Prezzo Italian restaurant in Mere Green one of 46 outlets hit by cost of living crisis
A popular Italian restaurant in Mere Green has permanently closed its doors. It is a blow for the area, which has only recently seen all of the units at the prestigious Mulberry Walk development fully let.
Prezzo in Mere Green is one of 46 closures announced by the Italian chain on Monday, April 24. The Mere Green restaurant’s website says the venue has permanently closed.
The firm said it was part of a ‘strategic review of its business’, where it said it would focus on its ‘better-performing restaurants’ to ‘ensure long-term, sustainable growth’.
The firm said it has informed all its affected employees as part of a consultation process and said it will look to ‘redeploy as many staff internally as possible and will support others in finding new opportunities’.
Prezzo said it has seen keys costs rise in the last year including more than doubling of utility bills which now represent nine per cent of total revenues as well ‘continued inflationary pressures’ on key ingredients,
Hight Street guru Mary ‘Queen of Shops’ Portas is being recruited by Sutton Coldfield BID
High street guru Portas is ready to inspire town businesses
World famous shopping and retail guru Mary Portas is bringing her expertise to Sutton Coldfield to help invigorate the heart of the town.
Royal Sutton Coldfield Business Improvement District (BID) – which is funded by 377 local businesses – has invited Portas to address local businesses at a seminar in the town centre this June.
BID chair Alison Clack, Managing Director of Cerda Planning, said: “We are very excited by the prospect of Mary Portas coming to Sutton Coldfield and sharing her knowledge and expertise in a way that will inspire local businesses.
“The BID understands that Sutton Coldfield town centre, like most towns and High Streets across the UK, is going through a period of change and we simply cannot ignore the concerns expressed in the media and on social media.
“We feel that an inspirational seminar from a renowned expert in this field will help to bring local businesses together with a renewed sense of resilience and pride in their town centre.
“High Streets and town centres are changing and, at the seminar, businesses from all sectors will hear first-hand how they can work together and overcome the challenges they face.
“As a BID representing hundreds of local businesses in the town centre, we want to change the narrative that Sutton Coldfield is more than just retail and be as proactive as possible. Bringing in Mary Portas to share her knowledge and expertise will go some way to help in these challenging times.”
Businesswoman, broadcaster, author and activist Portas is the UK’s best known retail guru who, in 2011, conducted a review of the future for high streets for the British government.
After becoming a board member at Harvey Nichols at the age of 30, she founded her creative consultancy Portas, going on to work with some of the biggest names in global retail.
Her BBC series – Mary Queen of Shops and she has presented on television and radio for the BBC and Channel 4 ever since. Mary’s current podcast series include Beautiful Misfits and #1 business podcast The Kindness Economy.
As Chair of the Better Business Act campaign Mary remains very relevant and responsive to the changing business agenda.
Sutton Coldfield town centre is the Second City’s second biggest shopping and business area, second only in size to Birmingham city centre, and its BID delivers year round events to boost footfall such as the monthly Farmers and Craft Market and Christmas events.
Last year the BID commenced its new five-year term by launching a vibrant new ‘Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield’ brand – with special events, competitions and improvements designed to make it a destination to spend time, eat, drink, shop and relax.
The programme of events has seen a significant upturn in footfall for the centre, and more are planned throughout 2023.
BID Manager Michelle Baker said: “Bringing an expert of Mary Portas’s stature to Sutton Coldfield for this seminar is the next step in the renewal of our town centre, which the BID is driving through investment in special events and improvements.
“We know there are exciting regeneration plans for the town centre and until that gets underway we will continue to play our part and host events to boost footfall and support local businesses.
“We encourage businesses to attend this event with Mary Portas, to hear how town centres are changing and how we can all play our part.”
The seminar, which will be held on Wednesday 7th June at Sutton Coldfield College, will free to BID Members – but will be invite only.
Boss calls for joined-up thinking to link health and social care sectors
A Sutton Coldfield-based care services firm has described a Government £200 million scheme to support short-term care placements as a ‘sticking plaster.’
Tinga Umera, director of Nexus Care Services, based at Mitre Court, Lichfield Road, also criticised the Government for announcing it as ‘new’ money, when in fact it has been diverted from existing healthcare budgets.
The funding, which was announced on January 30 by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay, will pay for short-term care placements and will fund maximum stays of up to four weeks per patient until the end of March.
The move is designed to free up hospital beds so that people can be admitted more quickly from A&E to wards.
Mr Umera said: “Once again, the Government has announced ‘new’ money which has come from existing healthcare budgets
“Instead of looking to construct a joined-up approach linking the health and social care sectors, as well as working with private-sector providers such as Nexus to ensure a joined-up approach, they have merely put a sticking plaster on the issue.”
Nexus Care Services advocates a person-centred approach in doing as much as possible to maintain the individual receiving care, remaining in their home, and receiving support and care there for as long as possible.
