Author Topic: Northfield  (Read 2666 times)

Mary8790

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Northfield
« on: December 15, 2015, 11:19:16 PM »
I know a lot of places in Birmingham are not what they used to be but having visited Northfield today I was very shocked at the state of the shopping area.  I haven't been there for some time and what used to be a really good place to shop is now full of scruffy dilapidated and empty units and a lot of charity shops and nothing much else.  What a shame that this once thriving and nice part of Birmingham is in such a terrible state.

roy one

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Re: Northfield
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2015, 09:17:56 AM »
northfield high street looking to Birmingham town center


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Phil

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Re: Northfield
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2015, 11:04:16 AM »
Mary

The decline of the High Street shopping area is not just confined to Birmingham. You can visit any High Street in the Country in any City you like and you will be met with views such as you describe. I think you can blame the supermarkets for the start of the decline. Also though we have to blame greedy landlords and the Councils for the exorbitant rent & rates they charge which makes it nigh on impossible to trade profitably.

AS for the comments on the area being scruffy and dilapidated, well once again that has to be laid at the feet of the property owners and the Council. Whilst I would agree that the old Northfield High street was aesthetically pleasing to the eye who wouldn't with some of the modern monstrosity's that are about today. You will have to admit it was never that tidy or functional. Here are a couple of photos taken or less from the same position as Roy's a few years apart so that you can see that we all remember things with rose tinted glasses.
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JudithM

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Re: Northfield
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2015, 01:22:43 PM »
Northfield is my local shopping centre, and, to be honest, I don't find it too bad compared to some.

In the Grosvenor shopping mall (at the far end of the modern picture above) at least we have some of the 'big' names - Dorothy Perkins, Evans, New Look, Clarks Shoes, WH Smith & Superdrug - and there's a Boots & Argos and Burtons on the 'High Street'.   I did much of my Christmas shopping there this year.

Sure, it's not too pleasant on the eye, and a number of shops have closed recently because of high rental prices, but I've seen worse High Streets.
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Mary8790

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Re: Northfield
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2015, 04:50:49 PM »
Judith I didn't walk down as far as the Grosvenor shopping centre which maybe I should have done.  I used to have family living in Northfield so used to go there a lot but as I said in my previous post I was shocked by the decline of the area in just a few years.  The stretch of road from the Black Horse down to where Lloyds Bank is on the corner is pretty depressing and needs some new life put into it.   
Phil I know what you are saying about landlords, Council etc. but you only have to take a short bus ride from Northfield to Kings Heath and it's a much more pleasant place to shop because it has had money spent on it. 

Phil

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Re: Northfield
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2015, 05:12:04 PM »
Mary

Perhaps the rents are a bit cheaper in Kings Heath and therefore the small shop owners can manage to eke out a living. Though as you noted charity shops on a High Street generally indicate that the area is in decline because these shops are given a peppercorn rent on short term leases probably a 6 or 12 month licence because the owners can't let them and  they don't want to be responsible for the ridiculously high commercial rate plus the fact there is more chance of the property being vandalised whilst empty.

The think I find the most frustrating about local high streets is the lack of parking, everyone seems to cram onto the local supermarket car park unless they have the sense to sort some sort of a charging system for non customers. You would think that with all the money council raise from the commercial rate they would do something about the parking problem, but their answer is to hand out parking fines.
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JudithM

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Re: Northfield
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2015, 12:26:53 PM »
Mary, the stretch up to the Black Horse is a little run down.  The Clock Café on the corner does a really good trade though.

On the plus side, the Black Horse itself recently appeared in the BBC's 'most beautiful pubs in England' - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-34072662 (it's about half way down the page) and Tak's Fish & Chip shop (which is next to the Supernews store on the modern picture on this thread) was runner up in the Birmingham Mail's Brum's Top Chip Shop 2015 competition - http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/whats-on/food-drink-news/national-chip-week-2015-birminghams-8737135 - so it's not all bad up that end  ;D

Parking isn't really too much of a problem as, although there is not too much street parking, there is a multi-storey car-park over the Grosvenor Centre and some by the NatWest - and of course there's always the old standby of the swimming baths car park  ;)

I think there has been a lot of investment recently in the new development at Longbridge, so Northfield has taken a bit of a hit, but they have rallied round with extra Christmas decorations & this year we have 3 trees instead of the usual 1 outside the shops where Boots is :o 
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JudithM

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Re: Northfield
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2016, 02:01:22 PM »
They have started demolishing the swimming baths now  :(

I understand it is an old building and expensive to maintain, but it had a lot of character.  They are going to build a new one in it's place, but I bet it will be a bland box with no atmosphere like most of the new sports centres.
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Terry B

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Re: Northfield
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2016, 04:23:12 PM »
I lived in Northfield for five years (born and bred Brummie though!) before heading north to Lancashire with Leyland in 1976. Northfield in those days was OK with the Grosvenor Centre doing well and the shops along Bristol Road offering a wide choice. I visited recently and saw the change that people are mentioning.

However, as people have commented, it's happening all over the country. We have exactly the same problem here in Preston, Leyland and Chorley with the out of town retail parks enticing people with free and easy parking and a good range of modern shopping. Meanwhile, the local councils like Preston increase their car parking charges and do little to sort out the problems of local traffic jams. And they wonder why people shop elsewhere!

Incidentally, the Grosvenvor empire (Grosvenvor Centre etc) belongs to the Duke of Wesminster who recently died and his huge fortune (around £9 billion) passed to his son. He is now one of the wealthiest person's in the UK and lives, amongst other places, in Cheshire, Lancashire and London. His 21st birthday party is rumoured to have cost £5M!

brumdave

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Re: Northfield
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2016, 12:38:36 PM »
I remember Northfield in the 1950s and always thought it was a great place, its a shame that its not what it used to be but similar shopping centres the world over have pretty much suffered the same fate, here in Oz we had great high street shopping but many are the same as back home in Brum full of Charity shops, hair dressers, coffee shops and estate agents,  we in Oz have massive multi story shopping centres with a hundred or more shops under one roof, the problem today is most of those shopping centres have the same shops, in other words they are all duplicates of each other, the only way I can buy some of the things we need is to buy online.

JudithM

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Re: Northfield
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2016, 12:42:59 PM »
Terry B, I did not know that about the Grosvenor Centre!

Brumdave, it's the same here in the UK, you can go to any large indoor shopping centre in the UK and they all have the same content.  Same look, same shops.  Same with the retail parks.  You could be anywhere.
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