The city’s development community has reacted with shock after its council champion decided to take up a new role in London.
Birmingham City Council’s regeneration boss Clive Dutton, in the post for four years, has accepted a post at the London Borough of Newham as the area prepares for the 2012 Olympic Games.
In his new position of executive director for regeneration, planning and property at the borough, Mr Dutton will oversee part of the UK’s biggest regeneration scheme with a brief to secure the long-term legacy for the area.
During his time in Birmingham he has been instrumental in developments such as the £600m New Street Gateway project, the £193m new library, and Big City Plan.
Last night several leading property figures from the city spoke of their sadness at seeing him leave.
Alan Chatham, director of Birmingham Development Company, said: “I have to say I’m surprised and sorry to see him go. He has been extremely good at getting people to come to Birmingham, he was very credible and he got things done.”
Martin Guest, managing director at CB Richard Ellis in Birmingham, said: “Clive’s departure is a big loss for Birmingham. During his time in the city he has made a major contribution to its development, overseeing some extremely important projects. He has a passion and determination to get things done, as well as a willingness to work with the private sector.
"While his move is good news for London, the concern for Birmingham, particularly for the private sector, is that the progress that has been made to date is not lost and that major projects that have been started are not put on the back burner while the council finds his replacement.”
Mr Dutton said the lure of working in an area set to be transformed by the Olympics was too strong a pull to resist. He said: “There are very few jobs in the world that would have enticed me away from Birmingham, a city I genuinely love, but the draw of helping to shape the country’s Olympic legacy was one I simply could not turn down.
"I want to help ensure Newham maximises opportunities created by the 2012 Games, Crossrail, London City Airport and Stratford International Station, and am looking forward to the challenge of making the sort of lasting difference to that area that the council’s work in Birmingham is making.
“While I will be sad to leave Birmingham, I believe the momentum of the regeneration programme we have established in recent years will continue into the future, and I will take a keen interest in seeing them brought to fruition.”
Mr Dutton, 56, has spent more than 30 years in planning and urban regeneration in the public, private and voluntary sectors. He worked as a special adviser on regeneration issues for central government on the Urban White Paper and economic aspects of the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. Last month he was presented with the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Regeneration in the West Midlands’ award at the 2009 Property Week awards.
Newham council’s chief executive Joe Duckworth said: “Nowhere else in the UK is undergoing transformation on the scale of Newham – and it is not just about hosting the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. Our borough has huge potential for investment, growth and greater prosperity.
"For Newham the only way is up and we are delighted to have someone of Clive’s calibre joining us.”
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