One of UK’s ‘most deprived’ neighbourhoods locals say ‘feels like Paris’

They sometimes say don’t bother going to Venice, as Birmingham has more canals per square mile than the famous Italian city. 

And those lucky Brummies don’t have far to travel to the English version of Paris – according to one of its local residents. 

Wednesbury, in Sandwell, the West Midlands, might not have the River Seine flowing through it, but it does boast a terrific little coffee shop based on The Winter Garden in Amsterdam – which somehow makes locals and tourists alike feel like they’re in the French capital city.

Speaking to BirminghamLive, Shabaz Ali said: “People say they have been to coffee shops in Paris and this is up there. Once they step outside, they are back in Wednesbury.”

Wednesbury, not far from the Black Country Living Museum and boasting its own museum and art gallery as well as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Heritage Centre, is located just south of Walsall and Wolverhampton.

READ MORE: Beautiful UK city denounced as ‘most unhygienic’ with horrendous ratings[GRIM]

The average house cost £188,985 in 2022, according to RightMove – almost half the national average reported in August 2023.  

Of its secondary schools, two received ‘good’ Ofsted ratings, while the other received ‘inadequate’ with ‘special measures’ to be recommended, the most serious conviction. 

Yet in this town that was deemed to be more deprived than 77 per cent of UK areas, one thing it is not deprived of is a popular, and unique, independent coffee shop. 

Ali’s father, Shokat, 63, created the Orchard Coffee Lounge having been inspired by his stint working at Amsterdam’s Winter Garden. 

The shop has a strong leafy theme with green walls, palm trees and leaves and flowers cascading around the room. The building’s facade is almost exotic and has a very continental feel to it. 

Don’t miss…
Huge pall of black smoke over UK town as bakery fire rages[FIRE]
Row erupts at school after girls are banned from wearing stretchy trousers[CONTROVERSIAL]
Police struggle to hold down a 12-foot-python on the loose in West Midlands[SNAKE]

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Inside, a sign on the wall describes how Shokat made “a promise and a wish” to open something similar to his beloved Amsterdam cafe. 

“The Orchard Coffee Lounge may not be as magnificent or awesome as The Winter Garden but I have tried my best to create the next best thing,” he wrote. “It was all a dream and this was my dream.”

His dream came true as he produced Wednesbury’s finest coffee shop. Local postman Darren Harper, 58, was full of praise: “This is the best coffee I have had. I went to Birmingham today and had a Pret A Manger, but it wasn’t as good as this.”

The local postie wasn’t the only celebrity guest – Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also dabbled.

Wednesbury’s MP told Shabaz a “VIP guest” was coming soon, but Shabaz only knew who said guest was “a minute or two” before his arrival. 

Regular customers were banished temporarily while Sunak spent 45 minutes inside. He “complimented our Aero mint brownie” but didn’t buy anything else, Shabaz reported back. 

Despite the VIP visit, Wednesbury isn’t a VNP (‘very nice place’). Sandwell Borough, where Wednesbury is located, is ranked the fourth poorest in Britain and is in the second lowest category for the English indices of deprivation. 

Shabaz hopes the Prime Minister’s visit might lead to a bit of regeneration in the area.

Source: Read Full Article