Falconer Swoops for Better Urban Life; Lie of the Land: 24 Towns Will Form Partnership for Improving Public Areas
Byline: Neil Connor Community Affairs Reporter
Regeneration minister Lord Falconer yesterday visited Birmingham to launch a major scheme aimed at tackling urban problems.
The minister announced a new partnership between 24 selected towns and cities, including Birmingham, which will look at ways of improving urban life.
He outlined his plan for increasing debate and awareness about the importance of urban renewal at the Urban Design Alliance (UDAL) conference at The Midlands Engineering Centre in Cambridge Street.
He later visited the National Housing Federation's annual conference at the International Convention Centre, where he presented the West Midlands Regeneration Awards.
Speaking to delegates at the UDAL conference, Lord Falconer said tackling poor public space was an urgent priority for the Government.
He said: 'If you listen to people talking about their area, the complaints are often the same: graffiti, vandalism, abandoned cars, rat-runs, anti-social behaviour, litter, safe parks, safe and clean public areas, and begging and drinking on the streets.
'These are not trivialities, but the thousand cuts that can easily lead to the slow death of urban communities.
'By forming a partnership of 24 towns and cities across the country we can work closely with them to look at each of their visions, their priorities, their means of delivery and their measures for assessing progress.
'But this is not a one-way process. It is important that we listen to what these towns and cities tell us about our policies and programmes - whether they are helping or hindering them.
'I am keen that this initiative encourages open and honest debate. Their feedback will certainly help form future policy development. …