 3 months.

Broad Street Tunnel

Saw a narrowboat go through for the first time since the end of 2018.

Broad Street Tunnel

First this narrowboat was going through the tunnel, followed by the Waterbus.

Broad Street Tunnel

From the Gas Street Basin end, caught the red Waterbus from Sherborne Wharf heading through the tunnel.

Broad Street Tunnel

Hard to believe that the tunnel had been closed for three months. Was nice to see boats going through it again.

Broad Street Tunnel

The Black Sabbath Bench seen during July 2019 on top of the Black Sabbath Bridge. Which is above the Broad Street Tunnel. It was later removed in October 2019 for the Metro extension works to take place up here.

Black Sabbath Bench

Back in August 2019, I saw this red narrowboat coming out of the Broad Street Tunnel. Was raining at the time.

Broad Street Tunnel

It was steaming away as I crossed over the Brindleyplace Footbridge.

Broad Street Tunnel

From this September 2019 view (below), you could see that the bridge above the Broad Street Tunnel was now called the Black Sabbath Bridge. This was renamed over the summer of 2019. Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler came to Birmingham in June 2019 to unveil the Black Sabbath Bench and rename the bridge above the canal tunnel.

Black Sabbath Bridge

The Black Sabbath Bench was in place on the Black Sabbath Bench, above the Broad Street Tunnel.

Black Sabbath Bridge

Around October 2019 on the Black Sabbath Bridge, the Black Sabbath Bench had been removed to storage, as the Midland Metro Alliance prepared to build the next extension towards Five Ways.

Black Sabbath Bridge

Also in October 2019, I caught this tourist narrowboat emerging from the Broad Street Tunnel to Gas Street Basin. Was another Sherborne Wharf narrowboat called Bosworth Lady.

Broad Street Tunnel

 During December 2019, a view of Black Sabbath Selfie with images of the four rockers, Geezer, Ozzy, Tony and Bill.

Black Sabbath Bridge

2020

The Black Sabbath Bridge seen during February 2020. My last shot of the Broad Street Tunnel before the lockdown.

Black Sabbath Bridge

It wouldn't be until July 2020 (due to months of the lockdown), before I would see the Black Sabbath Selfie hoardings again on Broad Street. This was the first time in about 4 months that I'd seen it again.

Black Sabbath Bridge

A lot of progress had taken place during lockdown to lay tracks along Broad Street, and that included above the Black Sabbath Bridge. At certain points is crossings with gates, but this changes from time to time. Expect trams to cross over here by the end of 2021.

Westside metro extension

At the beginning of August 2020, I followed the Victoria 2012 narrowboat from the Salvage Turn Bridge near The Cube and The Mailbox, towards the Brindleyplace Footbridge. Families once again getting trips on the canal like this.

Broad Street Tunnel

Close to the end of August 2020, I got some more shots of the Broad Street Tunnel. Starting from Gas Street Basin. Much quieter due to the pandemic, even with lockdown restrictions eased.

Broad Street Tunnel

Hardly anyone in the tunnel, at least until I had to wait for some people to walk past me, due to social distancing.

Broad Street Tunnel

As usual, had to duck my head as I walked through both sections of the tunnel.

Broad Street Tunnel

Before heading to Brindleyplace, one last look at the Broad Street Tunnel. With the Black Sabbath Bridge above. Still the Black Sabbath Selfie hoardings on Broad Street for the time being. A lot of the tracks have been laid above.

Broad Street Tunnel

One more view days before the end of August 2020. Before heading up the steps to Broad Street. The Brasshouse and Celebrity Restaurant are to the right. The ICC Mall is still closed, so this is one of the routes to Centenary Square you can go.

Broad Street Tunnel

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
30 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

From Baubles at Paradise to Christmas lights around the Colmore BID

There is three red Christmas Baubles on Centenary Way at Paradise Birmingham. Meanwhile the Colmore Business District Christmas lights have been turned on during late November 2020, including around Cathedral Square and an artificial Christmas tree at Colmore Square. They look good both in daylight and after dark.

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Paradise Birmingham

Located on Centenary Way is this trio of red Christmas Baubles from Paradise Birmingham, outside of One Chamberlain Square.

'Tis the season to enjoy

Paradise Baubles

'Tis the season of goodwill

Paradise Baubles

'Tis the season to stay safe

Paradise Baubles

Colmore Business District

At Cathedral Square around Birmingham Cathedral St Philip's are these winged angels playing a trumpet, on the ornamental lampposts. They look good in daylight or after dark.

Colmore BID Xmas lights

View towards the BT Tower.

Colmore BID Xmas lights

Towards Temple Row.

Colmore BID Xmas lights

Towards Temple Street.

Colmore BID Xmas lights

After dark towards the Cathedral.

Colmore BID Xmas lights

Colmore BID Trio of Angels

The main feature this Christmas is the Colmore BID trio of Angels. The Colmore Row side towards Birmingham Cathedral. Looks good at midday.

Colmore Angels

The three Angels also looks good after dark towards Colmore Row.

Colmore Angels

Only two years ago there was a Christmas Market here, I suppose these Angel's makes up for that not being here this time around.

Colmore Angels

Colmore Square

The Christmas tree in Colmore Square this year is an artificial one from the Colmore Business District. Changes from year to year. Caught a tram going past at midday.

Colmore Square Xmas tree

I later took another photo after dark of the Christmas tree lit up towards The Wesleyan.

Colmore Square Xmas tree

There is no Christmas tree (or decorations) outside of Birmingham Snow Hill Station this year, probably due to the public realm works outside (or they haven't put it up yet).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

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40 passion points
People & community
30 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Halloween Decorations around Kings Heath on the 31st October 2020

We are closer to a Covid Christmas now than Halloween. But on the afternoon of the 31st October 2020, I had one last walk around Kings Heath before the 2nd lockdown announcment. Mainly to see those flower planters on closed roads. But also saw Halloween decorations in front of houses, in windows etc. Pumpkins, skeletons, cobwebs!

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HALLOWEEN KINGS HEATH, 31ST OCTOBER 2020

A month late, but Happy Halloween! The Nightmare Before Christmas! It was heavily raining on the morning of the 31st October 2020, and with a dry spell in the afternoon, I got the 11C bus to Kings Heath. Mainly to see the Low Traffic Neighbourhood around Kings Heath. But couldn't help notice some houses had Halloween decorations out at the time. It was rumoured that another lockdown was coming, but it wasn't confirmed until later that day.

 

Halloween bunting spotted on a hedge on Colmore Road in Kings Heath.

Halloween Kings Heath

 

Passing Vicarage Road and Kings Heath Park and onto Avenue Road. Saw this window with these decorations inside. The Day of the Dead!

Halloween Kings Heath

 

Then onto Highbury Road. Social Distance Trick or Treaters Welcome Here! Skeleton on the wall.

Halloween Kings Heath

 

Later after seeing the last of the LTN flower planters went down Springfield Road to get the 11A bus home.

Various Halloween decorations around this tree plus a hand!

Halloween Kings Heath

Cobwebs around this telegraph pole and on the bushes.

Halloween Kings Heath

More Halloween decorations in this window with the blue plaque for Miss Minnie May (who was a Teacher of Dressmaking that lived here in 1939).

Halloween Kings Heath

Near the end of the road was this pair of carved pumpkins. Looks like a bat.

Halloween Kings Heath

A more traditional scary Halloween pumpkin carving!

