June – halfway through the year and what have we achieved? Lockdown easing, but threats of further Lockdowns due to an Indian strain of the virus.
Museums not yet re-opened although many others elsewhere are up and running. Some of our JQ Museums at the start of the second Lockdown apparently gave their hard-working volunteers P45’s – so what did they do – wandered off and found other interests and some of the museums are now frantically trying to find new volunteers. At least the Coffin Works have announced they should be open on 25th June with their great team of enthusiastic staff and volunteers – yippee!
However, the display/shop area of the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter which had been refurbished before the Lockdown should be open. They announced it would be open every Saturday during May but was in fact only opened for the first three.
We do of course have ‘Parklets’ and other sectioned off areas in public highways/pavements which allow people to sit outside and eat and drink – and hopefully get the entertainment industry up and running again – but what will happen when things return to normal? Will they be removed – and who will pay for that, and if they remain – will they be charged fees/rates on them?
Will the partly blocked off streets be re-opened? A lot of our readers will remember the fight we had to get a sign on the island at the bottom of Newhall Hill, encouraging visitors to turn right to the JQ? Now there is no entry at this point because Newhall Hill is closed to traffic!
Adding to this inconvenience is the fact that Pitsford Street is closed due to new development, and other streets are closed with little or no notification for the same reason.
With the Clean Air zone affecting the whole of the JQ it seems the motor vehicle is very unwelcome, which is probably OK until they then tell us all the trams are cancelled in the West Midlands for ‘Safety reasons’.
Visiting, making deliveries etc. or commuting to work in the Jewellery Quarter has never been more difficult!
It does make you wonder with the talk of excessive pollution why permission was given for several schools and the Birmingham University to relocate into such a polluted area.
On a brighter note, some wonderful building restoration work has been taking place which are looking great and, of course, the excellent remedial work to the cemeteries is now nearly finished and looking wonderful, thanks to the ‘Friends’ and JQBIDS.