Tag Archives: Sutton Coldfield

Mary ‘Queen of Shops’ to champion Sutton

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.

To find out more about the event, inquire about attendance and discover sponsorship opportunities, contact Michelle Baker, Sutton Coldfield BID Manager, by emailing: bidmanager@suttoncoldfieldtowncentre.co.uk

Aldi gets the go-ahead for new Sutton store

 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.”

On the march for hospice

Colourful elephants to take over Sutton Coldfield in celebration of 40th anniversary

St Giles Hospice is delighted to officially announce the launch of “March of the Elephants”, an exciting public art sculpture trail due to take place in Summer 2023. 

The event will celebrate the vibrancy and creativity that our community has to offer as well as showcasing a spectacular variety of talent across Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield and Tamworth.

March of the Elephants will see St Giles Hospice team up with event experts Wild in Art, who have been delivering world class public art events across the globe for over ten years. 

More than 60 elephant sculptures will bring colour and joy to the streets, parks and open spaces across the streets for 10 weeks before being auctioned off to raise funds for St Giles Hospice.

Decorated by local and national artists, designers and illustrators, the elephants will form an ‘unforgettable’ trail of colourful sculptures for visitors to discover and enjoy. The free public art event is set to benefit the whole community, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to join in the fun. 

Andrew Harkness, Chief Executive at St Giles Hospice, said: “We are so excited to be working with Wild in Art to bring this trail to Lichfield, Tamworth and Sutton Coldfield. The trail will bring tourism and economic benefits to the region, put smiles on people’s faces, promote wellbeing and exploration and raise vital funds for St Giles Hospice.” 

St Giles Hospice will soon be announcing some of the partners and sponsors who have already marched on board for 2023, but is now calling out for other businesses to take the opportunity to get involved by sponsoring an elephant sculpture. 

There is also an opportunity for schools and community groups to join in the march, with a chance to design and adopt their very own mini elephant sculpture. 

If you’re an artist, represent a business, school, college, or local community group and want to be involved, or are interested in finding out more, visit: Insert link here or email elephants@stgileshospice.com 

Guten tag to German kebab restaurant

German Doner Kebab has opened in the former Cynergy Bank building at the corner of the Parade and Holland Street in Sutton Coldfield
The new German kebab shop has opened in Sutton Coldfield

Chain opens new outlet in Sutton Coldfield

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.

German Doner Kebab has opened its latest outlet in Sutton Coldfield

What’s on the German Doner Kebab menu

“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.

Digging in for Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Terry Wood planting the tree, with  almshouse residents, Little Sutton Primary School children and West Midlands Police Cadets at Manorial Wood for the Queen’s Jubilee Canopy Initiative

Sutton Trust plants yew tree to mark 70th anniversary

Sutton Coldfield residents have been digging deep to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust (SCCT) was joined by the local community to plant a yew tree at Manorial Wood, as part of the Queen’s Canopy tree planting initiative to mark her Platinum Jubilee.

Chairman of Sutton in Bloom Terry Wood joined SCCT staff and Keith Dudley, chair of trustees to plant the commemorative yew tree, as well of two long-serving almshouse residents, children from Little Sutton Primary School, West Midlands Police Cadets and two local chartered foresters.

Tina Swani, chief executive of Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, said: “It’s fantastic that we were able to be part of the Queen’s Canopy planting at Manorial Wood, and what a great way to mark the Platinum Jubilee.

“We’d like to thank everyone who was involved in the project and for helping us plant the Yew tree, which will be here and part of Sutton Coldfield for generations to come.”

The tree planting commemorated a significant milestone in the Queen’s reign, celebrating 70 years on the throne, and within that time the Trust – which has origins that can be traced back to the Tudor times – has achieved its own milestones that align with royal events.

1528 – The Royal Charter established the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield in 1528, during the reign of Henry VIII – father to the first Queen Elizabeth. Four years before she was born, the first ever almshouses were also built at a total cost of £608.

1558 – Queen Elizabeth I came to the throne, when Royal Town Sutton Coldfield was celebrating its 30th birthday.

1926 – 10 Almshouses in Walmley were being built, just as Queen Elizabeth II had been born and electricity was installed three years later.

