Sun shining on South West Birmingham


In the glorious sunshine of the last few weeks I have been privileged to visit some major new redevelopments in our area – inclu201307 - Visit to Sainsburys 1ding the near completion of the Sainsbury’s store at Longbridge which will create over 320 new jobs, and the start of work by Barratt to build over 100 new homes in Kings Norton. I am also happy to welcome the announcement of a new Asda store in Barnes Hill, and a new care village in Longbridge from the Homes and Communities Agency.

Why are all these separate regeneration projects so important?

Firstly, because they are generating jobs and growth. New jobs are being created directly – such as in the new Sainsbury’s store – and indirectly, as building new houses creates demand for builders, planners, electricians, painters and decorators, estate agents, solicitors and so on.

SYES1econdly, because they are strengthening our community. This new housing developments won’t just be new homes for those that buy or rent them, but will create new outdoor spaces, services and amenities. For instance, Barratt are contributing more than £300,000 for new local open spaces in the Kings Rise development off the West Health Road. These are spaces for the whole community.

And finally, I believe these developments are all evidence of a new climb to the future for our area of South West Birmingham. We have enormous potential here – uniquely located next to the city centre and the regional beauty spots of the Clent, Lickey and Wasely Hills. We also have the £1billion Longbridge redevelopment – which I recently visited with the leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband and Shadow Housing Minister Jack Dromey – which is a project with national significance. We are seeing a new aspiration in our area as it becomes a more attractive place to work, shop, play and live. If you need proof, just look at the opening of Northfield’s very own beach – which has brought sand, brighton rock and soca music right to our town centre all week!   Upload1

As MP’s have left Westminster for the Parliamentary recess, the sun is certainly shining on South West Birmingham. Of course there we cannot be complacent. This week’s modest 0.6% growth figures are certainly positive, but the Chancellor should be careful in claiming that the economy has ‘healed’. There has been no recovery in living standards for ordinary people, no rebalancing of our economy towards manufacturing and exports, and this remains the slowest recovery for over 100 years. As discussed last week at the first meeting of the Climb Project that I have launched to tackle unemployment in the area, the rise of long term joblessness is of huge concern.

These announcments, and the homes and jobs they will bring to people in the community, are certainly important milestones. But just as is the case across the UK, they need to be backed with long term investment and comitment to economic development, prosperity and employment in Northfield. I will continue to keep a close watch to ensure the area’s redevelopment delivers for local people.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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