Historic England’s Future Stirchley

Historic England’s Living Memory project commissioned a series of ten films – and Stirchley was one of the areas chosen.

Shop / business owners, residents and visitors were asked their thoughts on what Stirchley high street means to them and how they see its future. Which reminds me of the Stirchley Dreams project I did a few years ago where we asked what people would like to see for Stirchley.

It includes some great businesses, including Stirchley Wines, Birmingham Bike Foundry, Midlands Vac Shop, Wards, Isherwood & Co, Loaf, Couch, Eat Vietnam, Pause At…, Artefact (and the grey origami hearts I made in the window) and probably a few others I forgot to mention.

You should definitely watch the whole thing, which is available on YouTube, but the sense of belonging and community in Stirchley is clear from everyone spoken to. It’s also nice to hear the rough around the edges but a good heart, as often people dismiss Stirchley as being run down, without realising that there is a lot going on here, and it’s often not about looking good but doing good. There’s equal love for some of the more historic independent businesses like the Vac Shop and Wards, as well as some of the ‘newer’ businesses. Although lets not forget the likes of Loaf have been here for over ten years now, so new is definitely not quite as new as you might think. And I was really pleased to see the history of the co-operative movement and plans for the Stirchley Co-operative Development get a shout out, as that’s not only going to bring more people to Stirchley, but hopefully more independent businesses too.

‘Future of the High Street’ is part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zone Cultural Programme, led by Historic England in partnership with National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Arts Council England. It includes the Future Stirchley film, as well as nine others made by filmmakers, in collaboration with young creatives, explore what the future of the high street could be.

Hazelwell St / Bournville Lane pedestrian junction

A pedestrian refuge at a road junction, with pavement markings indicating that it is to be moved
Photo by Phil Banting

A few people have noticed the spray-painted markings on Hazelwell Street, near the much lauded traffic island with Bournville Lane. There has been some rumours that it might be removed, but local resident Scott Cooper has asked the council and this was the response…

“The marked traffic island is in line with the existing junction layout of Bournville Lane with Hazelwell Street and is not negating in any way the in place temporary active travel trial changes in Hazelwell Street.

“It is evident from the picture that marked pedestrian island is about 1.5m short of the in place temporary measures in Hazelwell Street. However, in future, if required, the traffic island may be extended further into Hazelwell Street in line with the temporary lane reduction measures, if required to make the in place temporary measures permanent.

“To make the in place measure permanent consultation with local residents, businesses, ward councillors, emergency service and other stakeholders would be required. This process of consultation and subsequent approvals, may take about 6 months. However due to ongoing issue of articulated vehicles pulling into Bournville Lane from Hazelwell Street and damaging parked cars, it was not feasible to stop the implementation of this highway improvement scheme for the prospective scheme to make the in place temporary measures permanent.

“Following successful consultation and approval by Highways, the traffic island in Bournville Lane may be extended along with other required changes in Hazelwell Street.”

Lifford Lane closed for a month


Lifford Lane, between Pershore Road and Melchett Road is closed between the 24 February – 24th March, as National Rail work on some structural things on the bridge. I’m told there’s access for pedestrians and cyclists, but not motor vehicles. And I’ve witnessed a few have to turn round and come back so that’s definitely the case!

Ghost Tables

Stirchley ghost tables

Our local hospitality industry has had to make a lot of changes due to Covid-19 and social distancing, and with the latest round of announcements making things even more difficult, we wanted to find a way to help.

And so, with spooky season on the horizon, we’ve set up a very simple thing where we’re asking people if they’d like to reserve a ‘ghost table’. For a suggested donation of £10 you’ll book one of the tables lost to ensure drinking establishments in Stirchley comply with social distancing rules due to Covid-19.

Basically, you’re supporting your local independents by putting your money where you can’t be.

We wanted to focus on the smaller, independent venues in Stirchley who will feel the impact of these new changes the most, those that are predominantly drinks-led: Cork & Cage, Couch and Wildcat. With Birmingham being restricted to household-only drinking and dining, gone are the beers or cocktails with friends and that is going to have yet another massive impact on an already struggling industry. We’d still recommend going to these places, and all the other lovely drinking and dining establishments in Stirchley too, by the way.