“All too often the overarching trend is to move people from their long-term home into a care or nursing home after they had a spell in hospital. In placing these people in short-term care for four weeks or so, the government are simply trying to find a quick fix to negative headlines, rather than doing what is best for older people needing care,” Mr Umera added.
Nexus Care Services provide visited and live-in care across Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth, Lichfield & Cannock and Burntwood and further into Staffordshire.
Farmers Market special with 50 stalls set to line the Parade.
And there will be plenty of spooky fun at the market on Sunday, October 30th – with characters Jack Skellington and Sally Finkelstein, from The Nightmare Before Christmas, towering above shoppers on stilts.
Even the stallholders will be getting into the Halloween spirit, with prizes on offer to the best fancy dressed trader and the best spooky stall at the market, which is being organised by Sutton Coldfield Business Improvement District (BID).
Michelle Baker, Sutton Coldfield BID Manager, said “We were absolutely blown away by the fantastic response to our first Farmers Market in September, and the next one is already going to be much bigger – with a third more stalls.
“We asked local residents to come along and support the first event and thousands turned out. We had brilliant feedback on the quality of the stalls, the atmosphere, and the way the market brought the feelgood factor to the town centre.
“As a Business Improvement District, we are exploring lots of ways to boost footfall in the town centre and introducing these quality speciality markets, selling local produce and artisan gifts, is already providing a reason to visit Sutton Coldfield.
“Now the market on October 30 should be even more fun, with all kinds of spooky Halloween fun, including free music and face painting and even more stalls.
“I would urge residents to come along and check out the brilliant stalls and support an event that is breathing life into the town centre.”
The speciality market is just one of the BID’s ideas to raise the profile of the town – following the launch of a vibrant new ‘Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield’ brand – with special events, competitions and improvements designed to make it a destination to spend time, eat, drink, shop and relax.
The market was launched as a three month trial which, if supported by the local community, will become a year-round event, 12 months of the year.
For Christmas, the BID has also announced six weekends of free town centre attractions, including a giant snow globe, Breakfast with Santa events and festive characters including the Grinch.
Sutton Coldfield town centre will be spreading the festive fun this season, with events every weekend over the Christmas period – including a visit from the Grinch.
Instead of a one-day Christmas lights switch on event, organisers at Sutton Coldfield Business Improvement District (BID) will be spreading the Christmas magic over six consecutive weekends, so that more visitors and families can enjoy the festive activities in Sutton Coldfield town centre.
Starting on November 19 and running up to and including Christmas Eve, the BID is funding six weekends of Christmas fun and entertainment for festive shoppers in the town centre.
The extended Christmas activities are part of the new Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield programme of year-round events which aims to encourage more people to choose the town centre as a destination to spend time, eat, drink, shop and relax.
Christmas activities will include an amazing life-size snow globe in the town centre over a three-day period, which shoppers can step inside for a free Christmas photograph.
And Christmas characters will be roaming among shoppers, including giant Christmas Penguins, life-size Gingerbread Men, Father Christmas and The Grinch.
The town’s Christmas lights switch on event has historically been funded jointly by Gracechurch Shopping Centre and Sutton Coldfield Business Improvement District (BID) but the event did not go ahead for the last two years due to the Covid pandemic.
This year Sutton Coldfield BID would be the sole funder and has taken the decision to do things differently and spread the Christmas magic over six weekends instead of focusing one evening of entertainment.
It is hoped this change will benefit local businesses and boost footfall each weekend in the run up to Christmas.
Bid Manager Michelle Baker said: “We’re aiming to make Sutton Coldfield town centre a big attraction, with regular events to bring people in.
“So, we thought for Christmas this year instead of putting all of our efforts into one lights switch on evening, we would do something different and make the fun last throughout the festive season, with something every weekend.
“Residents will love the visitors and attractions we have lined up for Christmas – we just hope the Grinch doesn’t spoil everything!”
An artist’s impression of how the new store and car park will look
Store to be built at former Waitrose
Mere Green in Sutton Coldfield is to get its second discount supermarket after plans for a new Aldi were approved by Birmingham City Council.
The new store will create 40 jobs and will join Lidl, Sainsbury’s and M&S Market Hall, as well as Poundland to a lesser extent a wide choice of grocery shopping.
It will. be built within three years on the Waitrose site in Belwell Lane in Mere Green, which will see the former supermarket building demolished.
Also set to go will be the neighbouring three-storey Atlas House, which used to house Flints bar at the ground level. The council ’s planning department approved the proposal on August 12, with Aldi given three years to build the new supermarket.
The new-build Aldi will be a ‘modest scale supermarket’ so the German chain says. It will be there to fulfil a ‘neighbourhood shopping role’.