Halloween Kings Heath

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
26 Nov 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Digbeth Bus Garage, Phase 1, Set For Approval

Exciting plans for the regeneration of Digbeth Bus Garage has taken a major step forward with Phase 1 & the outline plots 2-6 recommended for approval on December 3rd, 2020.

In total, a bustling community containing 1,250 new homes, up to 950 student accommodation, and vibrant ground floor commercial uses, will be formed.

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The application not only sees the full planning application of Phase 1: The Metalworks, but also introduces outline plans for plots 2-6, which will arrive in more depth over the coming years.

Spread over two parcels of land (see above), the redevelopment will help trigger wider regeneration growth in the area as supported by the Curzon Masterplan.

At present, the northern parcel is inhabited by National Express as a bus depot, with the southern parcel currently used as a car park.

Collaborating with National Express, HUB Group and their project team have formulated these below plans that will give NE the opportunity to move to new, efficient purpose-built facilities as they move towards an all-electric fleet over the next 10 years.

PHASE 1: METALWORKS

  • Demolition of existing buildings & structures;
  • Construction of part 7, 12 & 15 storey building;
  • 213 residential units (104 one, 103 two & 6 three bedrooms);
  • 1,375sqm non-residential flexible floorspace at ground floor (retail, food and beverage uses, office, community/cultural and/or leisure);
  • Communal amenity garden for residents at 1st and 7th floors;
  • 32 parking spaces and 222 cycle spaces;
  • 10 affordable units (low cost home ownership at a discount of 20%);
  • 350sqm affordable workspaces at 70% of market rent.

The site includes the demolition of Pandora's, partial demolition of Digbeth Bus Garage and the wall on Liverpool Street (see Google Street Maps).

Large swathes of the existing wall are to be sensitively retained, arches intact, and blended into Plot 1 and any future Plot 4 scheme, and used for commercial purposes.

The tallest element is at the south-east corner of Adderley Street, which rises to 15 storeys, with the central area dropping down to 7 before ascending to 12 storeys at the junction of Liverpool Street.

This the most prominent corner which directly addresses the expected Midland Metro Tram stop in front of the site. The building will undoubtedly set the benchmark for further regeneration in the area.

Besides the apartments, a communal first & landscaped seventh-floor amenity garden will be incorporated, designed intending to create a healthy and altogether sustainable environment to live and work in.

1,375sqm of ground floor commercial frontages will be mixed into the scheme, providing a variety of uses along Liverpool Street and Adderley Street.

These units are likely to house some of the following: a convenience food-store; retail; food and beverage units; offices; community/cultural uses; and/or leisure units. 

These will be subject to occupier demand.

 

A policy compliant 35% affordable housing has been confirmed as not being financially viable. After careful negotiation, 10 units will be made available across Plot 1, with up to 51 units on Plots 2-6.

Provision for affordable workspaces will also be delivered across a minimum of 50% of the ground floor commercial area across the entire site and will be available at 70% market rent.

Plot 1 will feature 350sqm, with Plots 2 to 6 including a minimum of 1,596sqm and a maximum of 5,050sqm.

Right-click on the below image for a closer look at the phases.

PHASES 2-6: Outline application & subject to more in-depth details (design & resi mix etc) over the coming years.

  • Buildings ranging from 6 to 25 storeys;
  • Up to 950 units of student accommodation;
  • Up to 1,037 residential units (except maybe plots 5 & 6 - see pictures for ref);
  • Student accommodation on Plots 5 & 6;
  • Retail Floorspace between 1,470sqm and 8,725sqm;
  • Office Floorspace of up to 7,080sqm;
  • Community and Cultural Floorspace of up to 1,010sqm;
  • Leisure Floorspace of up to 2,525sqm;
  • Minimum of 1,596sqm and a maximum of 5,050sqm affordable workspaces.

Full in-depth design and thorough mix of residential units will be released in the form of Reserved Matters applications at a later stage.

Indicative heights​:

& following the design code: how the site could look:

PROJECT TEAM:
DEVELOPER: HUB Group
ARCHITECTS: shedkm/ Periscope Landscape 
QUANTITY SURVEYOR: Circle
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: CWA Engineering
ENERGY: Couch Perry Wilkes (CPW)

Artists Impressions from HUB Group & shedkm

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Green open spaces
26 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Cotteridge Park: the park near the Cross City Line

Getting off the 11C bus on the Pershore Road in Cotteridge. I usually head up Breedon Road past Cotteridge Junior & Infant School. Crossing into the park over the Cross City Line. There is many paths to take. Last couple of times I ended up at Bournville Station. The bridge over the railway still has the mural painted in 2012.

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Cotteridge Park dates to the Victorian period. The park is near Franklin Road and not far from Bournville. One way into the park is over the railway bridge that you can cross from Breedon Road. The No 11 Outer Circle bus route (11A and 11C) passes nearby on the Pershore Road and Linden Road. The Friends of Cotteridge Park  was established in 1997 and they celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2017.

 

December 2013

Approaching the bridge from Breedon Road. Vehicles can't go over it so there are bollards there.

Cotteridge Park

Painted in 2012 on behalf of the Friends of Cotteridge Park, Birmingham City Council an Network Rail.

Cotteridge Park

Welcome to Cotteridge Park.

Cotteridge Park

Path into the park. Not sure what used to be on that stone plinth in the middle.

Cotteridge Park

A look at the skate park.

Cotteridge Park

The path leading to Franklin Road.

Cotteridge Park

Playground view probably seen from Franklin Road.

Cotteridge Park

August 2018

The view from the bridge crossing the Cross City line. A pair of West Midlands Railway Class 323 trains passing each other. By this point the electrification to Bromsgrove was complete and you can get electric trains all the way there on the Cross City Line.

Cotteridge Park

Another view of the playground. Trees lush and green.

Cotteridge Park

Logs on the lawn. Trees and a path. On the way to Bournville Station.

Cotteridge Park

This tree has been sculpted to read Cotteridge Park.

Cotteridge Park

September 2019

Heading over the bridge from Breedon Road again. There is this view of the skyline towards Five Ways / Broad Street. From Park Regis Birmingham to The Bank Tower Two. Didn't see a train until I entered the park again.

Cotteridge Park

Took a different path this time. Saw a West Midlands Railway Class 323 train passing by. It wouldn't be long before I found myself at Bournville Station yet again.

Cotteridge Park

A container covered in graffiti.

Cotteridge Park

Curved benches, looks like some kind of school camping area?

Cotteridge Park

Noticeboard from the Friends of Cotteridge Park.

Cotteridge Park

Squirrel on a tree.

Cotteridge Park

Playground again and the skating ramps.

Cotteridge Park

A wider look at the camping area.

Cotteridge Park

Feels like a forest in Cotteridge.

Cotteridge Park

Or a wood.

Cotteridge Park

Path up to Franklin Road.

Cotteridge Park

More photos on my Flickr here Cotteridge Park.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
Green travel
25 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Low Traffic Neighbourhood around Kings Heath

Various side roads in Kings Heath have been blocked off with flower planters and bollards. Called a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN). Only bikes and pedestrians will be able to enter these roads. Cars and other motor vehicles are banned (apart from residents living on these streets). Has been more traffic on the High Street, Vicarage Road and Howard Road as a result of the road closures.