1971 – Princess Anne opened a new Residents’ Lounge and 13 dwellings on Walmley site. Trustees decided to rent a TV and buy a piano for the lounge.

Silver Jubilee in 1977 – Sutton Coldfield officially became part of the city of Birmingham. Around this time, the first grants to educational organisations were being made and included awards to five primary schools, a school music association and a sports association.

Ruby Jubilee 1992 – The Trust hit the £1 million mark for grants awarded that year. This is the first time the Trust granted this amount of money, which was a total of £1,357,163 to help individuals and organisations across Sutton Coldfield.

Diamond Jubilee 2012 – The name of the Trust was changed to Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, to reflect the Trust’s role more appropriately, within the town, as an independent charity which no longer has a direct association with the local authority.

This year, Princess Alexandra opened new warden’s flats in Walmley, and more trees were planted to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

To find out more information about Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, please visit: http://www.suttoncoldfieldcharitabletrust.com/alms-houses.htm 

Sutton first to host new digital hubs

Rebecca Hambleton, Street Manager at BT and Raj Mack, Head of Digital Innovation and Partnerships at Birmingham City Council
One of the new Street Hub units in Sutton Coldfield

BT Street Hubs offer free ads for local business and environmental monitoring

Sutton Coldfield has pioneered the introduction of new street digital advertising units, with a town business reaping the benefit of free advertising.

Birmingham is latest UK city to benefit from BT’s new digital street units, with the first three units unveiled in Sutton , and more to follow across the city over the next few months. 

As part of the launch, local businesses in Birmingham are being given the chance to advertise for free on the new Street Hub units.

The first to benefit in the town is Andy Thompson, owner of Live @ Level One, a 200-plus capacity live music venue in Sutton Coldfield, who is enjoying free advertising on the new units,

BT is donating up to £7.5 million of outdoor advertising space to small businesses across the UK, as it continues its nationwide roll out of the new Street Hub 2.0 units – which help build the UK’s digital infrastructure and include services such as ultrafast Wi-Fi, an emergency call button and rapid mobile device charging.

The launch comes as a recent BT study found that more than 60 per cent of small businesses agree that local advertising would help to increase awareness of their business, with 40 per cent saying it would encourage more people to shop at their local high street.

However, almost half (49 per cent) said that cost was a major obstacle to them investing in local Out Of Home (OOH) advertising. BT is now taking action to remove one of the biggest barriers to adoption, with the Street Hub’s digital advertising screens designed to help small firms attract more customers to high streets.

The new digital units can also help local councils achieve their social and economic improvement and sustainability goals. With Birmingham City Council aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030, each Street Hub 2.0 unit is to be fitted with air quality and CO2 sensors.

Birmingham participated in the first trials of air quality data monitoring with BT in 2019, with data collected from modular sensors installed on first generation Street Hubs units. The sensors provided insight to a group of researchers and scientists, led by the University of Birmingham, to help monitor air pollution in the area. 

With the next generation Street Hubs, Birmingham City Council can benefit from real-time, actionable data on Carbon Monoxide (CO), Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Nitrogen Oxide (NO), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter (PM1, 2.5 and 10). 

Expanding air quality monitoring across the city will provide Birmingham City Council with the insight needed to take action to improve air quality, contributing to the health and wellbeing of local people.

Street Hubs can also help to enhance digital connectivity and services for communities through features such as ultrafast Wi-Fi, access to  charity helplines, and local wayfinding via an integrated tablet. 

Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, Brigid Jones, said: “The last couple of years has seen a devastating impact on many of our local businesses, charities and community organisations.

“I hope our communities and voluntary sector organisations use this opportunity to raise awareness of the fantastic work they are doing to support our communities and local centres. 

Andy Thompson, Owner of Live @ Level One with his new advertisement

“We welcome this digital investment by BT, enhancing Birmingham’s growing reputation as a welcoming place for digital innovation and investment.”

Rebecca Hambleton, Street Manager at BT, said: “We hope that, by gifting free digital advertising space via our new Street Hub units, we can give small businesses in Birmingham an extra boost.

“Our new Street Hub units can play a vital role in rejuvenating local high streets – whether that’s through building greater awareness of small businesses through free advertising, boosting local digital infrastructure or helping cities to reach their sustainability goals.

