Public and private sector leaders are ready to approve a 20-year masterplan to deliver growth and prosperity and underpin Birmingham as a globally competitive city.
The Birmingham Prospectus is the result of eight months' work, which began in March when city council and business sector representatives met at the ICC to debate the way ahead. The latest blueprint, due to be rubber-stamped tomorrow, for the future re-emphasises long-standing development priorities, including the transformation of New Street Station and the expansion of Birmingham International Airport.
It pledges the city to embrace sustainability, better use the talents of younger people and redress the balance between traffic and pedestrians.
It also raises the possibility of developing a "truly special" creative quarter on the 21-acre site at Digbeth, currently occupied by the wholesale markets. The potential impact of such a development could be on a par with Brindleyplace or the Bullring, according to the draft prospectus.
The need to improve the city's physical environment by replicating the successful regeneration of the central area in the suburbs – creating vibrant urban centres that will become attractive destinations in their own right – is a common theme among the working groups responsible for writing the prospectus. Five themes were examined:n Birmingham, a global cityn a visible cityn a connected cityn a prosperous cityn a growing city
Under the title Birmingham: a growing global city with more than a million hearts, the vision statement talks about branding Birmingham as a growing global city that is proud, vibrant and dynamic, yet remains friendly and welcoming.
It stresses the need for better marketing, by demanding a set of "strong, confident messages" to contradict outdated perceptions of Birmingham. The draft prospectus, which is expected to be approved at a City Conference at the ICC tomorrow, states: "We aim to be much more positive in promoting the city with a united voice that demonstrates our diversity yet retains a common heart. Everyone has a role, be it locally, nationally or internationally in promoting Birmingham."
Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council, promised a new direction in a rapidly changing world.
Coun Whitby (Con Harborne) added: "This prospectus builds on Birmingham’s existing strengths as a major centre for professional and financial services and knowledge-based industries."
In addition, there are clusters of companies in future growth sectors such as medical and environmental technologies and creative industries.
"Birmingham also retains a strong manufacturing base which will continue to be supported. We continue to recognise and tackle the real and diverse challenges faced by the city both globally and locally, as well as identifying and exploiting new opportunities.
"The NEC, International Convention Centre and National Indoor Arena have already established Birmingham as the UK’s top conference city. Other recent developments such as the Bullring – Europe’s largest city centre retail regeneration project with its iconic Selfridges building – show the direction in which the city is heading."