Birmingham nightlife bosses list six key things the city 'desperately needs'

The Crown on Station street, which campaigners are desperately trying to protect from development -Credit:Graham Young / BirminghamLive
The Crown on Station street, which campaigners are desperately trying to protect from development -Credit:Graham Young / BirminghamLive

There are six key things that Birmingham desperately needs to thrive according to two leading city centre nightlife bosses. Lawrence Barton, the night-time economy champion for Birmingham City Council and chair of the Southside business improvement district (BID), has collaborated with Westside BID general manager Mike Olley to share six things they hope to discuss with newly elected West Midlands mayor Richard Parker.

Broad Street, Brindleyplace, Five Ways, Centenary Square and Broadway Plaza are among the busy spots that fall within the Westside BID while Southside encapsulates Chinatown, the LGBTQIA+ district and the Arcadian. In dual posts on both BID websites, the leaders agreed that Birmingham needs night buses as part of the mayor's pledge to bring buses back under public control with Mr Barton saying there's a 'desperate need' to get customers and staff home on public transport after midnight.

As well as night buses, the pair have called for investment into regional culture and festivals that 'particularly serve LGBTG+ communities' as well as asking that financial and other support for small businesses be easier to access.

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Mr Barton and Mr Olley have also called for an 'increase in quality marketing of the city and wider region' in the hope of boosting visitors and winning inward investment as well as calling for more resources to be channelled through the business improvement districts to 'make priorities happen rather than wasting funds on external bodies that don't always deliver'.

The sixth priority highlighted by the bosses particularly focused on the issues surrounding the Electric Cinema and The Crown on Station Street, cultural assets that are at risk of 'unchecked residential development'.

The pair say they 'look forward to sitting down' with Richard Parker to discuss the 'urgent' plans. Mr Barton said: "I've met with Richard several times before the election and he always made it clear that he was willing to listen to my priorities for the night-time economy.

"We desperately need night buses for staff and customers to get home safely after midnight, and this should now become a real possibility when Richard brings them back into public control. We want more investment in our culture and festivals, for smaller businesses to have easier access to support, and for an end to unchecked development of flats and apartments.

"We welcome Richard’s willingness to meet and look forward to sitting down with him very soon to discuss these urgent plans in detail."

Mr Olley said he agreed with Lawrence Barton's priorities. He said: "There are currently too many outside organisations and remote council departments without the in depth knowledge or ability to help the nightlife sector. Let's make these things happen by increasing the role of the BIDs who already work closely every day with the grassroot businesses and communities involved.

"We know what needs to happen and how to get things done, but now we need Richard Parker's backing to help make it a reality."

Richard Parker said that he was 'grateful' to the pair for highlighting the six issues, adding: "A vibrant night-time economy is key to the social and economic fabric of the West Midlands."

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