Restau­rant fi­nally sees the light af­ter 3-year night­mare Scaf­fold­ing out­side Opus comes down

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Gra­ham Young Staff Re­porter

ONE of Birm­ing­ham’s top restau­rants can fi­nally see the light af­ter a three-year night­mare sur­rounded by scaf­fold­ing.

The fi­nal poles which hid Opus, in Corn­wall Street, have fi­nally been taken down af­ter what seemed like an age for staff and own­ers.

Pro­tec­tive hoard­ings had oblit­er­ated the gi­ant Opus sign in the heart of the busi­ness quar­ter since 2015.

The saga be­gan al­most three years ago when a glass panel fell out of the of­fices above, luck­ily on a Satur­day morn­ing when the area was quiet.

Re­me­dial work was orig­i­nally meant to last 12 weeks, with spe­cial­ist con­trac­tors brought in from Clear­line in New­cas­tle.

But even as re­cently as July, Opus had no in­di­ca­tion of when the scaf­fold­ing might be re­moved.

The work meant re­duced nat­u­ral light for the restau­rant and pedes­tri­ans walk­ing un­der­neath often had to brave wa­ter from work go­ing on above.

Opus is run by busi­ness part­ners Ann Tonks and Irene Al­lan who said they were left with no choice but to stay pos­i­tive through­out the or­deal. Ms Al­lan said: “The scaf­fold­ing was there for six weeks short of three years. It has been a very chal­leng­ing pe­riod, but we have sur­vived thanks to not sit­ting on our lau­rels. “We ran a re­ally good cam­paign to make sure that peo­ple still knew we were here and we also have ex­tremely loyal cus­tomers. “We just had to put our heads down, get on with it and think of it as pos­i­tive, not a neg­a­tive.” She added: “I have to say that the Clear­line guys have been ab­so­lutely lovely through­out and could have not have been nicer. “We are con­fi­dent that all is now well – the build­ing above has been triple tested.” With the Lightwell apart­ments pro­ject across the road also cov­ered in scaf­fold­ing, the whole street re­sem­bled a build­ing site.

But there is now con­sid­er­able light at the end of the tun­nel as the whole area is set to re­turn to nor­mal be­fore Christ­mas.The Lightwell scaf­fold­ing should be cleared away by early Novem­ber.

Other lo­cal food des­ti­na­tions af­fected by the dis­rup­tion have in­cluded Bon Bon sand­wich shop, Pur­nell’s Miche­lin-starred restau­rant and Zen Metro.

De­spite neigh­bour­ing restau­rants open­ing all the time – in­clud­ing Gusto, Gau­cho, The Al­chemist and The Ivy, and Tattu in Bar­wick Street, and Fazenda in Church Street com­ing soon – Ms Al­lan is now con­fi­dent about the fu­ture.

“We have weath­ered the storm ex­tremely well and ev­ery­thing is look­ing very pos­i­tive go­ing for­ward,” she said.

“We’ll be get­ting a new canopy for the front door next week.”

> Win­dow clean­ers tackle the im­pres­sive Opus win­dow af­ter it was hid­den for three years by scaf­fold­ing

> The Opus restau­rant win­dow be­neath scaf­fold­ing, in Corn­wall Street

> Irene Al­lan

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