Birmingham has developed into a set of isolated self-contained villages with little or no shared identity it has been claimed.
Former council deputy leader Paul Tilsley said that this increasing segration could be harming the future success of the city.
The Liberal Democrat council leader was speaking at the final session of the council’s inquiry into ‘What Makes Us Brummie?’.
He spoke about the transformation in Aston since he was first elected councillor there in 1968 and how the city has developed.
“What has happened is we have developed into a series of communities and this has been to our disadvantage.
“Aston has become a self-contained village, and there are lots of them around the city. People relate only to their community.”
He said it was almost like the city was breaking up again into its historic villages.
His view was shared by Labour council leader Sir Albert Bore who talked of communities disconnected from the success of the city centre.
“For people in places like Frankley, or Kings Norton or Kingstanding, there is a disconnect with the city centre.”
He said that part of the problem is the expense of travel and said that public transport is not run as a public service. “I hope this will get better,” he said.
His administration was very much focussed on tackling the persistent inequality which has blighted it for generations he added,
Labour cabinet member for social cohesion John Cotton developed this warning: “Failure to tackle inequality is an act of social and economic sabotage for the future.”
He added that the quickest way to reduce inequality is to create jobs. Tory Mike Whitby, who led the city council for eight years, praised
the strength of Birmingham’s faith leaders, particularly in a crisis and said his leadership had concentrated on improving the quality of
One area where Birmingham had been held back, he explained, was the delays in securing Government funding for major infrastructure
When challenged over the inequality he said that they had invested £800 million in council homes. The council inquiry is looking into the values and characteristics Brummies share and looking at improving ‘social cohesion’ in the city.
It also heard evidence from Conservative group leader Mike Whitby and representatives of the media, including the Birmingham Mail’s
communities editor Paul Fulford and a group representing new arrivals from Eastern Europe.
They agreed that Birmingham has a reputation stretching back hundreds of years as a welcoming city for newcomers.
The committee’s report and recommendations are due to be published in February.