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Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Kings Heath

In October 2020, various side roads that are connected to the High Street in Kings Heath, had flower planters installed and bollards by Birmingham City Council. In attempt to stop cars using these roads to get to the High Street, or Vicarage Road or from Howard Road. Now they have to take the long way around. Of course the only cars allowed in are residents who live on these streets. So only bicycles and pedestrians are allowed in the LTN areas.

It has been controversial, some people getting angry about it. Delivery drivers having to take different routes to get to the shops they are trying to take goods to. Some days there had been a lot of traffic on the main roads in the area, especially at the Vicarage Road traffic lights near The Red Lion pub (which joins onto Howard Road and Grove Road).

Double yellow lines have been painted where cars are no longer supposed to park. Kids can play in the road between the flower planters without getting run over.

 

On Halloween, 31st October 2020, Elliott made one last trip to Kings Heath before the 2nd lockdown was announced later that day by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

 

Starting with a drink at Coffee #1, crossing the lights over Alcester Road South, then going onto Vicarage Road. Then turning left onto All Saints Road.

All Saints Road to Howard Road

At the end of All Saints Road, there was additional red and white bollards, to stop cars cutting over the grass to get in or out of All Saints Road from Howard Road.

Kings Heath LTN

There was even some colourful benches for kids to sit on.

Kings Heath LTN

Hazelhurst Road from Howard Road

This road off Howard Road, locals with their cars parked outside of their houses, on their drives or on the road. The only way out of Hazelhurst Road now would be from Abbots Road. Which connects to Vicarage Road and All Saints Road.

Kings Heath LTN

Colmore Road from Howard Road

A slightly shorter road off Howard Road. Colmore Road links to Vicarage Road. Again residents now have only one way to enter this road.

Kings Heath LTN

Next Elliott went up Vicarage Road and Avenue Road. Then went up Grange Road. With the idea to get to Station Road.

Highbury Road from Grange Road

Heading up Grange Road from Avenue Road, the next set of flower planters was on Highbury Road. Only way out for residents here was from Vicarage Road. Unless they have a bike or are on foot.

Kings Heath LTN

On Station Road, Elliott didn't quite get as far as the High Street, when he got to York Road. This would be the main LTN road in the Kings Heath scheme.

York Road to High Street

Going down York Road from Station Road. This road turns at a right angle towards the High Street. At least four sets of flower planters here.

Kings Heath LTN

Double yellow lines near Top Bananas. Kids can play in this section if they want to. Cars parked in the next section towards the Hare & Hounds.

Kings Heath LTN

No bollard here, so cars can enter in the middle. Close to the Hare & Hounds and the Kings Heath High Street.

Kings Heath LTN

One more flower planter on York Road at the High Street where the Pedestrian and cycle Zone Ends.

Kings Heath LTN

A short walk to the left down the High Street, before crossing at the lights and walking up Poplar Road.

Poplar Road towards Cambridge Road Methodist Church

Heading up Poplar Road past the shops towards Kings Heath Primary School. One set of flower planters just before the zebra crossing.

Kings Heath LTN

Directly ahead is Cambridge Road Methodist Church.

Kings Heath LTN

Cambridge Road near Springfield Road

At the island near Springfield Road is one last set of flower planters I saw at the end of Cambridge Road. One more walk down Springfield Road to get the 11A bus home, with all the Halloween decorations out.

Kings Heath LTN

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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40 passion points
Construction & regeneration
25 Nov 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Radio House, Sutton Street: Set For Approval

Developer Liv Property Ltd and their in-house architecture firm, Sjolander de Cruz Architects, are bringing forward plans for residential living on Sutton Street - a stone’s throw away from The Mailbox - with the construction of a six-storey new build.

These plans go to Committee on December 3rd, at 11 am, with approval recommended.

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Radio House will yield 45 one and two-bedroom apartments, ground floor office space, private and shared amenity spaces, and car & cycle parking.

The current site & its environs are characterised by low-density industrial premises with many sites lying either vacant or under-utilised. The existing building, a former car radio repair workshop, will be demolished.

With residential developments coming forward or completing nearby, the massing of the area is vastly changing, with Liv Property pinpointing Sutton Street as a street with the potential to develop into a liveable part of the city centre.

'CONTEMPORARY INTERPRETATION'

The site will be rejuvenated to produce a contemporary interpretation of said industrial buildings, whilst acknowledging the future redevelopment of the area.

A simple elevational grid has been adopted alongside large floor to ceiling windows, high ceiling spaces, and exposed concrete and brick walls. The facade will also emphasise recessed brick patterns and vertical brickwork, as seen below.

There's also the potential for public art to be included on the buildings side elevations.

A double-height ground floor office unit (89.7sqm) with mezzanine will front directly onto Sutton Street, with five upper floors of liveable space & a rear wing of the same size.

A residential mix of 17 one & 28 two-bedrooms will be provided alongside 5 mezzanine apartments - with all apartments catering for one, two, three and four persons.

5 (11.1%) of these have been allocated for affordable Low-Cost Home Ownership - this being the amount that can be afforded without impacting on viability and deliverability of the project.

Amenities are too included in the form of a landscaped courtyard space with planting and seating areas; 9 vehicles and a bicycle store for 48 cycles will be arranged here too.

Some occupants will also have the added benefit of private terrace and external balcony spaces.

THE SITE & SURROUNDING AREA

Plans go to Committee on December 3rd, at 11 am, with approval recommended.

Artists Impressions from Liv Property (Liv Projekt)/Sjolander da Cruz Architects. 

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
24 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Christmas lights around the Retail BID past and present

The Christmas lights as seen after dark around Birmingham City Centre in the Retail BID area past and present. The last Frankfurt Christmas Market was in 2019. The 2020 market was cancelled due to the pandemic, but to brighten things up, the Council still had lights put up around New Street and other roads. Gone from blues of 10 years ago to the yellow and white lights now.

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A comparison of the Christmas lights in Birmingham City Centre over the last decade ago with now. Merry Covid Christmas. And enjoy! 

All around the Retail BID area. So the likes of New Street, High Street and Corporation Street etc. 

NEW STREET

The majority of the Christmas lights are up New Street. Most years seen above the Birmingham Frankfurt Christma Market. Starting from Corporation Street up towards Victoria Square.

November 2010

From the top end of New Street near Victoria Square, after the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market had closed for the night.

Christmas Lights New Street

Between Pret a Manger and the Piccadilly Arcade.

Christmas Lights New Street

They were reused from the year before, all blue and white.

Christmas Lights New Street

November 2020

Seen past the Piccadilly Arcade up to New Street.

Christmas Lights New Street

Not far from the Piccadilly Arcade and Bennetts Hill.

Christmas Lights New Street

Usually the Frankfurt Market would be here by now, but it's been cancelled due to the pandemic and the lockdown etc.

Christmas Lights New Street

Heading up Stephenson Place, past Apple towards Lloyds Bank, saw this Christmas lights on the left. Even got the Lloyds black horse in shot!

Christmas Lights New Street

CANNON STREET

January 2012

After Christmas 2011 was over, the lights were still on in early January 2012, as seen on Cannon Street.

Christmas lights Cannon Street

Was the usual blue and white lights that was used in the late '00s to the mid '10s.

Christmas lights Cannon Street

I think they went all the way down Cannon Street at the time.

Christmas lights Cannon Street

Seen outside of Slater Menswear and White Stuff, towards New Street.

Christmas lights Cannon Street

November 2020

Cannon St at Christmas from New Street. Only the bottom half of Cannon Street has the lights this time around.

