NEWS: Erdington MP steps in to secure mass COVID-19 testing site on Orphanage Road

Words by Adam Smith / Pics by Ed King

Getting tested for Covid is a matter of life and death, this was the stark warning given by Erdington MP Jack Dromey at the site of a brand new mass testing facility – which could be open in Erdington as early as next week.

Construction of the testing facility began on Friday 26th November, after Mr Dromey brokered an 11th hour agreement between the Department of Health, Birmingham City Council, and the NHS.

The Erdington based facility was the last testing site signed off by the Government, but a licensing issue held up construction and put the entire project in danger.

Speaking at the old Colliers site, Orphanage Road, where the centre is being built, Mr Dromey told Erdington Local mass testing offers a route out of Tier 3 restrictions for Birmingham.

He said: “We needed a facility that enables thousands of local people to be tested in Erdington.

“Lives would be lost if there was not a testing facility in Erdington and lives will be saved because there is a testing facility in Erdington, it is as simple as that.

“There were delays concerning it being approved but thankfully they were sorted out, it should take two days to build and then a few days to get the facility ready and it could be open as quickly as the end of next week, when the national lockdown ends.”

The MP admitted getting all the relevant agencies and departments to work together on the project was not easy.

He said: “To begin with it was like pulling teeth but progressively it got better; I’d like to thank NHS Birmingham and Birmingham City Council for their hard work in delivering the facility.”

The Erdington MP is in no doubt how important mass testing will be in the fight against controlling COVID-19 and saving lives.

He said: “Here and now, as we don’t have a vaccine yet, the message is test, test, test. So I say to the citizens of Erdington come and get tested.

“And to those who doubt the wisdom of getting tested I say come and get tested – if you are not tested and get Covid you might end up dying, you might be responsible for members of your family dying, and you might be responsible for your friends and members of the community dying. So come and get tested.”

Erdington residents will be able to book a test either online or by using 119, walk to the testing facility, take a test, and then they will be notified of the results between 24 and 72 hours later. A recent trial of mass testing in Liverpool reduced the R-Rate and helped the city escape Tier 3 restrictions.

The MP added: “We discovered this week that Birmingham will enter into the highest level of restrictions, Tier 3, following the end of lockdown on Wednesday. The whole city must now pull together in order to drive down the spread of the virus and get us out of Tier 3 as quickly as possible.

“Tier 3 restrictions will be devastating for many businesses and workers across Birmingham. In particular the hospitality industry, and the tens of thousands of people it employs in the city, will be severely impacted.”

He added: “We have seen from the recent trial in Liverpool, that mass testing is an extremely effective way for us to reduce the R-rate and exit Tier 3.

“This testing facility will therefore play a crucial role in Birmingham’s response to COVID-19 this winter and I’m very happy Erdington residents will have the best possible access.”

Joining Mr Dromey at the site to see construction begin was Damien Siviter, Group Managing Director of Seven Capital who own the former Colliers site.

He said: “This has been a great example of how the public and private sectors can work together. We were approached about two weeks ago to see if the site could be used for a testing facility and we did everything we could to make it happen.”

The Covid testing centre could be on the site between three and six months and, if needed, could be turned into a vaccination station.

Mr Siviter confirmed the long-term plan for the site remains a new supermarket and housing estate to be built.

Jack Dromey MP for Erdington talking from Orphanage Road COVID-19 mass testing site

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NEWS: Erdington named one of the ‘best places to live’ in Birmingham by property industry experts

Words & pics by Ed King

Erdington has been named as one of the ‘best places to live’ in Birmingham by several of the UK’s national estate agents and property agencies.

Beating more affluent areas such as Moseley, Harborne, and even neighbouring Sutton Coldfield, ‘Erdington should be on the radar of every savvy investor’ – according to the property investment company, Seven Capital.

As the housing market is re-opened, following the coronavirus lockdown, estate agents across the country have been evaluating the best places for new homeowners or first time buyers.

Ranked No2 on Seven Capital’s list of ‘The Best Places to Live in Birmingham’,  sandwiched between Digbeth (No1) and Edgbaston (No3), the industry accolade went on to reference Erdington’s ‘vibrant High Street, as well 280 local businesses’ – before concluding ‘it’s no wonder that continued growth is forecast for the area.’ also featured Erdington as a top contender in their ‘Best places to buy property in Birmingham’ research – published by the leading property consultant in July 2019.

Positioned at No2 on the website’s Top 5 across Birmingham – one place below Moseley, and ahead of Digbeth, Edgbaston, and Sutton Coldfield – Erdington was heralded as ‘a good option for those on a tight budget’ due to local amenities and proximity to Birmingham City Centre.

First Mortgage, the ‘UK’s top rated mortgage broker’ with 22 regional branches across the country, went on to reference Erdington as ‘one of the best places to live in and around Birmingham’ with ‘a rich past dating back to the 9th century.’

And in a more modern context, Erdington was voted No5 on Zoopla’s ‘Top 10 Hipster Hotspots across Britain’ – in a table of 10 locations, ranked by property value growth. But in a more recent evaluation of the property market, Zoopla went on to state the ‘average price for property in Erdington stood at £155,009 in July 2020… a fall of 0.59% in the last three months (since April 2020) and fall of 10.26% since 12 months ago.’

But home is more often where the heart is. “We moved here about 5 ½ years ago,” tells Maria Rooney, who left Moseley to live in Erdington, “we were having our first child and wanted a beautiful home and garden. After viewing a house on Somerset Road we put in an offer immediately. Years later, I’m so happy we moved. Our street has such a fabulous community vibe – just what we were after.”

I was born in Hagley,” adds Tim Scarth, who lives on Orchard Road with his family, “but moved over to Erdington when I met my now wife.

Erdington is a great place for our children – the schools are good, there’s a mix of cultures and backgrounds to educate and influence them. There are loads of parks and play areas. Plus, it’s easily connected by walking or cycling.

I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I wouldn’t mind a few more good pubs and restaurants though… and a bike shop wouldn’t go amiss.”

For more up to date information from Zoolpa on properties in Erdington, visit

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