Friday, May 05, 2006

Digbeth Canal

I meant to say something about this yesterday. Last night the Midlands news carried an item about a guy who is losing his canalside lock-keepers house to a compulsory purchase order. He is a widower, in his mid seventies and has lived there for 40 years. The footage showed a relatively clean looking canal running through an industrial redevelopment area (OK wasteland).

Now Digbeth, non Birmingham lovers, was the centre of Brum's light manufacturing for many years and the canal, not to put too fine a point on it, was a toilet. Come to think of it, given the choice of a dip in the Digbeth canal or my head down the toilet I'd take the bog-plunge any day.

And this guy has lived through the toilet times, lost his wife and is seeing out his days with a little bit of lock-edge garden and a few mementos of a past now lost.

So along comes the Council with a compulsory purchase order and he reads the small print and discovers his house is NOT GOING TO BE DEMOLISHED.

That's right, outraged readers. They just want his house; cos once the area is redeveloped it will be well nice.

Brum have a good track record here as it has more canals than Venice (had to get that in, sorry) and in Brindley Square, the Convention Centre and the Indoor Arena area has made it look really quite nice.

They have told Mr sad-but-not-dead-yet that it would be unsafe for him to remain in his house during the redevelopment. What? You mean unsafe compared to living by a sceptic tank in an area with the worst air quality this side of Venus for the last forty years? He might get knocked down by a digger eh? Well not if he remains indoors he won't.

Let him stay. He'd love to make tea for 3,500 builders and tell them tales of old times. He may die of natural causes. There's no way in the world the work will be finished before he snuffs it.

Danger. It's quite good for you really.

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