Christmas lights Cannon Street

Reverse view of Cannon ST at Christmas towards New Street and the Burlington Arcade.

Christmas lights Cannon Street

The Christmas lights close to Slater Menswear and White Stuff.

Christmas lights Cannon Street

Brightens up the bottom half of Cannon Street towards New Street. All non essential shops down here are closed until the 2nd lockdown ends.

Christmas lights Cannon Street

 

HIGH STREET

November 2012

The Christmas lights on the High Street from near Marks & Spencer towards the Rotunda. The blue and white design towards Rotunda Square. They even had some over the bus stops outsid of DEICHMANN.

Christmas lights High Street

November 2020

The same yellow and white designed Christmas lights on the High Street, as they have now on New Street, seen outside of Marks & Spencer, from my bus stop. These lights have been put up from here towards Rotunda Square, but don't go over the bus routes.

Christmas lights High Street

UNION STREET

December 2012

The Christmas lights here seen at the bottom of Union Street towards Marks & Spencer on the High Street.

Christmas lights Union Street

November 2020

I was suprised to see three sets of Christmas lights on Union Street between Argos, Boots, Burger King and WH Smith.

Christmas lights Union Street

Heading to the bus stop it was nice to see them in the evening. But the lights are on all day.

Christmas lights Union Street

CHERRY STREET

January 2012

On Cherry Street at the time was these red and white Christmas lights. Near Cannon Street and Corporation Street.

Christmas lights Cherry Street

The GAP was at Martineau Place at the time (that's now Poundland). House of Fraser on the left, near Corporation Street.

Christmas lights Cherry Street

November 2020

Heading up Corporation Street, towards Union Street, saw this Christmas lights on Cherry Street between the EE shop and House of Fraser (which doesn't have the usual fancy lights up).

Christmas lights Cherry Street

BEST OF THE REST

In December 2009 they had the Merry Christmas lights at the bottom of Corporation Street near New Street.

Christmas lights Corporation Street

They used Merry Christmas again at the bottom of Corporation Street when I saw it back in November 2010.

Christmas lights Corporation Street

Seen on New Street near Corporation Street was Christmas in Birmingham during December 2014.

Christmas lights New Street

They also had Shopping in Birmingham.com on the other side. It was the last time they had Christmas lights on Corporation Street, before the first Midland Metro extension opened in 2015 and 2016.

Christmas lights New Street

Seen during November 2020 at the bottom of Lower Temple Street near Stephenson Street, between Caffe Nero and Ladbrokes was this Christmas lights.

Christmas lights Lower Temple Street

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Squares and public spaces
24 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Floozie from the fountain on in 2010, to the Floral Garden in 2015, to cleared in late 2020

Cofton Nursery removed the plants in November 2020 around the fountain and statues called River and Youth by Dhruva Mistry. We all know it as the Floozie in the Jacuzzi. The fountain leaked in 2008, but was fixed by 2010. Another leak in 2013, led to plants and soil going in by 2015. All stripped out by late 2020. Hopefully the fountain will be repaired going into 2021?

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Previous Floozie post here: Floozie in the Jacuzzi in Victoria Square over the years

During November 2020, Cofton Nursery returned to Victoria Square to remove the plants and soil that had been around River and Youth for 5 years. So for the first time in over 5 years you can now see the Floozie in the Jacuzzi without plants, but the fountain has not yet been switched on, as we are awaiting the leak to be repaired once and for all.

The last fix was in 2010 (after the first leak of 2008), then another leak in 2013 led to it being turned off again. Then in 2015 River and Youth was turned into a Floral Garden. Making it the Floozie in the Floral Garden.

With the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic / lockdown / restrictions etc, it meant that work could continue in Victoria Square with the paving, and also to start to fully restore the fountain in front of the Council House.

 

But first lets look back 10 years to when it was last working.

 

2010

It was near the beginning of November 2010 when I was first able to get photos of River and Youth (the Floozie in the Jacuzzi) with the fountains switched on, and the pools filled with water.

River and Youth

Around the rim of the upper pool is a poem by T.S. Eliot called Burnt Norton.:

"And the pool was filled with water of sunlight, and the lotos rose, quietly, quitely, the surface glittered out of heart of light, and they were behind us, reflected in a pool. Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty."

River and Youth

The general view of River and Youth looking up towards the Council House, with a pair of poppies.

River and Youth

There was a Christmas tree on the Council House balcony between the pair of poppies, as the water went down the steps.

River and Youth

Looking up to the Floozie herself. With the Town Hall, Central Library (closed in 2013, demolished in 2016) and the Council House behind.

River and Youth

It looks quite impressive, like an artificial waterfall. This view towards 125 and 130 Colmore Row.

River and Youth

Looking up the steps towards John Madin's NatWest Tower (103 Colmore Row). It would be demolished from 2015 to 2018.

River and Youth

The water cascades down the steps from River (the Floozie in the Jacuzzi) down to the pair of statues called Youth. The BBC screen was still in Victoria Square at the time.

River and Youth

At the bottom was Youth, with two metal bowls with all the water coming out.

River and Youth

Near the end of November 2010 I saw the colourful lights around River and Youth in Victoria Square for the first time after dark. This was well after 10pm, so the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market had closed for the night.

This view below from heading down Christchurch Passage through the railing bars.

River and Youth

The lighting here was impressive, but it was also from the Frankfurt Christmas Market. View below probably taken through the railing bars on Christchurch Passage.

River and Youth

From the bottom of Victoria Square near the Christmas Tree. The Happy Christmas Birmingham message is on the Council House every year.

River and Youth

The Council House was all lit up, as River Routh was in a mix of blues and purples at this point.

River and Youth

One month on to late December 2010. View of the Floozie lit up in orange lights, just before 5pm, 2 days before the end of the year. London 2012 logo on the BBC Screen.

River and Youth

View of the Floozie in orange towards No 1 Victoria Square and the Town Hall. The fountain was off.

River and Youth

It looked like the fountain had been turned off again, and the pools looked empty.

River and Youth

A line of pink, blue, purple and red lights going down to the Youth statue.

River and Youth

Looking towards Victoria Square House and No 1 Victoria Square. Was still old red phone boxes at the top of Pinfold Street.

River and Youth

2015

5 years later, and a few years after the fountain was last turned on. By July 2015, Cofton Nursery had planted an impressive number of plants, to try and make the area look nice, as the leak couldn't be repaired at this time.

River and Youth

Only the steps didn't have plants on them. Still possible to see Birmingham Central Library at this time, before demolition would begin at the end of the year.

River and Youth

You could hardly see Youth amongst the plants at the bottom, of what by then looked like a tropical garden.

River and Youth

By the end of July 2015, The Big Hoot trail of owls was in the City which would last for 10 weeks. Alf the Penguin Owl was at the bottom in front of River and Youth (neither of which can be seen).

River and Youth

In Early August 2015, there was a group of Morris Dancers in Victoria Square, not far from the Floozie and the floral garden that was in place of the fountains. I'm not sure if they were dancing to hope that the fountain would get fixed, or for the post Summer Solstice?

Morris Dancers

2020

Onto the middle of November 2020. My first day back in the City Centre after about 2 weeks. So took my camera (while on my work lunchbreak) and checked out the Floozie, now that Cofton Nursery had removed all of the plants.

River and Youth

The only water in the pools was from rain water. No market, means that the pavin works around the Queen Victoria statue can continue without interruption by Christmas events.

