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The Make-it Zone in Balsall Heath

20 Aug

Anna Watson’s Localise West Midlands blog about its latest meeting, The Green Economy and Local Job Creation, reported that – as the oil supply peaks – the innovation, manufacture, marketing and repairing of products will become more economic at a local level. Small scale, sustainable employment opportunities will be created, encouraging local resourcefulness and a thriving local economy.  

The Make-it Zone 

In a set of Grade II listed buildings, “the Old Print Works” on Moseley Rd, Balsall Heath, opposite the fine Edwardian Moseley Road Baths and Library, the Make-it Zone is evolving – a visionary project which could offer such opportunities. Moseley structural engineer Ian Greenwood is keenly aware of the city’s skills shortages and the aimlessness of young people in fear of long-term unemployment or a lifetime of short-term unskilled jobs.


Only two miles from the city centre on the A435, one of Birmingham’s best bus routes, the Old Print Works is being adapted to provide work-space, including studios and workshops, at a modest rent. The energy-efficient building will be a super-insulation demonstrator, a solar energy model building with its quarter acre of south-facing roof, demonstrating how roof collectors will be connected to under-floor energy storage. It will offer its tenants shared resources such as a van, an e-commerce website to help sell their goods, exhibition space, a reception area parking space and an attractive courtyard.


The Make-it Zone needs tenants who can make beautiful, useful and durable objects and it is hoped that many will be prepared to pass on their skills to others. 

Enquiries are coming in and there is enough accommodation on this large site for many pioneers to help to realise this vision. Others can contact Ian Greenwood on 0121 449 0278 – or come along to the open days held on the last Saturday of each month at 2pm. The next will be on the 28th August. 

As Chartered Civil Engineer David Meggitt says: “The big thing is that someone has actually done something! Let’s envision how this can take off.”