Tag Archives: Clive Dutton

One single vision – Where next for Birmingham

With the departure of Clive Dutton, who has been so instrumental in securing the future of the city, thoughts turn to ‘what do we do next?’.

Do we carry on as we are, or do we introspect a bit and refine our strategy? These are tough questions and it proves what we should already know; town planning is not easy.
Our glorious leader, Anthony Tattum, said so eloquently in the Birmingham Post‘s ‘Pen Portrait’ (Sorry Alun) that Birmingham ‘needs a single vision’. I didn’t know he harboured this opinion until I read it in the paper, and I have to say I agree.

There is a relentless tug-of-war between seperate sectors on how the future of the city should look and feel.

One side would prefer to capitalise on Birmingham’s burgeoning creative industry and Digbeth based online innovation, whilst the other side would rather a more urbane, modern chic. See it as BrindleyPlace versus The Custard Factory.
brindly place
But here is the problem, it is difficult to achieve both and I can’t see the council favouring post-industrial developments such as Fazeley Studios over slick new builds like The Library and New Street Station.

Is there a middle ground or should we develop Digbeth and Eastside in the creative mould whilst cleaning up the city centre with modern designs?

Personally I think the creative industries are the future of this city and it gives a unique selling point; it would make sense to invest in these areas.

The only thing we do know is that we need to pick a direction and run in it.


Filed under Big Business, Big Cat Group, Digbeth, Eastside

Clive Dutton: The Council’s Gareth Barry

If you’re working in Birmingham, it will not have escaped your notice that Clive Dutton has left behind Birmingham City Council in favour of Newham council. On the face of it, it looks an odd decision until you remember the borough’s Olympic ties. Some would call him a traitor, others just simply ambitious.

Jumping ship just when things were looking good, taking the money after gaining nationwide recognition, sound familiar?


It must have been a tough decision, BCC is the biggest council in Europe and he has implemented plans that will see the city’s most significant regeneration since..well, a long time. On the other hand, joining the Olympic project and having the opportunity to create a bit of history and play a major role in this country’s largest project in a generation is surely to good to pass up.

Mr Dutton is clearly an ambitious man and, from personal experience, a very focused and driven individual and an opportunity like the Olympics would have been unturndownable (it’s not a word but it is now).


So what has he left behind? New street station, the new library (not as good as the old), Olympic swimming pool and Masshouse justice courts. Only one problem with them, none of them exist, and I’m willing to bet at least one of them doesn’t happen (although that is not what I hope). That isn’t necessarily his fault, he’s only been here 4 years, not much time to get bricks and mortar in place.

As for ditching Birmingham, I think you would have to be mad to try and hold him to account in terms of loyalty. It’s similar to Barry leaving Aston Villa for Manchester City. A man that has done a lot of good work for his team for some time but has decided to leave for more money and potentially a much better team and the chance to create their own history.

The promise of the opportunity is infinately more attractive than staying where he is, where he has taken his department about as far as he could, albeit with success just around the corner.

I say, enjoy the pay rise, make your mark and one day we hope to say the man that regenerated London used to be one of us.

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Filed under Big Business, Big Cat Group

Birmingham’s young and talented to showcase creativity!












Please welcome the first post from our esteemed fashion correspondent, Natalie Hartland.

I was recently reading a blog on the Midlands Young Fashion Designer Awards returning for its second year, what a great opportunity for talent hailing from the midlands to showcase what amazing talent they have.

Birmingham has the basis to becoming the most stylish city, with fashion students coming from London to Birmingham to study fashion, but what is there to keep them here?

With a string of big name chains taking over the majority of Birmingham’s shopping centre and high streets, what is the future for Birmingham’s young fashion designer? I fear the answer is a train ticket to the big smoke to join the battle of young fashion house wannabes, competing for a job in one of the big names that consume every square inch of Birmingham’s retail district.

Thankfully this problem hasn’t gone unnoticed with the Big City Plan commenting on the city’s ‘bland’ collection of shops, with most being big name stores which are consistent with every other town and city across the country – hopefully this means something will be done about it!!

Does anyone remember Covet? A cool independent store supplying Topshop Bullring with its vintage collection, the little gem that was hidden deep within the Custard Factory sadly passed away, as did the Topshop vintage collection! More stores like this would allow our young designers a promising chance to not only show case or sell their collections but to start their career without leaving their hometown.

What Birmingham is in desperate need of is unique independent stores such as Cow – the big yellow vintage store on Digbeth high street, more stores like this will give the city individuality and style it needs.

Im glad to see that this problem is being taken into consideration within the Big City Plan, with even Clive Dutton backing it in the hope Birmingham’s shops will help Brum in the race to become one of the top 20 livable cities in the world!!


Filed under Big Cat Social, Big Questions, Digbeth, Eastside