River and Youth

Compared to the view of 10 years ago, the Central Library is now replaced by Two Chamberlain Square.

River and Youth

It was very quiet in Victoria Square due to the 2nd lockdown, and in town in general. At least Youth at the bottom can be seen again, without the plants.

River and Youth

Later that day after I left work, just before 5pm, had time before getting the bus home to pop to Centenary Square after dark. For the first time in 10 years saw River and Youth lit up with the colourful lights.

River and Youth

New to this view of River and Youth was the new (but unfinished) 103 Colmore Row. Victoria Square was completely empty and quiet.

River and Youth

If this was a normal year, the Frankfurt Market would be on by now. It still looks good all lit up towards 103 Colmore Row.

River and Youth

Hopefully the fountain will be fixed and the water flowing again in time for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. And I hope it stays fixed this time.

River and Youth

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

 

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40 passion points
Squares and public spaces
23 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

What to do with Selly Oak Triangle: new public square or a park?

I am strongly against the building of yet another unwanted student accommodation block in Selly Oak. The student population for the University of Birmingham in the area is high enough as it is, and the area does not need another student prison to be built. Selly Oak Triangle is currently having the bypass extension roadworks overrunning due to the pandemic. Traffic issues as well.

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SELLY OAK TRIANGLE

Ever since Sainsbury's moved out of their old Selly Oak supermarket building at the end of 2018, to the new Selly Oak Shopping Park, the old building has been boarded up and been a target for graffiti vandals. In 2020 there has been roadworks to extend the Selly Oak Bypass onto Harborne Lane (continuing on from the Aston Webb Boulevard which was completed in 2011). This was originally due to be completed in Summer 2020, but as of Autumn 2020 (due to the Pandemic and lockdowns) still has not been completed.

In late October 2020, Harborne Lane was turned into two way traffic, while Chapel Lane (near the Battery Retail Park) had way too many cars queuing up to the Bristol Road.

There is proposals to build yet another student accommodation block where the old Sainsbury's was. I say to Birmingham City Council to reject this proposal. Selly Oak does not need any more places to imprison students (especially right now during the Pandemic when they can't even go out anywhere).

Perhaps the Council could green light a new public square or park on the land. Or another supermarket.

It's the same with Shirley in Solihull, where idiot developers are planning to build more unwanted retirement villages (Shirley already has too many of them as it is).

 

SAINSBURYS'S

In 2012, I started to go to Sainsbury's Cafe at the Sainsbury's in Selly Oak, and continued to do so on and off until they closed down in 2018. Seen in June 2012, was this brick sculpture of an Oak tree. If demolished will this be saved or be a pile of bricks?

Selly Oak

The Sainsbury's logo on the Bristol Road side of the building.

Sainsbury's

6 years before they moved, Sainsbury's spent a lot of money refurbishing the dated supermarket building. It looked nice, but wouldn't last.

Sainsbury's

Harborne Lane

Selly Oak Triangle from the no 98 bus towards the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham during January 2014. This view towards the Bristol Road. This triangular island has now gone, used to be a pavement and some benches on it.

Selly Oak Triangle

The view towards Sainsbury's and it's car park. Beyond is the Battery Retail Park. When at the time Homebase, PC World & Curry's were over there.

Selly Oak Triangle

Sainsbury's closing down and moved out

By March 2018, signs went up saying that the Sainsbury's site was up for sale. At this point the supermarket was still open. They would move out once their new site was ready by November 2018.

Sainsbury's closing

Pigeon's flying over Sainsbury's. A park or public square would be better for them than say an unwanted student block.

Sainsbury's closing

In November 2018, I saw this "We're moving" sign outside of Sainsbury's from the Bristol Road in Selly Oak. The new Sainsbury's opened at the Selly Oak Shopping Park on Wednesday 21st November 2018. I've been a couple of times, but the cafe experience is a bit different to the old one. Plus it's a much larger supermarket.

Sainsbury's

By February 2019, Sainsbury's had moved out months before. And graffiti vandals had started to tag the abandoned building. The car park was empty. This view from no 63 bus on the Bristol Road. At this point there was no plans for the site at the time.

Sainsbury's

Selly Oak Bypass extension works

A sign I saw in August 2019 said that Selly Oak New Road Phase 1B would be completed by Summer 2020. But that was before the Virus Pandemic and lockdowns started.

Selly Oak Bypass

By early February 2020, more than a month before the first lockdown, the bypass extension works looked a far way off. This view from the no 63 bus on the Bristol Road near Harborne Lane. The triangular island had been dug up and removed. This was on the 2nd February 2020.

Selly Oak Bypass

One day later, I got this view from the top deck of the 11A bus on Harborne Lane, before it headed up Chapel Lane towards the Bristol Road. The bus stop was closed off, and the dead end section of road had been filled in and turned into a pavement. Seen on the 3rd February 2020.

Selly Oak Bypass

There was a raised wall around the former Sainsbury's car park. The pedestrian crossing here was closed off, also temporary traffic lights.

Selly Oak Bypass

There also used to be a small triangular tarmac island here that you could cross over, before these works, that's gone as well.

Selly Oak Bypass

By October 2020, the roadworks here were still not finished, as you can see from Harborne Lane. On the 10th October 2020, I again noticed that the former dead end section of road had been filled in and was now a pavement. Bus stop still closed off. Heavy traffic up Chapel Lane. View from the side window of the 11A bus (I rarely went upstairs on the bus between lockdown 1 and 2).

Selly Oak Bypass

There was big puddle outside of the closed bus stop. The traffic may have also been queuing to get into the Battery Retail Park, as well as waiting at the temporary lights on the Bristol Road junction with Chapel Lane.

Selly Oak Bypass

By the 26th October 2020, after leaving the Selly Oak Shopping Park, I was walking up to catch an 11A bus (or was hoping too). A sign mentioned that major night time works would be starting from 26/10/20 for 3 weeks.

Selly Oak Bypass

It also mentioned that Harborne Lane was now open to two way traffic from 25/10/20. Just look at that traffic up Chapel Lane. So bad.

Selly Oak Bypass

The view of Harborne Lane towards Oak Tree Lane. Most car drivers were still using Chapel Lane. Perhaps not aware that Harborne Lane was now open to two way traffic.

Selly Oak Bypass

Up Chapel Lane to the Bristol Road junction at Selly Oak Triangle. Temporary traffic lights on red. Barriers everywhere. Imagine how bad the traffic would be if developers got their greedy way and built a student accommodation eyesore to the right?

Selly Oak Bypass

I waited for an 11A on the Bristol Road, but I wasn't sure if one would come, then I caught a 63 to Longbridge, and a 45 from Longbridge to Cotteridge before I got an 11A home.

I would guess that the bypass extension will be completed now sometime in 2021. And from 2021, please can the Council listen to residents and reject the proposals for yet another student accommodation block. There is already loads up around the Aston Webb Boulevard, and those are closer to the University of Birmingham.

 

Update : Chapel Lane will be going to two way traffic from Monday 23rd November 2020. Speed limit will be at 20 mph. 

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

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40 passion points
Transport
23 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Car2Go all over Birmingham back in 2013 to 2014

Car2Go was a car hire scheme in Birmingham during 2013 to 2014. Using SmartCar's. With slogans on the doors such as "Brum Brummie" or "Free Parking" etc. Users could use an app which they would pay for the use. Use the GPS to locate one and drive around the City. Didn't last more than 12 months though. From May 2013 to May 2014. Was based on was on Fleet Street.

