Building the homes for Birmingham’s future
Councillor Ian Ward reflects on how the council is working with partners to deliver the homes that our growing city will need for the future.
Last week, I was delighted to be asked to speak at a gathering of property developers in Birmingham about the opportunities and challenges that our city faces in the coming years. Since last summer’s spectacular Commonwealth Games, Birmingham has been thrust into the global spotlight and more and more people want to be a part of our story.
We have one of Europe’s youngest and most diverse populations, and we are experiencing an ongoing transformation that has been nothing short of spectacular in recent years, but we cannot rest on our laurels.
Over the coming years we will see a number of exciting developments come to fruition across the city which will deliver the homes and create the jobs that we will need. For instance, detailed plans for the £1.9 billion Smithfield Development were unveiled last month, and this scheme has the potential to deliver 2,000 new homes and over 8,000 new jobs.
We are also expecting to announce a developer for the major regeneration of Ladywood, our plans for Digbeth will deliver 1,800 homes and 16,000 jobs, and of course the huge developments taking place in Perry Barr and at Arden Cross mean that our city will continue on its transformation in the years to come.
Our Future City Plan will be formally launched at an exciting event later this year, which will set out in detail the changes that we can expect to see in our city. Whilst this will transform the city’s skyline, the challenge that we face is to ensure that we tackle the big challenges that continue to hold back far too many people across Birmingham.
We are a young and diverse city full of talent and potential, but we also have a level of unemployment that is twice the national average, a ten year gap in life expectancy between the richest and poorest areas of the city, and 42% of our children grow up in relative poverty.
So I set the challenge to the property developers that I spoke with last week, that we must work together to tackle these challenges and give every neighbourhood and community in our city a stake in our success.
We face a huge challenge with an ageing stock of homes that aren’t fit for the future, but by working with partners we can deliver warm, green and comfortable homes for our residents. By building more good quality, affordable homes we can help to move people out of poverty and help them to build thriving communities in which they can succeed. A place to call home is absolutely crucial in determining health outcomes, so by building new houses we can build a healthier city.
I’ve often written about a Golden Decade of Opportunity, which will culminate in the arrival of HS2 into our city. With the investment that is flooding into our city, we have the potential to transform Birmingham, building a fairer and more equitable city for everyone. That is the challenge that we must grasp in the years ahead.
This blog was posted on 24 February 2023.