A Birmingham salon opened by hairdresser to the stars, Umberto Giannini, has been forced to shut.

The talented hairdresser, who died in 2001 and had a client list which included Madonna, the Beckhams and Leonardo DiCaprio, opened in Brindleyplace 15 years ago.

Its landlord the British Airways Pension Fund has refused to renew its lease and is said to have plans for a restaurant chain to take over the canalside unit.

Salon manager Gemma Guglia, said: “It’s disappointing to say the least. Birmingham is a key area for us and one where our business and customer loyalty continues to grow.

"We have run a successful salon at Brindleyplace for 15 years, and it is hard to imagine that it will no longer be there.”

Coun Peter Douglas Osborn (Con, Weoley) criticised the landlord’s refusal which he said would “diminish” the character of Brindleyplace.

He said the district has blazed a trail for the regeneration of cities internationally and he has personally led tours with visiting councillors from Salford planning committee who praised its “vibrancy”.

“Good city tenants are hard to find and it smacks of a short-term decision,” he said. “It’s very sad, the salon has been there from the start and long-term business tenants are the mainstay of the city’s character.

“By this development we set the example for the rest of the world’s industrial cities which is why President Clinton was so effusive during his visit as part of the G8 conference in 1998.

“Both Birmingham City University and the University of Birmingham analyse the way it’s been done. It’s a phoenix within the city centre rising from the ashes of industrial dereliction.

“By diminution of particular expertise it will tend to homogenise what’s on offer.

“Fewer people will visit during the day and it will become a night-time place in the long-term which is unhealthy. We want a 24-hour vibrant city.”

A spokesman for the British Airways fund declined to comment.

There are currently eight branches across the Midlands and the brand is one of the country’s best-sellers.