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Car2Go

Coming to Birmingham in May 2013, all of a sudden, there was these Car2Go SmartCar's parked all over the City. They were available all over the City. No fixed designation bays, just jump in and drive off. Free parking on any street pay and display bay (but sometimes parking wardens wouldn't know and would put yellow parking tickets on them). One off registration fee was £29.90 (at the time). Register once, drive anywhere. All inclusive price plans. There was different prices depending on how long you used them.

They were based in offices on Fleet Street, close to the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal. But this scheme wasn't to last, and by the late spring of 2014, Car2Go pulled out of Birmingham, never to return.

 

JUMP IN DRIVE OFF

Date: May 2013.

Location: Woodcock Street outside of Sir Doug Ellis Woodcock Sports Centre at Aston University.

Car2Go

Date: August 2013.

Location: Gas Street.

Car2Go

Date: August 2013.

Location: Alcester Road, Moseley Village.

Car2Go

Date: February 2014.

Location: Reservoir Road, Ladywood, on the walk towards Edgbaston Reservoir.

Car2Go

 

BRUM BRUMMIE

Date: May 2013.

Location: Woodbrooke Road, Bournville near The Valley Parkway.

Car2Go

Date: June 2013.

Location: Fleet Street outside of the then Car2Go offices.

Car2Go

Date: September 2013.

Location: Floodgate Street, Digbeth. Note the yellow parking ticket. Was it really free parking then?

Car2Go

Date: May 2014.

Location: Edmund Street. The last ever photo of a Car2Go SmartCar that I would take before they left Birmingham for good.

Car2Go

 

FREE PARKING

Date: May 2013:

Location: Corporation Street, in the Steelhouse Conservation Area near the courts.

Car2Go

Date: June 2013.

Location: Hazelwell Fordrough, Stirchley.

Car2Go

Date: July 2013.

Location: Lionel Street, Jewellery Quarter. Near the Great Charles Street Queensway car park.

Car2Go

Date: August 2013.

Location: Brunel Street. Near Brunel Street Car Park (now called Town Hall Car Park).

Car2Go

Date: September 2013.

Location: Bissell Street, Highgate.

Car2Go

 

HELLO BIRMINGHAM

Date: May 2013.

Location: Aston Street on the Aston University Campus.

Car2Go

Date: July 2013.

Location: Newhall Street, Jewellery Quarter near Newhall Square and the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal.

Car2Go

Date: September 2013.

Location: Bromsgrove Street, Southside. Was close to Bristol Street.

Car2Go

Date: October 2013.

Location: Calthorpe Road, Edgbaston at Five Ways.

Car2Go

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Squares and public spaces
22 Nov 2020 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

A late Autumn Photowalk in St Paul's Square in the Jewellery Quarter

Daniel took a stroll in and around the beautiful St Paul's Square in the heart Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter containing St Paul's Church and a haze of autumn colours from all the various plants and trees, great late afternoon sunlight too! See the full gallery...

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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80 passion points
Green open spaces
18 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Westley Vale Millennium Green in Acocks Green

When a former allotment was turned into a green space at the turn of the Millennium in Acocks Green it was named the Westley Vale Millennium Green. Located on The Avenue, it runs alongside the Westley Brook towards the Grand Union Canal. The area is quite small. Visitors are expected to take their litter home with them. Street art by Hoakser was unveiled in 2015 at The Avenue entrance.

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Westley Vale Millennium Green

The Westley Vale Millennium Green was created as one of the Millennium Greens to provide Breathing Spaces in the early 21st Century. The New Labour Government in 1998 gave support for schemes like this, and this one opened in the year 2000. The area is leased to Birmingham City Council, and a group of Trustees supported by local volunteers manage the site, clean it up, plant and maintain the site as a conservation area.

In 2015, the Birmingham street artist Hoakser was hired to paint a wall at the entrance path from The Avenue. With various birds and animals on it.

Acocks Green Station is a short walk away from the site (as well as the shops on the Warwick Road high street).

2014

I first walked past the Westley Vale Millennium Green in February 2014. This was after a short walk from the Grand Union Canal at Lincoln Road North, I found this gate on The Avenue. I did not enter it at this time, but would a year later.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

On the railings was this Millennium Greens Breathing Spaces sign. A Millennium Project. An initiative of The Countryside Agency.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

2015

My first proper walk into the Westley Vale Millennium Green was during May 2015. Entering from The Avenue, the street art mural by Hoakser was on the right. With owls, foxes, badgers etc.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

The far end of the mural had various birds painted onto it.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Many different paths to take around the Millennium Green.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Cow parsley near the footbridge over the Westley Brook.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

An area with benches. It looked like the turf was newly laid at the time.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Following the path past the cow parsley on the left.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Another bench and another path to the left.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

The path continues. Lots of tree and very green in the spring.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Now a dirt path through the trees.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Some steps to go up.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Railings on the left. The Grand Union Canal was nearby, but you can't get onto it from this side.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

A gate with an exit to Woodcock Lane.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

A look at the steps down from Woodcock Lane North onto the towpath of the Grand Union Canal.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Just a look at the steps, I don't think I went down to the canal towpath for a walk down there that time around.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

This is a view of the Grand Union Canal from the Woodcock Lane Bridge. I've not walked that section. Sometimes the towpath can be muddy or wet. This is the direction towards Yardley Road, South Yardley and towards Tyseley.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Back into the Millennium Green, and heading around the paths towards Malvern Road.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

The path leads to a closed gate at Malvern Road.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Another path from near Malvern Road leads back to The Avenue entrance / exit.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

The gate is closed, so you have to use the latch to open the gate, then close it behind you. This was on Malvern Road.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

The Millennium Greens Breathing Spaces, Westley Vale Millennium Green and Conservation Area signs at the Malvern Road entrance.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Close up of the Westley Vale Millennium Green signs. Don't dump your rubbish. Pick up and bag your dog waste.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Close up of the Conservation Area sign. Please respect the environment. Bin or take your litter home. Clean up after your pets. Do not damage trees or pick the flowers. No motorcycles or other unauthorised vehicles.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

2020

Didn't get around to coming back to the Westley Vale Millennium Green until doing an afternoon walk around Acocks Green during July 2020. Weren't here for long, before walk a stretch of the Grand Union Canal as well.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

The footbridge over the Westley Brook. Everything looking lush and green in the summer.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

The grass near the path looked to be cut short near the bushes.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Straight on the path under the trees.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Google Lens says this flower is called Asian pigeonwings. But who knows, Google Lens might be wrong?

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Up the steps on the path towards Woodcock Lane.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

No sooner had we got here, we were almost out of the Millennium Green.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

The area is quite small anyway.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

A bag on the tree for litter (I think).

Westley Vale Millennium Green

A look at the Grand Union Canal. You can not get onto it from this side.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Back to the Woodcock Lane gate. Next headed over the bridge then down onto the canal towpath.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Near the Woodcock Lane Bridge was these signs from the Canal & River Trust. This area is adopted by Acocks Green Neighbourhood Forum.

Grand Union Canal

A look at the Woodcock Lane Bridge from the towpath of the Grand Union Canal. Walked towards the Lincoln Road North Bridge. The Millennium Green is to the far left of here. It is Grade II listed, dating to the late 18th Century, and made of red brick. The canal was built as the Warwick and Birmingham Canal. It later became part of the Grand Union Canal from 1927 onwards.

