Peace talks have begun between Birmingham and Milton Keynes over the latter's expansion threat.
Discussions began yesterday between a senior Milton Keynes figure and West Midlands' regional businesses and public agencies in a first stage of exploring how the planned development can work for the people of the West Midlands region rather than against them.
A working group set up by the West Midlands Regional Assembly's Planning Partnership, and led by West Midlands Business Council, met Milton Keynes Economy and Learning Partnership executive director, Colin Fox, in Birmingham.
Talks centred round Government plans to make the Milton Keynes area twice the size of Birmingham, and how the move might help support jobs and prosperity in the West Midlands region.
The worry has been that a failure to agree a way forward could rebound disastrously on the West Midlands' economy.
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' regional chairman, Richard Moxon, who chairs the working group, said: "The Government is pushing ahead with its plans to make Milton Keynes and the surrounding area twice the size of Birmingham.
"While the West Midlands regional business community continues to ask Ministers whether any assessments will be made of the impact of this large development upon jobs and the transport network, we can not leave it at that and close our eyes to these continuing plans.
"That is why the meeting with Colin Fox was an important step to help ensure that there is a positive future for the people of the West Midlands' region, with the development becoming a plus for Midlands ' jobs and prosperity."
He said he hoped it would be the first of a continuing and positive dialogue with leading figures in Milton Keynes.
Mr Fox said: "I welcome the opportunity to work with colleagues in the West Midlands region to maximise the economic benefits of growth in what might be termed the 'South Midlands'.
"I believe there are a number of opportunities to work collaboratively to mutual benefit, including the issues of transport infrastructure, Birmingham Airport and developing sectors."