Corporation Street ‘a land Christmas forgot’
CORPORATION Street has become a ‘land that Christmas forgot’, according to one of the city’s longest serving traders
Rex Johnson & Sons has been selling jewellery in the city centre for 70 years.
Now, after a 45-year career, director David Johnson said he had never known one of the city’s most famous streets to be so lacking in sparkle.
The annual Birmingham German Christmas Market is back on New Street again, running from Victoria Square to the Rotunda end of High Street.
But Mr Johnson spoke out after we received a complaint from a reader that Corporation Street, High Street and Cannon Street hardly looked like they were in the festive spirit.
With Birmingham City Council admitting it has ‘not had a budget for Christmas lights for some years’, Mr Johnson said: “I am sick and tired of New Street looking like a Christmas Grotto when this is the street that Christmas. forgot.
“We haven’t had any Christmas lights down Corporation Street since they opened the Midland Metro tram lines in May 2016. I am told it is because of the Metro they can’t put them up!
“I’ve had some lights put up myself (over the front of the shop) because it’s better than nothing.
“But it looks as though Christmas has come everywhere except Corporation Street. Retail BID did put some trees down here with lights on one year, but they were abused by the public.
“I have been talking about having uplights above the fascias, but nobody can give permission for everything.
“Steve Hewlett from Retail BID has been incredibly helpful but I think the council won’t support (the idea) and the landlords don’t want to know either. I’ve been trying since January to make sure we could have lights this Christmas and nothing has happened.
“On dark nights, the difference between New Street and Corporation Street is a complete joke.”
With Birmingham City Council struggling to make ends meet, members of the city centre Retail BID have clubbed together to try to fund some decent lights.
Almost £100,000 has been spent on a pioneering LED system which will provide a year-round ability to change the colour of the lights hidden in 29 New Street trees.
A council spokesman said:”The festive lights across Birmingham, not just the city centre, are funded by the local Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and individual businesses, as the city council has not had a budget for Christmas lights for some years.
“These have to be fixed to suitable infrastructure. However, some of the usual points – in particular around New Street and High Street – are not accessible this year, due to ongoing development works.”