The regeneration of Birmingham's historic Jewellery Quarter has stopped it from becoming a post-industrial wasteland, officials have claimed.
Last week saw the virtual end of heavy industry in the Quarter after Icelandic food firm Bakkavor announced plans to close its site there. It said it was moving production away from the Carvery Street facility partly because of the increasing pressure of residential development.
But Andy Munro, operations director of the Jewellery Quarter Regeneration Partnership, said he did not believe the company was a victim of the trend towards city living.
"The reason that the company has had to move out in my opinion is not because of the urban pressure but because of the decline of manufacturing, which has meant a lot of areas becoming desolate," he said. "We do have very tight planning guidance on the Jewellery Quarter, but it doesn't include the area Bakkavor is in."
Mr Munro said the Jewellery Quarter, as an area, was just not suitable for large-scale manufacturers any more, with its increasing commercial use and pressure on parking.
"This is an area where there once was a lot of heavy manufacturing, such as Swan kitchen-ware which, because of manufacturing pressures, aren't around any more.
"The big manufacturers, what I call the metal bashers, weren't that popular with residents and they weren't that popular with jewellery businesses."
When Bakkavor announced it would be moving production to an industrial estate in Nottinghamshire, it meant the loss of about 125 jobs and signalled the end of an era for heavy manufacturing in the Quarter.
The jewellery industry in the area grew out of heavier factories producing goods such as pins, buttons, toys and pens.
It has now become a focus of Birmingham's regeneration, with shops, bars and blocks of flats springing up.
The area around the Bakkavor facility is due to become part of the £160 million St George's mixed-use scheme, which will see bars, shops, restaurants, flats and offices put in on the 6.8 acre site. Marie Huddleton, president of the Jewellery Quarter Association, said people in the region would be sad in some respects to see the company leave, but that the move was the best for both Bakkavor and the Jewellery Quarter.
She said: "We are sorry to see any employment go out of the area but I think there will be more employment in the new developments, which are mostly commercial.
"It was never the right place for them to be. They caused quite a few problems in the Quarter because of the massive lorries from Europe they had coming in overnight.
"Back when the area was still called Hockley, the Jewellery Quarter was an inner area where the small jewellers were, then there was a ring with larger manufacturers outside that, and then a ring of huge factories surrounding that.
"But most of the bigger companies have already gone.
"I don't know of any that have lorries bringing deliveries in now, they've all been enticed away to new industrial estates.
"It's better for them and it's better for us."