die belebende Bedenkung

Failure in the Heartlands

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On 21 July 2014 transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said “It is great news that Birmingham City Council has created a company specifically to focus on the regeneration opportunities created by HS2. It will bring new investment and work into the city, helping secure the future prosperity of the region and the country.”

Investment in the HS2 railway would supposedly produce thousands of jobs, not just in Birmingham city centre, but also in the suburbs. HS2 Ltd has proposed the construction of a train depot at Washwood Heath, on the site of the Metro-Cammell and LDV factories. But according to Liam Byrne MP, if the HS2 depot were built, it would be an economic “tragedy“.

Birmingham council’s plan to establish a development company brings to mind a similar arrangement from the 1990s. In 1992 the Birmingham Heartlands Development Corporation was set up with public cash to reinvigorate a large area of east Birmingham, including parts of Bordesley, Bromford, Nechells and Saltley.

Today, one might say that the achievements of the Development Corporation are at best, very well hidden. After BHDC was wound up, the name “Heartlands” fell into disuse, and today it survives only in the name of East Birmingham Hospital.

The winding up of BHDC did not mean the end of attempts to regenerate east Birmingham. For example, just over a decade ago, public funding was obtained for a new bridge over the railway at Washwood Heath to ‘secure employment at the Metro-Cammell train factory’ and allow carriages to be exported by road.

In 2005, Metro-Cammell’s owners Alstom shuttered the plant, apparently on the advice of Alastair Dormer (now chief of Hitachi Rail), making the bridge a total loss.


Written by beleben

July 21, 2014 at 2:51 pm

One Response

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  1. Did you mean “shut”?


    July 22, 2014 at 4:36 pm

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