Birmingham named ‘City of the Year’ by Estates Gazette

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, reflects on an historic year for the city...

This week, Birmingham has been named ‘City of the Year’ at the EG Awards in London. EG, the new name for Estates Gazette, host these awards to celebrate the very best things about the real estate sector and it was a privilege to be there to accept the award on behalf of the city.

I have often said that we have entered into a Golden Decade of Opportunity for Birmingham, and it is fantastic that this has been recognised by a panel of judges made up of experts from the real estate industry.

So why does this matter? Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Birmingham continues to attract record levels of growth, with investors from across the world choosing our city to invest their money in. These investors and developers are helping to shape our city for the future, delivering new homes and new opportunities, regenerating communities and breathing new life into our city.

Alongside investors and developers, our Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are undertaking innovative work right across the city to ensure that our local high streets thrive, and helping the city centre to become one of the best in the country.

It is fitting that on the night that we picked up this award, it was announced that Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC) is financing the construction of a £200 million residential tower at One Eastside, which will enable Court Collaboration to construct 667 apartments, regenerating a brownfield site.

This is just one example of the investment pouring into our city. Whether it’s the regeneration of Longbridge, the development at Peddimore, or the transformation of Digbeth, we are seeing new homes, new jobs, and new opportunities arriving in our city like never before.

This summer, we showed the world just what Birmingham is all about. We hosted the best Commonwealth Games ever held in this country, and we let the world know how proud we are to be from Birmingham.

And alongside the 11 days of incredible sporting action, the Games will leave behind a legacy that will last for generations to come. Thanks to the Games, over £750 million will be invested in Perry Barr, meaning 5,000 new homes, new jobs and opportunities, and new transport links making it the best-connected suburb in the city.

The future for Birmingham is bright, and we look set to continue attracting record levels of investment for years to come, with the arrival of High-Speed Rail to look forward to towards the end of the decade.

However, as I tell investors and developers at every opportunity, we have a responsibility to use the investment that is coming into Birmingham to tackle the grand challenges that we face. In our city, 42% of children grow up in relative poverty, we have unemployment rates of double the national average, and a ten-year gap in life expectancy between our wealthiest and poorest areas.

By the end of the decade, we must be able to look back and prove that the money, jobs, homes and opportunities that have arrived in Birmingham have made a difference, otherwise we will have failed in our duty to the people of our city.

It is fantastic to have been named City of the Year, and the recognition of the strong position that Birmingham is in has made me more determined than ever that every single community in our city will benefit from the opportunities that lie ahead.

This blog was posted on 4 November 2022

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