We visit Digbeth & discover a popular trend to resist gentrification of the Birmingham neighbhourhood

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Digbeth nightlife fans are holding regular events to retain the areas vibe as more developments for the Birmingham’s creative neighbourhood are approved

"Make Digbeth S**t Again" - that's the edited version of the name of a popular night here in Birmingham. The slogan refers to the concern of many who frequent this eclectic area that the vibe of Digbeth might be ruined by developments planned over the coming years.

Lyle Bignon, NTE Ambassador for Birmingham, speaks of the difficulties faced by venues in DigbethLyle Bignon, NTE Ambassador for Birmingham, speaks of the difficulties faced by venues in Digbeth
Lyle Bignon, NTE Ambassador for Birmingham, speaks of the difficulties faced by venues in Digbeth | Local TV

Lyle Bignon, NTE Ambassador for Birmingham, expresses: “Night Time economy businesses here in Digbeth have been dealing with a number of significant challenges including compulsory purchase orders related to HS2 construction, an ongoing battle with the developers of the Midlands Metro line here in Digbeth which has led to the closure of some night time economy venues and reduced footfall in the area.

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“If you consider that in the context of a rapidly evolving city, Digbeth has always been at the kind of sharp end of the tug of war between residential developers and cultural venues, music venues, clubs etc.

“So we're starting to see a real change in how people are using this area, less so for leisure, more so for business and residential and of course that will impact on the overall cultural fabric of our city particularly in this area.”

Digbeth is well known for its gritty, post-industrial vibe - showcasing counter-cultural art and independent traders. The fear from many is that this vibe may become a relic of nostalgia. A regular event - “Make Digbeth S**t Again - in the area celebrates the zeitgeist people identify with Digbeth.

George Hadley, Head Promoter for Hockley Social Club, speaks about the success the of “Make Digbeth S**t Again” eventGeorge Hadley, Head Promoter for Hockley Social Club, speaks about the success the of “Make Digbeth S**t Again” event
George Hadley, Head Promoter for Hockley Social Club, speaks about the success the of “Make Digbeth S**t Again” event | Local TV

George Hadley, Head Promoter for Hockley Social Club, comments: “Yeah it's been really well received, we get a lot of people who have been coming to the event since day dot and we're also getting a lot of new people come through and it's crazy really because we were thinking that you know have we got anything left in the tank?

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“This could really bomb but it's just been really well received and I think people vibe with it knowing that we've all got an opinion on it so we're all passionate about the city and where it's been, where it's going. Let's all get together in a room and have a party.”

Whether the party continues here in this bohemian district of the city is ultimately decided by the people who typically come. One thing that is for certain is that big changes are coming with the arrival of renowned creative firms. Digbeth, in one form or another, is going nowhere.

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