Priorities for Birmingham’s nightlife sector laid out for new regional mayor

Birmingham’s nightlife leaders have revealed urgent plans for the sector that they are now set to discuss with Richard Parker, the newly elected West Midlands mayor.

Lawrence Barton, the official night-time economy champion for Birmingham City Council and the chair of Southside BID, and Mike Olley, general manager of Westside BID, have revealed six top priorities:

  • Swift action to launch night-time transport as part of Parker’s pledge to bring buses back under public control.
  • Investment in regional culture and festivals, particularly serving LGBTG+ communities.
  • A focus on making financial and other support for small businesses easier to access.
  • An increase in quality marketing of the city and wider region to boost visitors and win inward investment.
  • A commitment to protect cultural assets from unchecked residential development, such as the Electric Cinema and The Crown on Station Street.
  • Plans to channel more resources through the city’s business improvement districts (BIDs) to make these priorities happen, rather than wasting funds on external bodies that don’t always deliver.

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.

Lawrence Barton, the official night-time economy champion for Birmingham City Council.

“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 added: “I agree with Lawrence’s priorities and also want to see the resources needed for these to take place to be channelled through the city’s proven BIDs.

Mike Olley, general manager of Westside BID.

“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.”

Elected mayor Richard Parker responded directly to the BID chiefs’ priorities and said: “A vibrant night-time economy is key to the social and economic fabric of the West Midlands. 

“I’m grateful to Lawrence and Mike for putting together this useful set of priorities and I look forward to meeting soon to discuss them.”

Elected mayor Richard Parker.

ENDS

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