Autumn 2020 Edition: The Bull Sheets

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With a promising boxing career ahead of him, Kieran Quinlan’s ambitions were dashed when he was stabbed in the heart in an unprovoked knife attack at the age of 17. He’d first become passionate about the sport at the age of seven, and following the attack he went through a period of depression and anxiety.

“I didn’t really do anything for two years”, Kieran says, “I was getting into fights, running myself into the ground, and I was completely off the rails.”

Looking for a way to increase his confidence and stop himself from getting into trouble, Kieran started going to the gym, where he developed a love for body building. Alongside competing as a body builder on stage, he was also able to improve his mental health – something which Kieran says helped him come through the other side.

After working at another facility in the area as a personal trainer, Kieran originally opened his first gym in the Jewellery Quarter in January 2018 as it felt like the natural progression. “It’s a nice area, everyone is friendly and it has a real community vibe,” he says.

“I realised from my experience of working in the industry that a lot of gyms just sell memberships to use their equipment, and they don’t offer nutrition, mindset support, any programmes or support out of the gym.”

Located on Camden Street, The Pit Gym opened just over a year ago, and what makes them unique from any other gym in Birmingham is that they are an application only facility. This means potential clients are vetted before joining to ensure that they want to get results and will add value to their community. Discussing this approach further, Kieran says:

“Before a client joins us we have a 20/30 minute discussion about their goals and what they want to achieve, and that’s where the relationship starts.”

Kieran also says that he loves the mix of people that Birmingham is home to, and that if you look around his gym there are people from all different backgrounds who have come together with one common goal to improve themselves. “Here you’re not a number and you’re made to feel welcome as soon as you come in, which is something we pride ourselves on,” he adds.

A passionate knife crime campaigner, Kieran thinks that one thing the city lacks is things for kids to do. With youth centre closures and schools being closed during lockdown, he thinks there is a genuine problem in the city that’s not being spoken about and that more should be done to help inner-city kids.

When it comes to running a business in Birmingham, Kieran thinks that although there are the ups and downs that all businesses have, success depends on having a good mindset, a good work ethic and a positive attitude. “There are lots of people moving here from different cities that are looking for ways to meet new people, and if you can facilitate that and have a product that provides value, you’re quids in,” he says.

So what does the future hold for The Pit Gym? With a current waiting list of 400 people, Kieran says that although opening an additional facility could be a potential opportunity further down the line, his main focus at the moment is offering live workouts online – especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. “When adapting to this situation I didn’t want to water down what we do, but our online offering is something I think we have done very well,” Kieran comments.


What makes Birmingham unique?

“It’s a diverse city with a number of different cultures.”

Favourite place to go out in Birmingham?

“Digbeth, particularly Digbeth Dining Club and all the new arcades round there.”

If you ran the city for the day what one change would you make?

“Definitely in regards to knife crime, particularly running early intervention programmes in schools and opening more youth centres.”

Favourite hidden gem in Birmingham?

“Coffee Tales – their coffee’s banging, their food’s banging and I think it’s very underrated. Service is always on point too and it’s one of my favourite places to go.”

Nimbyism in Birmingham is dead – long live planning permission change

How will this affect the 9,533 Birmingham City Centre property owners?

The 1st July 1948 heralded a new dawn in how property was built, as the Town & Country Planning Act 1947 came into force, meaning no property could be built without the say so of the local authority.

Now, Boris Johnson has announced a substantial change to that, by in effect, ending planning permission. The decision of what gets built (and what doesn’t) will be removed from Birmingham City Council and replaced by Westminster governed ‘Zoning Commissions’.

The principles of the planning rule changes are a departure away from looking at each planning application as a standalone application to a ‘zone- system’ of planning. Land will be divided into three classes: 1st for growth, 2nd for protection and 3rd for renewal.

Anyone applying for planning permission to develop homes, offices and shops on land zoned for growth, will automatically be granted planning permission; whilst land zoned for renewal planning permission will be granted in principle while Government officers perform checks.

Local authorities have until 2024 to designate areas for the three classes and once agreed, planning departments will have little or no say over individual applications that fit the rules...

The Housing Secretary has specified the motive behind the changes to the planning system is not to make planning permissions easier to get (although 88% per cent of planning applications are approved by local authority’s already). Instead, they have been done to make the planning process quicker, less expensive and less likely to be held up by special ‘interest’ groups.


So, what does this all mean to Birmingham City Centre homeowners and Birmingham City Centre landlords? If you have been reading my articles you will know that one of the most important factors holding back the Birmingham City Centre property market is the lack of new properties being constructed and when they are, the lack of infrastructure surrounding them.

Yet, these new planning changes will also introduce a new method of taking a lot more money off landowners and builders, as the Government will take a larger share of uplift in land value (i.e. the increase in value from farmland to building land) to finance infrastructure around the development.


This would mean new housing developments would come with upgraded roads, GP surgeries, primary schools and shops that these new communities need to be viable. Also, communities will be asked to decide on their own standards on style and design for new developments in their area, allowing residents a greater say on the development in their locality.

With regard to what can be built and where, Birmingham City Centre people will have a say upfront (i.e. between now and 2024 when the zoning rules are drawn up) but once the zoning has been established, then ‘nimbyism’ will become a thing of the past and hopefully we can construct the Birmingham City Centre homes we are proud of for our children and for Birmingham City Centre generations to come.

