Residents and business owners in the Jewellery Quarter are being given the opportunity to influence changes in the area by developing a Neighbourhood Plan.
Neighbourhood Plans, which were recently introduced in the Localism Act, are designed to give local people more power to decide the future of the places that they live and work in.
The Jewellery Quarter Development Trust (JQDT), in partnership with The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, will be considering all the important issues relating to the development and regeneration of the Quarter at a series of Neighbourhood Planning workshops from 19th to 21st March.
Prepared by a community, a Neighbourhood Plan can address issues such as where new development should take place; what improvements are needed to roads, footpaths and cycle routes; and how the housing needs of the local community should be met.
The JQDT is also the driving force behind a Business Improvement District (BID) proposal for the Jewellery Quarter, in partnership with Birmingham City Council. The BID aims to attract investment, increase visitor numbers and encourage a more vibrant economy, while making the area a better place in which to work, invest and live.
Dave Mahony, chairman of the JQDT, said: “An initial scoping meeting with residents and business owners was held at the end of last year to discuss which areas in the Quarter needed the most attention. It was felt that we needed to focus on the Industrial Middle of the Quarter, which seems to have more than its fair share of dereliction. It is important that we have a debate with wise hands to guide us as, with the Conservation Area slipping into English Heritage’s ‘at-risk’ status, we can’t pretend there is nothing to talk about.
“Much of the BID proposal contains plans to tackle dereliction in the area as well as creating a cleaner, greener and safer environment for all. The workshops in March will be a chance for local people to voice their opinions and make a real difference in the Quarter.”
Paul Lavelle, project manager for The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, said: “We are an educational charity that promotes community engagement in the planning process. The workshops are a great way to develop a community-led vision and an interim strategy that will help to unlock the potential of the Jewellery Quarter.”
Jewellery Quarter residents and business owners are invited to attend workshops on Monday 19th March, 7pm – 8.30pm and Wednesday 21st March, 5.30pm – 7pm, at MADE offices, 7,Newhall Square, Birmingham. The first event aims to develop initial ideas with the findings being presented findings at the second workshop. Guests are asked to fill in a questionnaire prior to attending the workshops, which can be downloaded from the JQDT website – www.jqdt.org.
The Prince’s Foundation will also host a workshop for invited stakeholders, partners and local representatives on Tuesday 20th March.