Giving money to a local business without getting anything back seems strange, but these are strange times and if we want things to survive then we need to support them. Aside from a very small amount (so we can send those who donate a thank you card) we will split the money equally three ways to go to Cork & Cage, Couch and Wildcat. We’re taking nothing from this, it’s not something we want to benefit from, we want to find a way to help. The businesses are also not involved in this either, but they do know about it.

Book a ghost table

(please note the account is under the Stirchley Snowflake festival)
Frequent Asked Questions

Lifford Lane Tip survey results

The results are in and it looks like the booking system at Lifford Lane Recycling Centre (aka Lifford Lane Tip) has mainly been a success. There were lots of calls for more slots, although quite a few people seemed to understand this was due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There were over 500 responses to the survey and responses came from across South Birmingham, including B12, B13, B14, B28, B29, B30, B31, B32 and B38. I sent the survey out to a number of local councillors for south Birmingham wards, including Stirchley, Kings Norton, Northfield, Selly Park, Kings Heath and Moseley and a bunch of them shared it. It was also featured on BrumHour too.

The majority of responses felt that the changes to the booking system that required people to book, rather than turn up and wait was positive and that they found the system easy to use. There were a number of responses that requested more availability at Lifford Lane, with some frustration over the lack of slots and the desire to go more regularly than the current system allowed. However there was a general understanding that the spacing between cars once inside the centre was due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A few responses pointed towards technical improvements to the system, such as allowing visitors to the website to see availability before entering personal details. However most people preferred the booking system overall and praised the reduction in congestion that it had created.

On the whole, from the responses to the questionnaire, residents are happy with the new system and with some tweaks, would prefer for it to continue rather than go back to the old system.

If you want to read the breakdown of the questions and all the comments, they’re all on the Lifford Lane Tip survey report here. Please excuse any typos in it; I put it together rather quickly after the local councillor asked if she could take it to a meeting the next day.

Temporary trial measures for Stirchley

Have you spotted the changes on Stirchley High Street yet?

I was really excited to see that finally we’re getting a pedestrian refuge on Bournville Lane. Along with the work the councillor and local residents have been doing with Mondelez to reduce the numbers of lorries travelling down the road (and getting stuck at the bridge), the new layout will make it far more friendly for people crossing from the main high street area to Stirchley Baths or the new Morrisons.

I’m particularly pleased because I got to do the walk around and help add to some suggestions before they went to the drawing board. I’m also championing parklets on the high street because they will add more seating, more greenery and outside seating that can be used by the community – or for some of the businesses on the high street that need places to have people wait before their appointment or even enjoy a bite to eat at.

Some of the other changes might seem a bit controversial but they’re really not – they’re a positive move in making Stirchley greener, cleaner and a better place to live.  I wrote a very long blog post on my other website to explain more about the changes and why they are positive. In short these are;

  • Birmingham City Council reports 25% of all car journeys are less than a mile
  • Retailers overestimate the number of people who use cars to get to their businesses
  • Suggestions up to 30 percent of driving is people looking for parking
  • Access to green spaces makes people happy

Birmingham City Council are actively consulting on these throughout the measures being in place and you can add your thoughts on a special emergency transport plan consultation website here.

Lifford Lane Tip feedback

Do you have opinions on the new booking system for accessing the Lifford Lane recycling centre (or the tip as most of us know it)?

I’ve been asked to collect some information from residents about how they’re finding the new booking system. So I’ve put together a really simple questionnaire below. Sadly whilst there’s still a global pandemic going on I can’t do anything fun, like the dreamcatchers, but hopefully this quick and easy questionnaire will do. Please feel free to pass it on to neighbours or residents who use the Lifford Lane recycling centre / tip as I’m keen to get a variety of responses, not only from those of us who live nearby but also others who may be a little further.

Feedback will be collated and fed back to Birmingham City Council. It’s completely anonymous – I’m not even asking for names or email addresses, just a rough area where you live and your thoughts.

Comments will be collected until the end of Sunday 6th September, collated and fed back to the council, as well as shared on this website.