“It’s great to see the new units will shortly be providing valuable ‘real time’ data on air quality for the local council, helping to keep Birmingham a clean city to live and visit.”

Andy Thompson said: “I’m already a relentless marketer, promoter, and advertiser but I’m limited to the avenues that we can afford as a small business.

“Local advertising opportunities, like those provided by BT’s new Street Hub 2.0 units, offer more exposure, and give new local businesses like mine a greater chance of survival and success.”

BT’s latest study also revealed that around two thirds (66 per cent) of local businesses think that mobile connectivity could be improved in their local community, to help them work faster and smarter. BT’s new Street Hub 2.0 units will enhance local digital infrastructure by including the option to install mini mobile masts or ‘small cells’ on the structure to further boost 4G and 5G coverage in the local area. 

Subject to local planning processes, BT is aiming to roll out around 300 of its new Street Hub 2.0 units across the UK in the next 12 months, working closely with local councils and communities.

Cheers as Four Oaks opens after facelift

The Four Oaks in Sutton Coldfield has reopened after a huge facelift

Upmarket features and outdoor dining featured in multi-million pound refit

A second pub in Sutton Coldfield has opened after undergoing a multi-million pound facelift, offering an upmarket feel and an extra bonus for electric car drivers.

Following the reopening of the former Blake Barn, the Four Oaks pub in is now open, with a remodelled and striking interior, beautiful outdoor spaces and an exceptional food offering that celebrates the very best of British produce.

Not only that, the pub also offers much-needed multiple electric car charging points on the car park for the convencience of the local community.

Sitting in a prime location next to Sutton Park and the historic four oak trees giving rise to its name, The Four Oaks pub has been radically transformed, both inside and out, to showcase an outstanding venue that provides the perfect setting for all social occasions all year round. The extensive restoration has also created 54 new jobs locally.

From its beautifully elevated main entrance to its stunning interiors, The Four Oaks pub has been extensively re-designed and every detail carefully re-imagined to create a hand-crafted feel to inspire and welcome its guests.

Internal features include a new walnut bar, blackened steel bar fonts and limestone flooring, offset with elegant velvet upholstery in earthy tones, and real oak. The impressive crittall wine room, raised private dining room and Scandi inspired spaces, with warming fires throughout, beautifully blend tradition with innovation to offer a relaxed and cosy environment.

Guests looking for an al-fresco spot to socialise with family and friends can choose to enjoy the terraced patio at the side of the pub or scandi-style garden at the rear of the pub, featuring fire pits and a fully-stocked outdoor bar.

Liam Smith, general manager at The Four Oaks, said: “We have created a beautiful and inviting space to welcome guests at any time of day – whether they’re joining us for brunch or for Sunday lunch after a family or dog walk in Sutton Park, or for an evening with friends. 

“With increased dining capacity for 180 guests inside and 100 outside, the food and drink offering at The Four Oaks showcases the best of British farms and vineyards and the new menu focused on outstanding food, from exceptional Sunday roasts to small plates and stix, perfect for shared grazing. There is an extensive selection of drinks, including special craft ales and lagers, classic and crafted cocktails, plus an array of non-alcoholic drinks. 

“We can’t wait to share our impressive new space with our surrounding community and look forward to welcoming our guests – both old and new – to The Four Oaks.”

For more information, please visit www.thefouroaks-royalsuttoncoldfield.co.uk.

4,000 trees planted at Sutton beauty spot

New trees to replace woodland felled in a controversial move last year have been planted by children at a Sutton Coldfield beauty spot. Trustees from Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust have started the next phase of their plan to replant English deciduous broadleaved trees at Manorial Woods.

The move comes after a decision to fell and replace previous trees sparked anger among local residents last year but the trust says the move came after it sought specialist forestry advice over the past two to three years, which revealed that the previous crop of Corsican pine had reached its potential and would have gone into decline.

Tina Swani, Chief Executive of Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, Keith Dudley and Jane Mosson joined the planting of more than 4,000 trees at the site, assisted by children from Little Sutton Primary School, following the recently harvested Corsican Pine.

The entire site is due to be restocked with 4,500 trees of both UK-grown hardwoods and an intimate mix of conifers to aid the establishment of the crop. The next phase of planting will take place in May, ahead of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, where a central feature Yew Tree will be planted.

