Hospitality venues in a Birmingham city centre district renowned for its night-time economy have received a boost from city planners.
The green light has been given to create a temporary pedestrianized zone in Hurst Street, Southside, which will allow bars and restaurants to have increased external seating over six weekends while the road is closed.
A designated pedestrian zone will run along the road between its junctions with Inge Street and Skinner Lane and venues within it will be able to add extra covers outside.
The initiative, which is being led by Southside Business Improvement District (BID), will commence on August 15 and run between midday on each Saturday and 11pm on the Sunday.
Hurst Street will reopen to vehicles during the week.
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Businesses will have to apply for an outdoor trading license, with Southside BID offering to help them fast track the process and also providing a furniture hire package for those venues that do not already have outdoor tables.
Southside BID said it decided to put the proposal – something it is calling ‘StrEATery’ – to Birmingham City Council after the Government announced in June that pubs, bars and restaurants could reopen on July 4.
Southside BID manager Julia Robinson 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 plans will drive much needed revenue which has the potential to save jobs.”
Lawrence Barton owns bars The Loft Lounge and The Village which fall inside the new zone.
He added: “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 and we know all our neighbours will be doing so too. We can’t wait to see Southside get back to its vibrant best.”