View from the Cabinet: Andrew Coulson -; the Post Is Putting Birmingham City Council Cabinet Members on the Spot, Asking Them to Name Past Achievements and Look Forward to 2003. Andrew Coulson, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Makes His Contribution
Labour councillor for Selly Oak since 1990
Cabinet member for regeneration
Lecturer at Birmingham University
As cabinet member for regeneration, I am responsible for four main areas of work: economic development; Eastside redevelopment; urban design and the strategic aspects of planning.
The economic development service is about working to create jobs and prosperity for all our people. It plays key roles in:
Major city centre and local neighbourhood developments.
Promoting Birmingham as a world class city and attracting new companies to locate here.
Encouraging business growth and development.
Improving the skills and job opportunities available to local people.
Promoting greater social inclusion through business and employment.
Eastside is the name given to the design and construction of a major new cultural quarter, in the Digbeth area, around Millennium Point. This is based on a state-of-the-art central library, plus new buildings for the University of Central England and Matthew Boulton College, to support the needs of music, drama and the creative industries.
The strategic aspects of planning include the production of the Birmingham Unitary Development Plan; the creation of development briefs and planning guidance; the designation of Conservation Areas; and liaison with other strategic bodies.
This is a huge range of activities and services, with related performance measures and targets.
It is important work that needs to be undertaken professionally and sensitively to produce the modern and successful city that Birmingham is becoming.
Our vision for the future of Birmingham has four main strands, interlocking at many points, but absolutely central to what we do:
Reducing unemployment in the inner city wards, where it is nearly twice the city average. This is a Public Service Agreement target, agreed between the council and central government. The largest numbers of unemployed are from some of the minority ethnic communities, so assisting these groups into either employment, self-employment and further or higher education is fundamental to regeneration.
Breaking through the concrete collar of the 1960s ring road to provide a vibrant modern city centre - the Bullring, Eastside, Arena Central, Paradise Forum, Snow Hill, Aston University, the Jewellery Quarter, Highgate/Balsall Heath, Attwood Green and the Mailbox.
In each case we are looking for quality mixed-use schemes, with affordable as well as up-market housing, modern offices, shops, workspace, effective public transport and communication.
Making all our suburbs places where people want to live, work and shop and where there are a range of employment opportunities and a range of services and facilities to promote social inclusion and enterprise.
Making Birmingham a centre for the new manufacturing - in terms of biotechnology, new sources of energy and control systems, creative industries and supporting research. Hence the A38 Technology Corridor and the Eastside Learning and Technology Quarter.
These strands are all inter-linked. Eastside will become a flourishing neighbourhood, as will the new Longbridge. Regeneration in areas such as Aston, Balsall Heath, Handsworth, Selly Oak or Walmley will continue to involve the creation of opportunities for people, as well as, development of land and property. …