Ozzy Osbourne set to demonstrate against plans to demolish Station Street & The Crown pub in Birmingham

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Black Sabbath heavy metal hero Ozzy Osbourne joins host of Birmingham celebrities campaigning to save Station Street in the city centre

It’s the birthplace of Heavy Metal - one of Birmingham’s most successful inventions - yet it could become a victim of the bulldozers amid the continuing redevelopment of the city centre.

Now Ozzy Osbourne has joined a legion of Birmingham celebrities campaigning to ‘Save Station Street’ amid plans to demolish historic landmarks including The Crown, where Black Sabbath played their first gig, and the Electric Cinema.

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The alarming plans to build a 50-floor skyscraper on the heritage site next to New Street came to light amid the sudden closure of the Electric Cinema in February. The 115 year old Art Deco building known as the UK’s oldest working cinema ceased trading due to the development proposals.

Station Street is also home to The Old Rep, Britain's oldest rep theatre which opened in 1913. It is Grade II listed, along with The Crown which closed in 2014. Projects to restore the pub as a live music venue have been unsuccessful to date, whilst the Old Rep is currently operational it also faces an uncertain future as its current lease is due to expire.

The Crown, Station StreetThe Crown, Station Street
The Crown, Station Street | Birmingham World

Upon hearing that these famous Birmingham venues could be under threat, legendary hellraiser Ozzy, and his wife TV personality, Sharon Osbourne sent campaign organisers a video of support, which you can see at the top of this story, discussing the need to protect the culture and heritage of Birmingham.

They also shared their concerns that developers would be; “Taking the soul from the city. Taking its history”. Ozzy and Sharon’s heartfelt message ended with them offering to come back to Birmingham to demonstrate.

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Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight was one of the first names to lend this support to the campaign, saying; “It would be reckless vandalisation to destroy Station Street. This is a jewel in the crown of Birmingham’s history… These heritage places are not a luxury, a city is identified by its cultural history and historical landmarks. When you think of Paris you think of the Eiffel Tower, not a block of flats. Birmingham must stop disrespecting itself and selling itself to the highest bidder.”

Station Street, BirminghamStation Street, Birmingham
Station Street, Birmingham | Birmingham World

Succession star, Brian Cox is one of many esteemed actors including Albert Finney and Sir Lawrence Olivier who began their theatre careers on stage at the Old Rep. As a patron of the venue, Cox recently spoke out on the issue; “What is really important is the historic significance of the Birmingham Old Rep… It was designed beautifully, with the raking such that there is no bad seat in the house and it would be tragic to lose such a wonderful and historically important venue.”

As the campaign has gathered momentum in recent weeks further Birmingham celebrities have rallied to the cause including actor David Harewood, comedian Joe Lycett, TV personality Alison Hammond, and musician Toyah Willcox and over 20,000 people have signed an online petition, asking Birmingham leaders to ‘Designate Birmingham's Station Street a Historic, Cultural and Civic Asset’ and ensure the protection of these historic venues.

The petition was started by local resident Darren John who hopes the campaign will lead to the regeneration of the area as a cultural hub; “Station Street has had an incredible impact on global popular culture, so many superstars of the arts world have walked through the doors of these historic venues as unknowns and emerged as world-leading artists. T

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“The fact that Ozzy and many others have spoken out in horror at potential plans to destroy what makes this street so special speaks volumes of its importance. Their voices join nearly 21,000 Brummies who are demanding Station Street be recognised for its incredible cultural impact and given new life again.” More information on the campaign can be found here: https://savetheelectriccinema.com/

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