Stirchley Dreams

tags on a dreamcatcher

In Summer 2019 I led a community consultation project asking residents and visitors to Stirchley to share their dreams for what people would like to see on Stirchley High Street.

Wanting something simple but eye-catching, I made large dreamcatchers from hula hoops and asked people to affix their dreams for Stirchley to one of them – or fill in an an online form (now closed).  Dreamcatchers were left in Stirchley Library, Artefact Projects, Stirchley Baths, caneat and at two of the Stirchley Community Market events. Tags were made from spare bits of card and people were free to write or draw what they liked. The idea was to allow people to express whatever and however they felt the need to without constraining them.

Results ranged from sustainable dreams of less cars, more trees and more traffic calming measures to encouraging the independent spirit of cooperatives and businesses on the high street.

You are welcome to read through the results below.

Thank you to everyone who took part – and special thanks to those who donated hula loops and wool and adopted one of the dreamcatchers in their venue.

Results from the dreamcatchers


Results from the online form

“Lots of lovely independent businesses”

“To be known as a creative and individual district in Birmingham. A destination known for it’s independent scene where people will travel to visit. Bold art and community spirit. Maintain original architecture. Actively addressing environmental issues such as climate change, air pollution. Less traffic passing through. Rewards for visiting by bike/foot/public transport rather than car. More green spaces and community gardens.”

“More independent businesses- the ones we have are brilliant and it’s great wandering down the high street
Improved shop fronts (on some shops)
Would be lovely to have eg: deli/ specialist shops such as bookshop etc to properly be able to ‘shop local’
Maybe some seating areas?
Increased variety- ie: no more curry houses/ pizza shops…..
no to a drive through! Also consideration given to the new businesses to be built on land at far end- don’t think we need another identikit retail park”

“A ‘pay as you feel’ cafe or shop, like some collaboration with the Real Junk Food Project and Brum Skippers. I love all the new quirky cafes and shops but as someone who grew up in Stirchley and was raised off of the state, I’m not naive enough to think that the new places are affordable for all. Stirchley has such a mixed demographic which makes it amazing and so the high street should be just as inclusive. Rebuild the high street but please, please don’t gentrify it.”

“Still kinda want that pigeon party”

“Lido and a ‘village square’”

“To create an edible high street with plenty of planters sponsered by each shop and upcycled from untreated palletwoods. Available for all.”

“I want a lovely old fashioned ‘old lady’ type cafe, that does bloody good teas, coffees and cakes, and trad stuff like baked potatoes, soups and toasties. I’d be there every week at least!”

“No empty units, totally bustling with people providing a good mix of the useful and the beautiful, delicious things and relaxing things, spaces to socialise, relax, learn and/or just plain enjoy yourself. I dream of it being both green (in plants) and colourful (either plants or paint). Safe for children and accessible to people with different abilities and incomes. I would love a swimming pool nearby and selfishly more things to open on a Sunday and a Monday night. And if it featured the music/book/teashop I (like so many others) have often dreamt of opening even better…”

“To have a clean and vibrant high street with independent shops – the go to place in Birmingham for indepentant shopping. Regular street fairs/parties”

“Bookshop! (Secondhand or a mix of new and secondhand.) Another charity shop would be tidy too.”

“More traffic calming measures. More pedestrian crossings. Speed camera to enforce the 20mph zone. Narrow the road and widen the pavements.”

“Introduce a law by which if a landlord leaves a property demolished and empty for over a year, it becomes common land and is turned into a public park / square. For example, the corner of Mary Vale Road.”

“Pedestrian Friendly, not car dominated.”

“Look at copying the Bournville Green parade of shops where no corporate chains are permitted. Implement a Stirchley version to preserve current identity.”

“A council-supported fund to help established businesses buy their property, reducing their outgoings and ensuring their survival during Stirchley’s inevitable gentrification.”

“No abandoned shops or graffiti”

“Proper bike parking on the high street.”

“I’d like to see more flowers, plants, greenery. A space that is open and welcoming for people to sit and enjoy the village. I’d like Stirchley to embrace the village vibe and all that is unique about it. It would be great to see more diversity in the businesses set up here (I know, it’s already starting) such as wellness spaces, other cuisines/food spots. Also, an instagram wall would be a great way to attract new people to the area/to the businesses here.”

“Pedestrianisation!! Or if not that, then some clean and beautiful shopfronts to make it look beautiful.”

“A nice, affordable gym (I miss Fitness First)”

“A Simply MILK STATION!!!”