Cor­po­ra­tion Street ‘a land Christ­mas for­got’

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

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.”

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