Hurst Street pedestrianisation plans set to boost trade

Hospitality venues get green light for street expansion.

Visitors to Birmingham’s Southside will be able to enjoy a whole new al fresco experience thanks to the approval of Southside Business Improvement District’s ‘StrEATery’ plans, which will see hospitality businesses increase their capacities due to weekend road closures along Hurst Street.

Starting on Saturday 15th August, Birmingham City Council has agreed to pedestrianize Hurst Street from Inge Street to Skinner Lane for six consecutive weekends. All venues found along this stretch will be able to add extra covers on the newly cordoned-off road, increasing revenue that has been lost due to new capacity restrictions.

Popular spots such as The Loft Lounge, Sidewalk, Missing Bar and Chinatown restaurants like Topokki will be allowed to utilise the space on Hurst Street from 12pm each Saturday with trading finishing at 11pm on Sundays. Hurst Street will remain in use to vehicles during the week.

When the plans to reopen hospitality venues were announced, Southside BID entered the StrEATery proposal to the council to close roads and allow outdoor seating.

Businesses will now need to apply for outdoor trading licenses, with Southside BID helping to fast track the process. The BID has also provided a furniture hire package for the venues that don’t have outdoor tables.

Lawrence Barton, owner of Southside bars The Loft Lounge and The Village, said: “This latest announcement from Birmingham City Council is absolutely vital for businesses in our district. Having the ability to increase our capacity could save dozens of jobs, as well as helping hospitality venues to bring staff back from furlough.

“We’ve applied for licenses for both The Village and The Loft Lounge and we know all our neighbours will be doing so too. We can’t wait to see Southside get back to its vibrant best.”

Julia Robinson, manager at Southside BID, said: “The hospitality trade is integral to the Southside community. With August Bank Holiday on the horizon, it’s vitally important our bars and restaurants get back up to full speed as quickly and as safely as possible.

“We’re fortunate to have Hurst Street available to us, so we didn’t waste any time in contacting the council and seeing if we could temporarily pedestrianize the area. The decision to sign off the StrEATery plans will drive much needed revenue, which has the potential to save jobs. We want to thank Birmingham City Council and we’re looking forward to seeing even more of you in Southside.”