How we use Cookies

Review of 2016 - October: Hamleys toy stores, Michelin stars and local TV

Legendary toy retailer Hamleys announced in October it was planning to open a concession stand in House of Fraser while Solihull was awarded its first Michelin star

Hamleys toy shop
Hamleys announced it was coming to Birmingham city centre in October

Birmingham is now getting two Hamleys stores

It was unveiled in October that a second Hamleys store was coming to the area after House of Fraser agreed a deal with the famous toy retailer.

Following on from the news that Resorts World was to welcome a Hamleys, the department store in Birmingham city centre revealed it was to open a concession.

Having left the city 30 years ago, shoppers here have had to travel to London to delight in what's known as the world's greatest toy shop.

House of Fraser sales manager Matthew Brown said: "We're very excited to have Hamleys back in House of Fraser again."

Solihull gets first Michelin-starred restaurant

Solihull's restaurant sector received its first Michelin star this month. Peel's at Hampton Manor was awarded the prestigious accolade in the 2017 Michelin Guide.

The family-run, 15-bedroom country house hotel used to be home to Sir Robert Peel and is set in 45 acres of attractive grounds.

It had been working towards gaining a Michelin star and our former food critic predicted in 2015 that the recognition would come.

Big Centre TV merges with rival network 18 months after launch

Big Centre TV - the local station for Birmingham and the West Midlands - joined forces with a rival city network 18 months after the channel launched.

Made Television, which also broadcasts local TV channels in Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds and Tyne and Wear, took over the station in a merger deal which saw Big Centre TV rebranded to 'Made in Birmingham'.

Big Centre TV eventually hit the airwaves in February 2015 but not before it suffered a very difficult birth which saw its predecessor go into administration before a single programme was broadcast.

Made Television, which was one of the original bidders to win the licence in 2012, covers news spanning the West Midlands including Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Coventry and Stoke.

Conservative Party Conference 2016: Theresa May offers ringing support for Greater Birmingham businesses

Prime Minister Theresa May gave a ringing endorsement to Greater Birmingham and its business community after gatecrashing a Conservative Party Conference fringe event.

Business leaders gathered for the 'Greater Birmingham for a Greater Britain' event at Birmingham Rep and were surprised when the Prime Minister herself appeared to cheer on the region.

Her enthusiastic backing was a sign that the days of senior ministers focussing purely on the Northern Powerhouse cities were over.

This was backed by confirmation of a £12 million government funding package to the Midlands Connect organisation which is developing improved transport across the East and West Midlands.

£10m scheme for Birmingham's Snow Hill gateway unveiled

Detailed plans to revitalise one of Birmingham's busiest squares were unveiled in October.

Snow Hill Square is to be completely redesigned to improve what is one of the city's main gateways for visitors arriving at the famous railway station.

The redesigned square will be at the heart of a number of other improvements to the Snow Hill area that will prioritise pedestrians over cars and buses.

Colmore Business Improvement District is working alongside Birmingham City Council, Transport for West Midlands and architects Broadway Malyan on the proposals.

Two Birmingham libraries close and others have hours cut in major cull

Two of Birmingham's 37 community libraries were set to close and many more at risk of hours being cut or to be handed over to volunteers to run under a major overhaul of the service.

Library bosses also announced this month that 24 staff were to be made redundant under the proposals.

The two libraries were Sutton Coldfield Town Centre and Aston and bosses pledged to increase opening hours at Mere Green and Birchfield libraries to compensate for the closures.

The plans ranked the libraries into four groups and proposals for consultation were being drawn up to see whether community groups could come forward with ideas to run their own services.

A garden square plan for the edge of Birmingham city centre

Ambitious plans were unveiled in October for a new £300 million development around a garden square on the edge of Birmingham city centre.

Called New Garden Square, it comprises apartments, commercial units and leisure facilities based around a square on a 10.7-acre site off Hagley Road between the Plough and Harrow pub and Five Ways Island.

The mostly empty 20th century office blocks on the site will be demolished while Grade II-listed 19th century terraced houses will be retained and restored.

Land owner Calthorpe Estates revealed the plans as it launched a consultation with residents.

Royalty cinema restoration group in talks with Heritage Lottery Fund

The group behind plans to restore the beautiful Royalty Harborne cinema launched talks with the Heritage Lottery Fund to help finance the scheme.

It came after the city council's conservation advisory panel gave a thumbs up to plans to restore the 1930s-built Royalty In Harborne as cinema - a strong indication that Heritage England and the city council would look favourably on a formal planning application.

The Royalty Harborne Trust had previously joined forces with a commercial operator on the scheme and drew up plans showing how three auditoriums could be created and the spaces used to screen films, stage productions or host events.

Rob Sutton, chairman of the Trust, said the positive reaction from the city's conservation panel is a "major milestone" for the project.

Review of 2016 - January

Review of 2016 - February

Review of 2016 - March

Review of 2016 - April

Review of 2016 - May

Review of 2016 - June

Review of 2016 - July

Review of 2016 - August

Review of 2016 - September

Comments

Journalists

Graeme Brown
Editor (Agenda and Business)
Enda Mullen
Business Reporter
Tamlyn Jones
Business Reporter
Neil Elkes
Local Government Correspondent
Emma McKinney
Education Correspondent
Ben Hurst
News Editor
Jonathan Walker
Political Editor