The trust will enlist the help of local schools again later in the year to help with a further phase of planting in the autumn. This aims to engage the local community in a project that will benefit Sutton Coldfield for generations to come.

Tina Swani said: “It’s hugely rewarding to see our long-held plans come to fruition at Manorial Wood, which will support a greater mix of woodland plants and wildlife. The previous Corsican Pine trees were in dire need of harvesting and replanting, due to the stock reaching its potential, lack of undergrowth and ongoing fire risk.”

“We are delighted that Little Sutton Primary School is involved, the woods are big part of the environment of Sutton and what a way to get the next generation involved in helping to improve the future of the town.”

Rachel Davis, headteacher at Little Sutton Primary School, said: “We are very excited about being part of a project to plant 4,500 trees that will create a broad-leaved, biodiverse woodland to benefit generations to come. 

“At Little Sutton we feel it is really important to prepare our pupils to be good citizens, so we work hard to instil positive values and opportunities for them to make an impact in our community. Our pupils are passionate about playing their part in making the world a better place, and this fantastic project will enable them to do this by looking after the local environment.”

An environmentally sustainable approach is being taken at Manorial Wood that includes biodegradable tree protectors being used, instead of plastic, to prevent damage from small animals as the trees become established.

To find out more information about Manorial Woods or Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, please visit: https://www.suttoncoldfieldcharitabletrust.com/news/manorial-woods/17.htm 

Night fever comes to Sutton Coldfield

Disco revival takes the stage at town hall


Think of Disco and Saturday Night Fever, Disco Inferno or Le Freak may spring to mind. The huge phenomonen of the 1970s took the world by storm after springing up from the United States’ urban nightlife scene.

From the Bee Gees to Gloria Gaynor to Earth Wind and Fire its popularity was worldwide, and now a celebration is coming to Sutton Coldfield.

For all those who dreamed of going to New York’s Studio 54, Disco Inferno is the spectacular all singing, all dancing celebration of everything D.I.S.C.O., live at the town hall on April 2.

From the smoking hot girls to the guys in platforms, this electrifying show just screams glitter balls and good times.

You’ll be thrilled by pitch perfect harmony, high energy, slick choreography and Disco classics such as Blame It On The Boogie, Car Wash and It’s Raining Men.

You’ve all seen Abba, you’ve all seen Motown, but have you all danced to the ultimate UK Disco tribute and sang along to your favourites by Earth Wind and Fire, Barry White, Donna Summer, The Trammps, and many many more?!

Produced by Veritas, who excel in shows with crowd engagement and interaction, Disco Inferno has the wow factor that everyone will be talking about for months to come.

Tickets costs £22 and are selling fast and include FREE after show party

Show Starts: 7:30PM

House & Lounge Bar Opens: 6:30PM

Age Guidance: 16+ | Under 16’s must be accompanied by a paying adult.

Book your tickets here

Sutton hunt for park rapist stepped up

Police at the scene in the park behind Princess Alice Drive

CCTV search and extra police patrols

Police in Sutton Coldfield have stepped their hunt for the man who raped a woman in a park.

West Midlands Police have increased patrols and are trawling through CCTV in their hunt for the rapist,

Officers say they are continuing to support the woman and want to reassure residents that the investigation is “still very much ongoing” weeks after the attack.

The attack happened in Princess Alice Park between 8pm and 9pm on Sunday, October 3.

Superintendent Annie Miller, who is overseeing the investigation, said: “I know the local strength of feeling about this.

“People are rightly shocked that this has happened on their doorstep.

“This crime is despicable. It’s a really difficult time for the survivor and her loved ones.

“We thank everyone who has contacted us with information so far.

“Our efforts to find this man continue and we’re doing everything we can.

“Local officers continue to patrol the area, as we want women to feel safe and be safe.

“Male violence against women is not acceptable.”

Officers say they are methodically going through CCTV footage in order to identify the man who is described as white, aged 20 to 35, of medium to stocky build and “extra broad” around the shoulders.ADVERTISING

He spoke with a Birmingham accent and was wearing a grey tracksuit and black trainers.

Police believe after speaking to people in the area, that he may have been in the park in the days and possibly weeks leading up to the attack

They say they have also checked whether there have been reports of similar attacks, and although at this time, they don’t believe there have been, they are not ruling anything out.