JQDT bids to become a neighbourhood forum

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David Mahony, Mr Foster, Cllr Kath Hartley and Russell Poulton (BCC)

The Jewellery Quarter Development Trust (JQDT) hosted a visit from Rt Hon Don Foster MP yesterday (30th April) to discuss its bid to become a neighbourhood forum.

The Trust is working to become an official neighbourhood forum under the Localism Act. The Localism Act gives communities more rights and powers to shape new development and ensure that decisions about housing are taken locally. A neighbourhood forum can devise its own plan for developments they want to see in the area and, using neighbourhood development orders, can progress without the need for planning applications.

As part of the visit, JQDT chairman David Mahony showed Mr Foster, Minister for Communities and Local Government, around the Standard Works on Vittoria Street.

Representatives from the Development Trust, Birmingham City Council, and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) were also present. The group discussed the Development Trust’s wider work in the Quarter and their ideas for future neighbourhood development orders.

David said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to show the Minister all the development opportunities this unique and vibrant area of Birmingham has to offer.

“The Standard Works building is an example of the many properties in the Jewellery Quarter that are in a state of disrepair. There is an aspiration to work with the owner to turn the space into a photography gallery.

“Establishing a neighbourhood forum will allow us to choose what developments we have in the Quarter and actually make things happen, rather than just talking about it.”

The Minister praised the Development Trust for its passion for the Jewellery Quarter and told them to ‘keep up the excellent work’.

Mr Foster also visited the School of Jewellery in Vittoria Street, where he was presented with a jar of jam topped with a silver lid that was made and engraved in the Quarter.

Mike Mounfield, a resident, business owner and Board member of JQDT, said: “We are morphing the Trust into a wider neighbourhood forum that can become one coherent voice for the Jewellery Quarter to help strike the right balance between residents, business, heritage, craft and creativity in this special part of a special city.”

“We have just finished a project with MADE using funding from CABE to produce conceptual designs for affordable family housing in the Quarter and are looking at the next step of finding a potential site, as well as developing a self-build project where residents can tap into the plethora of fine architectural practices based here and build their own JQ home.”

The JQDT, which was established in May 2011, carries out a range of activities for the benefit of all who live, work, learn within, invest in and visit the area. It also runs the Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement District (JQ BID), which was established in May 2012.

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