Appalling images show Birmingham’s ‘coolest neighbourhood’ hit by fly-tippers

Residents speak out as Birmingham city centre’s trendy Digbeth neighbourhood has been pictured covered in fly-tipped waste and abandoned cars
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Shocking photos of fly-tipped waste and abandoned cars show the 'true reality' of living in the Birmingham neighbourhood once heralded as 'Britain's coolest neighbourhood', residents say.

Digbeth was previously named as one of the best places to live in the UK by The Sunday Times after becoming a magnet for creative and arty types. The trendy suburb will also be home to the BBC's new flagship HQ, called The Tea Factory, as part of a £69.3 million development.

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Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is opening a film studio complex in the area where Channel 4 already film the Joe Lycett comedy chat show Late Night Lycett.

But some locals say the 'glitz and glamour' hide the reality of living in Digbeth - which has become a 'no-go zone' after dark. Depressing photographs emerged this week showing the streets lined with dumped rubbish and a smashed up car covered in graffiti by the roadside.

Residents say the grim sight reminded them of post-apocalyptic scenes from Netflix show The Last of Us and the area has become a hotspot for crime and fly-tipping.

Fly-tipping in Digbeth, BirminghamFly-tipping in Digbeth, Birmingham
Fly-tipping in Digbeth, Birmingham

One student, who lives in flats near the Custard Factory and wished to remain anonymous, said: "I heard all sorts of awesome things about Digbeth before I moved here. But it can be really moody. It doesn't feel safe going out at night sometimes, especially on weekends. It certainly has more than its fair share of crime.

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"We've had stabbings and murders here, people use the streets as a dumping ground. It can look cool in parts but turn a corner and you're looking at a bombsite. Hopefully the investment going into it can get it back up to the standards it was. But it appears that after Covid, this all stalled. Even the BBC studios plans have been put back. It's like the cost of living crisis has stalled everything and the result is that Digbeth is no longer a trendy place to be - but a bit of a dump."

Birmingham office worker Harvey Saunders, 20, added: "It's been like a building site while they've extended the tram from the city centre and that's still not finished. I think it has put people off coming to Digbeth as it has become pretty inaccessible. So the knock-on effect is that the place is becoming a bit neglected.

"There was a bit of glitz and glamour with all the celebrities in the area when Joe Lycett was filming his show here. But then you see these streets covered in rubbish and it looks like something from a zombie movie or The Last of Us. I know there's all these grand plans which might turn its fortunes around but right now the true reality is that it isn't really the cool area it's been made out to be."

Digbeth, BirminghamDigbeth, Birmingham
Digbeth, Birmingham

Last year, promising footballer Ashley Day, 20, was stabbed to death with a Rambo knife at a flat party advertised on social media. And on Boxing Day the previous year, Cody Fisher, 23, died after being stabbed at the Crane nightclub in Digbeth.

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Harvey added: "The nightlife used to be amazing around here but it has started to attract the wrong sort of crowd. It can be pretty rough. Even the Digbeth Dining Club moved out of the area to nearer the Jewellery Quarter.

"I hope it can recover though because there are still great shops and bars. The vibe has been great in the not-too-distant past. That scene just needs rediscovering and perhaps a bit more investment will help that."

What has Birmingham City Council said about the fly-tipping in Digbeth?

Addressing the fly-tipping issue, Birmingham City Council said the authority would prosecute those found responsible for illegally dumping rubbish. Councillor Majid Mahmood, cabinet member for environment, said: “Those who dump waste on public or private land are environmental criminals, who are expecting others in our city to foot the bill for the disposal of their rubbish and unwanted items.

“There is no excuse for this anti-social behaviour, which shows no regard for the surroundings in which we all have to live and work - there are many legitimate ways to get rid of waste so there is simply no excuse.

“We investigate incidents and do not hesitate to take enforcement action or prosecute offenders, as demonstrated in the past by many high-profile cases."

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