Grand Union Canal

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Green travel
17 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

A walk on the Harborne Walkway back in 2016

A former railway line in Birmingham had been turned years ago into the Harborne Walkway. Starting from Harborne close to Park Hill Road, the route passes several bridges via the Hagley Road before heading towards Summerfield Park. I'd say it ends just after the Selwyn Road Bridge in the park. Although the paths continues towards Northbrook Street in Summerfield.

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HARBORNE WALKWAY

The Harborne Walkway forms part of the route of the former Harborne Railway, which had trains going from Birmingham New Street, leaving the branch line at Harborne Junction with the Stour Valley Line (Birmingham to Wolverhampton). The railway opened in 1874, with four railway stations at Harborne, Hagley Road, Rotton Park Road and Icknield Port Road. The line closed to passengers in 1934. The line remained open for coal to be carried until it closed for good in 1963.

Today the line is now of course the Harborne Walkway. It starts in Harborne at Forest Drive. It then crosses over Park Hill Road on a bridge. All other bridges, you can walk, run or cycle under them. Following along the Chad Brook (although you can't see it). The first bridge you walk under is at Woodbourne Road, then Hagley Road.

There is an exit / entrance to Station Avenue and Percival Drive. Which lead to Stanmore Road. Passing through Ladywood, the next bridge to go under is at Portland Road, followed by Rotton Park Road. The final bridge to pass through is at Selwyn Road, before entering Summerfield Park.

The paths split off in many directions in the park, but the route of the former railway line continues towards Icknield Port Road, then Barford Road, before ending at Coplow Street and Northbrook Street.

There used to be a railway bridge over the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline and the Birmingham to Wolverhampton railway line. But all that remains now is the brick buttresses.

 

Forest Drive / Park Hill Road

I did my first half walk on the Harborne Walkway from Harborne towards Hagley Road on the 5th February 2016. As I felt it was too far for me to walk all the way in one go to the end of the line.

First up a look at the Park Hill Road Bridge in Harborne.

Harborne Walkway

Heading around to a cul-de-sac called Forest Drive, I followed the public footpath onto the Harborne Walkway.

Harborne Walkway

The Park Hill Road Bridge is the only bridge you walk over. The other bridges you walk under them.

Harborne Walkway

The views from the bridge looking down at both sides of Park Hill Road in Harborne. The Harborne High Street in this direction.

Harborne Walkway

Beyond Park Hill Road, it leads onto Moor Pool Avenue.

Harborne Walkway

The other side of the Park Hill Road Bridge in Harborne, as seen on the 13th March 2016.

Harborne Walkway

There is an entrance path on the right from Park Hill Road.

Harborne Walkway

Turning around, you can head down to or up from Park Hill Road from the path on the left.

Harborne Walkway

Woodbourne Road

Coming up to the Woodbourne Road Bridge.

Harborne Walkway

The Woodbourne Road Bridge from the other side.

Harborne Walkway

Hagley Road

Coming up was the Hagley Road Bridge.

Harborne Walkway

I exited here at Hagley Road, but would resume the walk 3 weeks later to complete it. Was a man running under the bridge, looks a bit like a tunnel.

Harborne Walkway

20 days later on the 25th February 2016, I headed back to the Hagley Road, to resume my walk on the Harborne Walkway. First up on the left was the exit / entrance to Station Drive and Percival Road. It leads to Stanmore Road.

Harborne Walkway

Portland Road

Passing through the Portland Road Bridge.

Harborne Walkway

It looks like exiting a tunnel under the Portland Road Bridge.

Harborne Walkway

Rotton Park Road

Not too far from the end of the Harborne Walkway now. Passing the Rotton Park Road Bridge. From here it is a short walk towards the Edgbaston Reservoir.

Harborne Walkway

Selwyn Road

The final bridge to pass under is the Selwyn Road Bridge, before entering Summerfield Park. I'm not sure why this section is fenced off, unless there is still railway sleepers here.

Harborne Walkway

The open gate seen from under the Selwyn Road Bridge, the entrance to Summerfield Park.

Harborne Walkway

A look back at the Selwyn Road Bridge from Summerfield Park.

Harborne Walkway

Beyond Summerfield Park there is no more bridges to walk under. But there is a bridge on Icknield Port Road, but the exit gates are at road level so you don't go under that. The only time I went into Summerfield Park, I exited at Dudley Road.

The path towards Barford Road, now runs alongside the Barford Primary School football pitch. There is also a housing estate on the other side of that road, but no bridge.

The footpath ends at Coplow Street which leads onto Northbrook Street. There is the remains of a bridge on one side of Northbrook Street near the canal.

Northbrook Street

That day I did end up on Northbrook Street, so got to see the remains of the railway buttresses over the existing canal and railway line.

Harborne Junction

While the viaduct that used to cross the railway and canal is long gone, there is a lot of old brick walls that remains, but covered in graffiti near the towpath. Can see the BT Tower and Library of Birmingham from here.

Harborne Junction

First look at the massive red brick buttress that used to carry the Harborne Railway over the Birmingham Canal.

Harborne Junction

A Cross Country Voyager (Class 220) heads towards Birmingham New Street, it's last stop was probably Wolverhampton.

Harborne Junction

Of course the trains that would have gone on the Harborne Railway a century ago would have been steam engines, and not the modern diesel or electric trains we have today.

Harborne Junction

One last look at the large brick buttress in the middle of the canal from Northbrook Street. A relic of a lost railway line.

Harborne Junction

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

 

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70 passion points
Green travel
16 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Voi eScooters around the City Centre

In the months before the 2nd lockdown, I was able to travel to the City Centre (when it was allowed), and occasionally saw the new Voi eScooters around. They are road legal, although some users did seem to ride them on pavements, or on pedestrianised roads. It's not just the official orange ones I've seen. Personal owned black eScooters have been seen all over the City as well.

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Voi eScooter's

Voi Scooters users can download an app, and pay for the use of them. They are located all over Birmingham City Centre. Apparently anyone can use the, either a man in a suit or a student in jeans. They reduce noise and air pollution. They enable people to move freely in an urban environment.

There is a 6 month trial in Birmingham City Centre. I think they were to have a trial in Coventry but that was halted. I also found some none Voi eScooter's over in Redditch, Worcestershire.

After about a month, Voi put these pads on the handles, so that they can be cleaned after each use (due to the Pandemic and hand sanitising etc).

I wouldn't want to ride them myself, prefer to get the bus or train and walk.

 

12th September 2020 on the High Street (near lower Bull Street). Got my first photo of a Voi eScooter from my bus stop. Buses on the Stratford Road routes including the 2, 3, 5 and 6.

Voi eScooter

Earlier that day, I got a photo of a masked man riding an Voi eScooter through Centenary Square, outside of the Library of Birmingham.

Voi eScooter

16th September 2020 in Victoria Square. Graham Young of the Birmingham Mail on a test ride, stop as another guy passes him. He later wrote an article for the Birmingham Live, which you can read here: What happened when we tried to ride a VOI scooter in Birmingham city centre

Voi eScooter

You can find him on Twitter: Graham Young.

Voi eScooter

9th October 2020, heading down Hill Street, I spotted this eScooter. Close to Hinckley Street, and not far from Smallbrook Queensway. I was heading down to Southside to check out the latest B-Side Hip Hop street art.

Voi eScooter

On the 10th October 2020, saw this pair of Voi eScooter's near the bike racks on Eden Place. Close to Colmore Row and the Council House.

