LETTER : Singing the praise of Brum

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From Mr Terry Grimley

Sir: Inspired by Birmingham's vibrant musical life and the range and quality of its venues, BBC Radio chose to stage its largest festival of live music here over the May Bank holiday. The Independent really rose to the occasion with Edmund Beatty Wright's put-down of the city ("City slicker", 22 May).

It is true that Birmingham invited 30 years of derision through its dismal post-war redevelopment, but how about trying a fresh perspective?

For example, since 1990 no fewer than five significant public open spaces have been either created or completely remodelled in the city centre, and more are planned. The kind of environmental transformation Sir Richard Rogers has been advocating for London is already being actively pursued here.

Future plans include the spectacular demolition of the notorious inner ring road, with a return to traditional tree-lined streets. A planned metro system would already be under construction if the Government had treated the West Midlands in the same way it treated Manchester and Sheffield.

The city which, in John Gummer's words, "went on its knees to the motor car" in the 1960s is now leading the way in rolling back the concrete.

Yours sincerely,



25 May