The West Midlands should be re-named the Heart of England to give the region a greater sense of identity, a senior Conservative politician suggested last night.
David Smith, the leader of Lichfield District Council and chairman of the West Midlands Regional Assembly, criticised the marketing of the region which he said was un-coordinated and failing to give a clear message.
Talking to the annual diner of ACAS, the arbitration and conciliation service, Coun Smith called for a debate to begin about a more appropriate name. He said: "There are lots of organisations claiming to be responsible for marketing the West Midlands but they are all going in different directions.
"We need greater co-ordination and determination in the way we deliver regional governance and services.
"People who live here don't recognise themselves as being in or from the West Midlands, instead referring to their village, town, city or county rather than the region – so it is perhaps no surprise that people outside the West Midlands don't know where it is.
"We have lost our sense of place. We need a sense of community and identity that reflects our roles, whether we live, work or relax here in the Heart of England."
Coun Smith urged a fresh approach, adding: "We need a clear identity that people can relate to and that every visitor, manufacturer, producer, service provider and business in the region can utilise.
"I believe that 'Heart of England' describes where we are not only within England, but globally, it gives that sense of place we are looking for, in a way that 'West Midlands' never will. Maybe now is the time to have that debate."