Voi eScooters

11th October 2020 from Navigation Street outside of Birmingham New Street Station, saw this trio of three Voi eScooter's. Not far from the Stephenson Street entrance to the station. The day I was going to see Van Gogh Alive at the Birmingham Hippodrome. Had just come down from Grand Central Birmingham.

Voi eScooter's

25th October 2020 from the Bullring near St Martin's Church. This Voi eScooter at the corner of Edgbaston Street and St Martin's Lane.

Voi eScooter

2nd November 2020 in The Golden Square near Vyse Street in the Jewellery Quarter. Three Voi eScooter's, not far from the site of where the Jewellery Quarter Clock was until August 2020.

Voi eScooters

Bonus eScooter's in Redditch, Worcestershire

14th October 2020 a train trip to Redditch to see the John Bonham statue, when I saw some BIRD eScooter's in Redditch on Alcester Street. Similar in design to Voi, but a little different.

Redditch eScooters

There was three BIRD eScooter's outside of the Redditch Town Hall.

Redditch eScooters

 

It will probably not be until the 2nd lockdown is over that I will see more eScooter's around Birmingham. Unless I got out for a local walk, and see someone riding a black eScooter on the pavement (which is illegal, they should be ridden on the road).

I might be back in the City Centre week commencing 16th November 2020, for the first time in 2 weeks, so might see move Voi eScooter's when I'm in town.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
16 Nov 2020 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

Construction of 103 Colmore Row - October & November 2020 photo update

103 Colmore Row is certainly looking superb!

Take our October & November update feature from Daniel and Reiss, contributors at It’s Your Build and Birmingham We Are, and loyal followers of the built environment in Birmingham.

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NOVEMBER

Photos by Daniel Sturley

Photos by Reiss Gordon-Henry.

OCTOBER

Photos by Daniel Sturley

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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40 passion points
Green open spaces
16 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

New Hall Valley Country Park: From Sutton Coldfield Town Centre towards Pype Hayes Park (January 2019)

I initially became aware of New Hall Valley Country Park during the Christmas Day 2018 walk up from Pype Hayes Park along the Plants Brook. So a month later in January 2019, got a bus up to Sutton Coldfield Town Centre, and made my way to the park. And walked down the path. Passing the New Hall Water Mill and Walmley Golf Club. Eventually back on the same paths I was on the month before.

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A walk through New Hall Valley Country Park during January 2019. Starting from Sutton Coldfield Town Centre and heading in the direction of Pype Hayes Park.

First up some information taken from the Wikipedia page (link above). It is a country park located in the New Hall Valley between Walmley and Wylde Green in the Sutton Coldfield. Birmingham City Council created the park in 2005. The land was formerly part of the New Hall Manor Estate. There is ancient woodland, historic wetland grazing meadows, former farmland, and part of Plants Brook within the country park. There is also a 17th Century listed watermill called New Hall Mill.

 

During a Christmas Day 2018 walk from Pype Hayes Park (link to the post is above), on a path along the Plants Brook, I got to this point where I saw a fingerpost for the New Hall Valley Country Park. Making a mental note about this park at the time. It was just beyond the railway line for the Sutton Park Line. We turned back in the direction of Pype Hayes Park from near here. I would be back a month later.

New Hall Valley Country Park

In January 2019, I ended up getting a National Express West Midlands Platinum bus all the way to Sutton Coldfield Town Centre. After a coffee stop, I started my walk to the park. These fingerposts were on the South Parade near Lower Queen Street.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Some more signs on the National Cycle Network route 534. Seen on Ebrook Road. I was only about a quarter of a mile away from the Newhall Valley Country Park (seems to be two spellings). Sutton Coldfield Town Centre was three quarters of a mile in the other direction.

New Hall Valley Country Park

I got into the park at Ebrook Road from this path near the Plants Brook.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Below the bridge on Ebrook Road was what looked like a small waterfall.

New Hall Valley Country Park

The path towards the Sutton Park Line Tunnel. The former railway line crosses over the Plants Brook at this point.

New Hall Valley Country Park

From the other side of the Sutton Park Line Tunnel. Graffiti on this side.

New Hall Valley Country Park

A look back down the path along the Plants Brook towards the tunnel.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Heading forward saw this footbridge cross the Plants Brook.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Saw an electricity pylon to the left of the path.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Checking out this wooden decking. Looked quite icy on the grass and on the decking so wasn't on here for long.

New Hall Valley Country Park

A no cycling sign. The path to the right is a bit too muddy, so cyclists should stick to the main path. But it's suitable for walking (if you want to get mud on your shoes etc).

New Hall Valley Country Park

Another footbridge over the Plants Brook.

New Hall Valley Country Park

The Plants Brook was looking quite calm from this side of the footbridge.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Back to the main path, as I followed the Plants Brook in the direction of the mill.

New Hall Valley Country Park

First glimpse of the New Hall Water Mill. Trees in the way.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Another view of the mill. Would try and get better views when I shortly after this walked up a path towards it.

New Hall Valley Country Park

The path and the Plants Brook close to Wylde Green Road.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Saw this stone house near Wylde Green Road. It is time to get a proper look at the nearby mill.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Close to the end of the path as the Wylde Green Road Bridge was straight ahead over the Plants Brook.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Bollards for New Hall Valley at Wylde Green Road. Before I continued, I turned left to check out the mill.

New Hall Valley Country Park

On the way to the road to the mill, I went past this gate for Wincelle House.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Wincelle House is a Grade II Listed Building dating from the early 15th century. It is a timber framed building, which was removed from Wishaw in 1910.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Continuing on, saw this sign for New Hall Hotel & Spa. B76 1PH. The sign was for the Emergency Access to New Hall Health Club & Spa.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Side view of Wincelle House from a nearby field as I headed to see New Hall Mill.

New Hall Valley Country Park

First proper look at New Hall Mill, without too many trees in the way.

New Hall Valley Country Park

New Hall Water Mill is a Grade II* Listed Building. It dates to the 18th century.

New Hall Valley Country Park

As it was during winter though, the mill was not open. I think it is open on open days, but it is quite a distance to travel back  there to properly explore this mill.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Fingerpost for visitors to use. You can go on the Tree Trail, go to the Cart Shed and more.

New Hall Valley Country Park

One more view of the mill. A bit hard to see behind the trees. But now it was time to resume the walk towards Pype Hayes Park.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Back to Wylde Green Road for the last leg of the walk in the New Hall Valley Country Park. Another pair of bollards.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Fingerpost near the Wylde Green Road entrance. Sutton Park and Coleshill Road to the left. Walmley to the right.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Saw this Birmingham City Council map of New Hall Valley Country Park. Was looking a bit dirty.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Another bridge crossing the Plants Brook, this one with yellow railings.

New Hall Valley Country Park

A look down the Plants Brook. Appeared to be a bricked channel of water on the left near the path.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Better view of the Plants Brook not obscured by the trees.

New Hall Valley Country Park

At the end of the New Hall Valley Country Park near near the Plants Brook walk. Another part of the old Sutton Park railway line passes by near here.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Fingerpost near the Plants Brook walk just outside of the Country Park. Sutton Coldfield was not a mile and a half away on foot and on a bike.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Passing through these gates as I exited the New Hall Valley Country Park and followed the Plants Brook back to Pype Hayes Park. On a path I had walked on the month before.

New Hall Valley Country Park

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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