Planners set some standard conditions for the development with Aldi asked to build the store according to its amended plans, it must submit a contamination remediation scheme and contaminated land verification report. It is also required to provide details on how drainage will be dealt with.
The planning statement said: “[It will] remove a dated and overbearing structure which dominates the Belwell Lane frontage and replace it with a food store of an appropriate scale and enhanced design that engages with the surrounding environment.”
A very different style of fast-food restaurant has opened in a former Sutton Coldfield bank building.
The German Doner Kebab opened in the old Cynergy Bank premises at the corner of Holland Street and the Parade in Sutton Coldfield, on July 5
The German Diner Kebab is part of chain which opened its first store in Berlin in 1989
Meats are imported from Germany ‘to maintain quality and consistency’, while the brand uses locally produced vegetables which are prepared daily along with its ‘special doner kebab bread’. It says it offers a ‘delicious gourmet food experience’.
The new Sutton restaurant has an extensive dine -n area with booths and other areas with stalls. There is takeaway and click and collect, and the now ubiquitous delivery section with a side window in Holland Street.
A spokesperson for the chain said: “German Doner Kebab has opened its doors in Sutton Coldfield, bringing a new fast-casual dining experience to the West Midlands town. It is revolutionising the kebab in the UK, bringing a fresh, high-quality taste sensation that has made it the number one spot to enjoy a kebab.
“Freshly prepared in front of customers, the game-changing kebabs are made using premium, lean, succulent meats and fresh local vegetables, served in handmade toasted breads with unique signature sauces. The new restaurant in Sutton Coldfield is the brand’s 106th site in the UK as it continues to bring the GDK experience to more locations throughout the country. It is creating in the region of 40 jobs.”
The rapid expansion of German Doner Kebab will see 79 new restaurants open in the UK in 2022, after 39 opened last year. The chain also has outlets in Bull Street in Birmingham city centre, Coventry, Walsall, West Bromwich, Moseley Road, Balsall Heath, with outlets ‘opening soon’ in Merry Hill and Wolverhampton.
Sutton Coldfield rising sports star Eryk Neumann has secured support from Aldi as part of the supermarket’s new partnership with SportsAid.
Eryk has been chosen alongside 19 other young athletes who are performing at the top of their field as they work towards becoming Olympic or Paralympic athletes.
The partnership will see Aldi provide financial support to Eryk through SportsAid, alongside quarterly training programmes to nurture their abilities beyond sport. This includes top tips on healthy eating, performance nutrition and managing mental wellbeing, as well as social media and media training.
In addition, Eryk will be involved with the promotion of the supermarket’s ‘Get Set to Eat Fresh’ programme which aims to educate children on the importance of a healthy diet.
SportsAid’s extensive alumni stretches across the generations, including Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Mo Farah, Baroness Grey-Thompson, Dame Sarah Storey, Sir Steve Redgrave, Dame Katherine Grainger, Denise Lewis OBE – and more recently, Dame Laura Kenny, Tom Daley OBE, Ellie Simmonds OBE, Dina Asher-Smith and Adam Peaty OBE.
The SportsAid partnership builds on Aldi’s existing work with Team GB and ParalympicsGB, where they support Great Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
Adam Zavalis, Marketing Director at Aldi UK, said: “Since 2015, we’ve been the Official Supermarket of Team GB, supporting them with helpful initiatives and keeping them fuelled, and are proud to have also recently become the official partner of ParalympicsGB. We’re pleased to be growing our support for British athletes like Eryk by getting the next generation of promising young sportspeople on board and look forward to supporting them on their journey.”
Eryk Neumann said: “My partnership with Aldi means I can pursue my ambitions knowing I got their full support.”
Poundland is to open its first West Midlands ‘Poundland Local’ store in Sutton Coldfield
It is following in the footsteps of the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s with their compact local stores. The Boldmere Road store is part of a pilot scheme to bring convenience shopping to neighbourhoods it does not currently serve.
The first Poundland Local store in the West Midlands will open later this summer at the busy Boldmere Road shopping area in Sutton.
Poundland transformation and retail director, Austin Cooke, said: “Each of the new stores will have a range of items tailored to suit the needs of customers in each neighbourhood, whether they live or work locally.
“In the current economic climate, people are carefully watching how much they spend, and we want them to know that convenience shopping does not have to mean they compromise on value for money.”
The Poundland Local format was unveiled in May 2021, with four convenience stores in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. Under the pilot scheme, Poundland is actively looking for other suitable locations particularly inside the M25.
Poundland Local stores typically employ around 12 staff and offer items from the main store’s core range, including groceries, snacks, household products, health and beauty and batteries.
Customers will also find items they would expect in a convenience store including fresh fruit and vegetables, chilled and frozen food, bread and morning goods, hot pies and pastries, nappies and formula milk, beers, wines and spirits.
Walsall-based Poundland has a network of over 850 stores in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.