JQDT calls for council support following blaze

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The Jewellery Quarter Development Trust has called for more support from Birmingham City Council to tackle dereliction in the Jewellery Quarter, following a fire that destroyed a historic building in the area this morning (Tuesday).

Six fire-engines and more than 30 firefighters were called to tackle the large blaze at the former Bernard C Lowe building on Spencer Street in the early hours. The three-storey derelict building has been unoccupied for more than 10 years.

David Mahony, chair of the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust (JQDT) said: “The JQDT is saddened and frustrated to hear of the fire in Spencer Street that caused severe damage to a building of significant heritage value to the Quarter.

“The JQDT is working hard to reduce the amount of dereliction in the area via the Business Improvement District and other funding and support. The Trust is grateful for the support of Birmingham City Council in submitting our recent bid for Heritage Lottery Funding to bring derelict buildings in the Quarter back into use. However, we are now appealing to the City Council for its vital support in bringing forward a Neighbourhood Plan to enable the community of business people and residents to decide how the Quarter will develop in the next few years – making incidents like the one in Spencer Street less likely.”

The JQDT is hoping to become an official Neighbourhood Planning Forum under the Localism Act, which gives communities more rights and powers to shape new development in their area. A Neighbourhood Planning 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.

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