Birmingham and the West Midlands have seen big changes in their governance structures through the recent establishment of the West Midlands Combined Authority. With a remit to bring together 18 local authorities and four Local Economic Partnerships (LEPs) to address cross-border challenges on climate change, housing, transportation, and to create an inclusive and attractive region to live and work, the region is of huge interest to METREX members eager to learn about how the WMCA was established.
At our Spring Conference in San Sebastian in June 2018, the capital city of the Gipuzkoa region in the Basque Country, METREX members were introduced to the long-term vision of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), the transport authority within the WMCA. The presentation and subsequent discussions demonstrated the potential learning to be drawn from the experience of setting up the WMCA and TfWM.
We invited METREX members to Birmingham on 15 – 17 May 2019 to tackle the theme ‘Creating an environment for inclusive economic growth’.
The conference was developed around four themes: Urban – Rural, Employment – Education, Accessibility – Affordability and Environment – Health.
Over two days focused on the vision and delivery plans of the WCMA and TfWM, the relationship between the distinct places within the region and the role they play in its success.
We put what we heard into context with visits to various parts of Birmingham and cities across the region. We heard hear about preparations for the XXII Commonwealth Games, set to take place in Birmingham in 2022, and their planned legacy.