49 Jewellery Quarter properties sold in stamp duty bonanza

On the 8 July 2020, the Chancellor announced the first £500,000 of any property bought was exempt from Stamp Duty until 31st March 2021. This also included buy to let landlords (although they would still need to pay the additional 3% stamp duty level for second properties).

Talking to many of you Jewellery Quarter homeowners, I know lots of you are bringing forward your home moving plans to take advantage of this tax cut.

Also, many Jewellery Quarter portfolio landlords are looking to save paying the tax by bringing their portfolio purchases forward. Yet how do you ensure you sell and buy your Jewellery Quarter property whilst the tax cut applies (a saving of up to £15,000 of stamp duty on your next Birmingham Jewellery Quarter home?).

The biggest issue whenever you are selling your Jewellery Quarter property is the properties that you are in competition with. Plenty of Birmingham Jewellery Quarter homeowners have jumped onto the stamp duty holiday bandwagon since the announcement and there are 78% more properties for sale in Birmingham Jewellery Quarter (B18) than there were during lockdown.

The number of properties for sale in Birmingham Jewellery Quarter can split down into type...


So, now you know what you are up against, what do you need to know?

The most important factor is the time issue. It currently takes on average 17 to 19 weeks between a sale price being agreed and the keys being handed over, meaning you need to have found a buyer before the end of November or early December to enable you to complete the sale by the 31st March 2021.

Don’t get me wrong though, you could put your Jewellery Quarter property on the market after that date, yet the price you will be able to achieve for your property could be affected. If you would like to chat about selling your Jewellery Quarter home, please do not hesitate to pick up the telephone and call me on 0121 296 2600.

Birmingham : food & drink the Jewellery Quarter

In this issue of The Bull Sheets we’re focusing on the very best that Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter has to offer in food and drink. We’ve rounded up our top 5 restaurants and bars, so that all you have to do is go and enjoy them!


“Damascena is a local, independent middle eastern cafe?/ restaurant with five locations across Birmingham including one right on the Jewellery Quarter high street. It’s a great place to pop into for any occasion whether it’s grabbing a coffee, getting a quick lunch or meeting up with friend in the evening.

“The food is really well priced and authentic with my personal favourite being the Shawarma Arabiya which come with these delicious batata hara potatoes.”

Hamad Al Qubaisi – Lettings Manager at Barrows & Forrester

2. 40 ST PAUL’S

“Blink as you’re walking along the square and it’s easy to miss 40 St Paul’s - which is all blacked out - making it one of the most exclusive bars in the city.

“It won Best Gin Bar in the World in 2019 and Aman the owner is well versed in all things gin and cocktails.”

Tom Bower - Head of Marketing & Comms at Barrows & Forrester

3. 1000 TRADES

“1000 Trades is another one of our favourite independents in JQ.

“Every time we go in there’s a different lager, cider or ale to try and they also host pop up food specialists in their kitchens meaning you always want to visit every few weeks.“

Krish Patel – Sales & Letting Agent at Barrows & Forrester


“Ana Rocha is one of my favourite places in Birmingham. It’s a bar, a tapas restaurant but it’s also an art gallery with loads of wonderful collector pieces.

“Having lived in Spain for over 10 years heading into Ana Rocha takes me right back and with the authentic food and music it truly is one of the Jewellery Quarter’s gems.”

James Forrester – Managing Director at Barrows & Forrester


“Cucina Rustica is an authentic Italian with a great outdoor eating area to have a wonderful pasta dish, a great glass of wine and just watch the world go by.

“If you’re like me and struggle to pick which dish to have I recommend going with the Tris Di Paste where you’ll get three pasta dishes specially selected by the chef.”

Adrian Barrows – Director at Barrows & Forrester

E-scooter rollout in Birmingham & Coventry

Swedish company Voi has been appointed to operate e-scooters in the West Midlands. The trial has launched to the public in Birmingham and Coventry and will be rolled-out across the region soon after.

E-scooters were rolled-out in Birmingham and Coventry on 10 September. Soon afterwards, the scooters will be deployed in, Sandwell (West Bromwich), Solihull, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Warwickshire.

The tender process, which was led by TfWM, part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), concluded with the contract being offered to Voi as the sole operator. Voi launched Europe’s first dockless e-scooter service in 2018 and now operates in 45 cities across 11 countries.

The public will initially be able to access and ride e-scooters within the immediate vicinity of Birmingham and Coventry’s city centre, with an ambition to expand the trial zones as the trial progresses.

For the purpose of the trial the DfT requires a maximum speed of 15.5 mph on roads. In pedestrianised areas a lower speed limit of 5mph will be applicable. E-scooters are allowed on any 30 mph or less road, however the council have advised users to use designated cycle routes wherever possible.

Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said: “The West Midlands is proud to be leading the way on future transport development, and it is great to be able to partner with Voi and reveal our plans for e-scooters across the region.

“E-scooters will help bring more flexibility, choice, and greener travel solutions for the West Midlands, at a time when we are facing a climate emergency and urging people to leave the car at home.

“E-scooters unquestionably offer a healthier, more environmentally friendly, alternative to the car for shorter journeys around our towns and cities, which will in turn help to ease traffic congestion and tackle air pollution.

“As well as the improvements to our transport network, e-scooters could also be a much-needed boost for the region’s economy, helping to attract people back into our town and city centres.

“It is a great coup for the West Midlands to be at the forefront of the Government’s e-scooter trial, and I look forward to continuing to work with Voi and local authorities to make sure we maximise the potential of e-scooters across the region.”

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