We live in the UK’s coolest neighbourhood – here’s why we’re convinced area will make us millionaires
PEOPLE living in one of the UK’s coolest neighborhoods say it’s a “cracking place” and much cheaper than London.
The once gritty neighborhood of Digbeth is just a stone’s throw from Birmingham and has become a magnet for arty and creative types.
Digbeth has been dubbed one of the “Coolest Neighbourhood” in the UK by the Sunday Times,.
It boasts disused warehouses converted into designer apartments, independent stores, bars and trendy art venues.
And some residents are convinced that living here could make them millionaires.
Dad-of-two Lee, 48, who has sons aged 18 and 14, told The Sun: “People think Birmingham is not as cool as London but check Digbeth out. It’s a cool place, it’s like Brazil where I once lived.”
Lee says the forthcoming arrival of the high-speed HS2 train service has ramped up interest in the area.
The savvy property guru has already snapped up a bungalow for investment on a corner plot – just 800 meters from the HS2 intended terminal – and near two universities.
He confessed: “I got it for a good price and I am hoping that I get planning permission to develop the land and maybe build an apartment block for 50 students.
“In years I could double, treble, quadruple the price paid, and I could become a millionaire. It would be my pension.”
Street artist Ginger Dan whose real name is Dan Evans was up a ladder at the entrance to the “must-see” Red Brick Market, putting the finishing strokes to his new eye-catching mural.
He said: “Digbeth draws people here – it’s the creative quarter of Birmingham.
“My job is to embody this amazing market as an illustration and turn the outer walls into a giant mural.”
Dan lives in nearby Great Barr but spends most of his hours in Digbeth.
He added: “It’s a cracking place, with good pubs and spots, performance art and galleries, and tattoo studios.”
He stressed that he was just one small part of the street art scene, and said many others should also take credit for their work – transforming dull red bricks into colourful and striking murals.
Carrie – who is responsible for running the market – said: “It is for everyone, a little bit alternative and there is no age range.”
The busy market trader runs two of the many and varied stalls, taxidermy and gothic fashion.
While serving customers at the site – which used to be an old button factory – she added: “It is for everyone, a little bit alternative and there is no age range.”
The 40-year-old said: “I absolutely love it here and the house prices are a lot cheaper than London.
“I lived in London for six months and for the amount I was paying in rent for one room in a shared house I can rent a three-storey, five bed Victorian house with a massive garden just outside Digbeth for £1,100 a month.”
Carrie – who has managed the market for two years – said: “Digbeth is for eclectic people and it’s nothing like your typical High Street.
“The appeal is independent shops and alternatives and not having anything the same.
“The place is always buzzing with poetry nights, drink and draw nights, and The Ruin pub is the best.
“There are bands, dining clubs and bottomless brunches, ball pits and baseball batting cages.”
Among the crowds of visitors, a cool teen trio caught our eye.
Tulah Searle, 17, a barista and waitress from Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, gushed: “It’s so cool here – the atmosphere and people.
“It would be great to live here – maybe one day!”
Her pal Ruby Rai, 17, an events co-ordinator from Leamington Spa, added: “We always come to Digbeth for clothes shopping. It’s better than all the places back home.”
Kieran Botting, 16, a supermarket sales adviser from Stratford, chipped in: “I love the vibe here, it’s the best.
“It beats the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham.
“It’s a nice place to be and be seen.”
He said it is a “must-visit.”
From the legendary Custard Factory full of hip and trendy bars to Birmingham’s oldest pub, The Old Crown, and Digbeth Dining Club, plus street art, it is clear to see how the former industrial heartland has won over a new generation.
Molly Brockhouse, a supervisor at The Old Crown, said: “We all love Digbeth, it is quite quirky and people are different.
There’s a vibe, we’re a good crowd!”
Molly, 23, from Solihull, West Mids, added: “There are a lot of decent shops and art classes, and it’s better than Broad Street.”
Her friend and fellow bar supervisor Scarlett Ball, 23, said: “There’s a great scene and everyone knows everyone.
“Digbeth’s up and coming and a very desired place to live and the prices are not outrageous.
“All the buildings are interesting.
“I say to my grandma what a cool place Digbeth is now and she can’t believe it saying: ‘What the Hell are you saying about Digbeth, it’s a dump, isn’t it?'”
Property director Lee Blake who lives on the outskirts but is investing within the neighbourhood, believes the “cost of living crisis” is drawing more Londoners to the area.
While working on his laptop in the courtyard garden of The Old Crown, he told our team: “It’s a lot cheaper living here than in London and the cost of living crisis is attracting new people.
“It’s easy to work from home now, or the pub, or commute to the office in London.”
According to property website Rightmove, a Birmingham home costs an average of £259,821 – almost £400,000 less than in London.
And Digbeth has reggae and pop links as a selling point.
Landmark pub the Eagle and Tun was made famous by UB40 and was the setting for the band’s top-charting Red Red Wine video.
But the Victorian boozer is now being demolished to make way for the controversial high-speed line.