More parking spaces disappear for another park as the Opus restaurant closes

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Another new park has been set up in Birmingham city center – showing how the city is emerging as a ‘clean air zone’ in more ways than one.

Hospitality hideouts and outdoor office meeting spaces are being introduced in an effort to allow social distancing and help places recover.

The last parklet was installed outside the Old Royal 1901 pub on Church Street, one of the finest Grade II buildings in the city center.

Since the introduction of the first roofless parklet on Waterloo Street last August, more have been installed, including one on Colmore Row, Barwick Street and further up on Church Street next to the Du Vin Hotel.



A new parklet has arrived on Church Street outside the Old Royal pub in the heart of the Colmore business improvement district in Birmingham city center.

Less than three weeks before the Clean Air Zone went live on June 1, the last facility was again topped with flowers and shrubs by Cofton Nurseries.

The new location is just over 100 meters from the Opus restaurant, which this week announced its permanent closure after 16 years, prompting comments that it was “a great loss for Birmingham”.

Since each parklet typically occupies the equivalent of two or three on-street parking spaces, more than a dozen spaces have now been lost.

What they said

When the Waterloo Street parklet opened, Colmore BID said: “It has a capacity of approximately 20 people in four defined areas; seats with a low table for coffee and drinks, a dining area with a high table, standing places only and a space specially designed to be wheelchair accessible.

“Located on two parking lots outside the Purecraft Bar and Kitchen, the area includes raised seating among the wooden walls, providing additional protection from road traffic.

“(They) will provide nearby hospitality venues with more facilities to serve customers.



Opus Cornwall Street May 13 - the day after the restaurant revealed it would not reopen once life attempts to return to normal after the Covid-19 pandemic
Opus Cornwall Street May 13 – the day after the restaurant revealed it would not reopen once life tries to get back to normal after the Covid-19 pandemic

“The new community space, which is located on Waterloo Street outside of the Purecraft Bar and Kitchen, is part of a larger program to support the entertainment and hospitality industry in the district which has suffered tremendously. during locking. “

Michele Wilby, CEO of Colmore BID, said: “Spaces are not just for people visiting nearby places. You can have meetings with colleagues, catch up with friends, or even bring your own packed lunch.

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Will introducing parklets and reducing parking spaces in a Clean Air Zone help save Birmingham city center pubs and restaurants?


“We want these spaces to become a permanent feature of the city and that we have plans for many more. “

After introducing four more in September, Michele added, “We’ve had really fantastic feedback from both companies and people using the program and it’s great to see them being used not just for a drink. and a bite to eat, but also people who organize outdoor meetings and usually take time for themselves. “

In January of this year, after the lockdown was introduced, Colmore BID said it had to shut them down temporarily.



Opus Cornwall Street May 13 - the day after the restaurant revealed it would not reopen once life tries to get back to normal after the Covid-19 pandemic
Opus Cornwall Street May 13 – the day after the restaurant revealed it would not reopen once life tries to get back to normal after the Covid-19 pandemic

He said: “While we are saddened that we had to take this step, it is in the best interests of those who live, work and visit the district, to ensure their safety.

“These measures will be reviewed in accordance with government guidelines and we hope to be able to welcome customers again soon.”

They have now been reopened and others are “planted” in the streets of the city.



German market concrete counter terrorism barriers beyond the parklet on Waterloo Street
German market concrete counter terrorism barriers beyond the parklet on Waterloo Street

Other considerations

Each parklet replaces between two and three on-street parking spaces.

Even more space has been lost to widened sections of sidewalks, including Church Street across from the Du Vin Hotel, Temple Street West, and Temple Row.

Some might argue that these spaces could have been used by visitors to the city to visit indoor hospitality spots such as Purnell’s Michelin-starred restaurant on the corner of Cornwall Street on New Market Street.

When the Clean Air Zone tax goes into effect on June 1, drivers of non-compliant cars will have to pay a charge of £ 8 per day to get into town.

Meanwhile, new measures have been taken recently to limit vehicle access to the city center, including intersection closures and ‘bus gates’ which have been introduced at St Chad’s Queensway and Colmore Circus as well as at Moor Street Queensway.

Other areas of the city are undergoing major roadworks, including Cornwall Street, Broad Street and Colmore Row outside Snow Hill Station.



One of Birmingham city center's many new 'parklets', this one outside the 200 Degree Cafe on Colmore Row has been decorated with birds under the foliage that protect those using the tables and benches at the interior of traffic fumes
One of Birmingham city center’s many new ‘parklets’, this one outside the 200 Degree Cafe on Colmore Row has been decorated with birds under the foliage that protect those using the tables and benches at the interior of traffic fumes

The stretch of Cornwall Street between Opus and Newhall Street is being transformed into an area where hotel companies can serve customers outside.

But this work will take until September. A narrow lane has been maintained to allow drivers to ride one-way between Church Street and Newhall Street.

This week, Birmingham City Council announced that Paradise Circus Queensway – renamed Lyon Queensway in December 2018 but not yet implemented due to construction – would never reopen to through traffic, and instead be the preserve of trams, buses, taxis and bicycles.

And finally … just when you thought it was safe to go out to sit in a parklet, the city is experiencing the coldest spring in decades with rain in May, which again hit attempts to hospitality after some lockdown restrictions were lifted in April. 12.

The weather in April and May of last year was remarkably dry and sunny, just as people were told to stay indoors for the lockdown, but the recent and prolonged cold spell was a reminder that it was not not always do what you want them to do.

According to the website climatedate.eu, the average rainfall in Birmingham per month ranges from 46mm in July to 66mm in August and December.

The average number of rainy or snowy days varies from 13 days in March, April and June to at least 17 days in January and December.

This means that on average it rains more than 48% of the days of the year – with or without a roofless parklet to sit on.


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