It is interesting to see the criticism of the failure to transform Birmingham’s glittering gem – the Jewellery Quarter – into a creative village capable of securing World Heritage Status.

Local residents have accused Birmingham City Council of failing to match its bold promises with decisive action, a charge the authority has unsurprisingly denied.

There is an ambitious plan for the Jewellery Quarter and yet, according to the critics, little (if any) progress has been made since 2002.

It is time the people of the Jewellery Quarter and the city council looked west for some inspiration.

It was only last week that the South Wales mining town of Blaenavon – which was granted World Heritage Status in 2000 – opened its £3m visitor centre.

Having been a journalist in the area when the idea of applying to Unesco was first mooted, it is safe to say Blaenavon’s journey from depressed former pit town to the increasingly vibrant and self-confident World Heritage Site it is today has been a long and at times painful one.

They were not exactly falling over themselves to fight Blaenavon’s case in the early days, but well over a decade on there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful.

The crucial point for Birmingham is that it and the Jewellery Quarter is starting from a much stronger starting position than Blaenavon enjoyed and has far greater support than was on offer in South Wales when the heritage plan was first formed.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s