What should we do with Birmingham’s empty shops?

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The retail slump has it shopping centres across the centre with buildings that once traded as shops and banks now left empty

Shopping centres across Birmingham have been hit the slump in high street retail with shops closing all over the place - and banks.

Debenhams and Top Shop units remain empty in the Bullring - as does the former John Lewis site in Grand Central, to name but a few. And now HSBC and Lloyds have announced they are closing Birmingham branches in the suburbs too.

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The Bullring has seen Forever 21 turn into a successful Adventure Golf venue and is set to welcome an interactive football venue in the former Debenhams, along with M&S.

But what else should we do with these empty spaces? We ask the people of Birmingham for their ideas. You can read some of the comments below, or watch them in full in the video at the top of our story. Let us know what you think too.

Will & Luca, BirminghamWill & Luca, Birmingham
Will & Luca, Birmingham

Will says: “Personally, I think with the empty shops in Birmingham, the only way - with things going forward with Amazon and online shopping - the only way they’ll get any use is either being converted into office spaces or apartments to help ease the housing crisis.

“Because otherwise, with the trends going, there’s no point opening shops if they’re just gonna close six months later, because especially for footfall in Birmingham just falling for the shoppers. But that also, I don’t know, they might also ruin the sort of culture and the vibe in the city centre.”

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Allison & Mark, BirminghamAllison & Mark, Birmingham
Allison & Mark, Birmingham

Allison says: “I think something could be done in terms of helping the homeless for somewhere to go and maybe have some free food and drinks. And just somewhere for them to actually socialise and get some ideas perhaps on how they go about improving their life.”

Ishmail, BirminghamIshmail, Birmingham
Ishmail, Birmingham

Ishmail says: “Well, it’s not that hard to say. In my opinion, they should either be reopened as new shops with new ideas, new products, possibly, or it could be simply used for social activities. Like in my opinion, Birmingham as a city - I’m kind of new here as I said - has a lot of potential as a social environment so therefore it could be improved as, I don’t know, jam session places open for public?”

Martin, BirminghamMartin, Birmingham
Martin, Birmingham

Martin says: “I think people should start using shops again. I mean, the problem we’ve got is everyone shopping online and then they will complain that the shops are closing. The reason they’re closing is because people have stopped using them!”

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