Saturday's city centre protest

By on 04/09/2009 in News

Sharon Lea, director responsible for resilience, makes a statement in relation to Saturday’s planned city centre protest.

I would endorse West Midlands Police’s comments about working closely together and reinforcing our multi-agency approach to ensure the best way forward for the city as a whole.

The safety of our residents, workers and visitors to the city is of paramount importance and that is why we have worked hard since the events of 8 August to work with community groups and leaders and plan our arrangements with a wide spectrum of issues in mind.

Not least is the short and long-term economic impact on the city. Traders are experiencing a difficult enough time at the moment in the midst of an economic downturn and the city council is keen to keep the shopping areas as open as possible and support the retail economy.

This Saturday, before many children go back to school, is one of the busiest shopping days of the year, 150,000 shoppers will be expected in and around the Bullring on Saturday and as much as 50% of a large retailer's trade happens on Saturdays. The impact on the 8 August was at least 15% loss of trade for one large retailer.

Birmingham is a diverse city in terms of culture, art, faith, race and language, and we celebrate that. But we want everyone in the city to live in peace and harmony whilst enjoying the economic and social development the city is known for.

We do recognise the need to strengthen our community cohesion, which is why we took control and developed a strategy back in 2006, committing resources and working hard to develop a number of community networks. 

Historically, Birmingham is a city that has welcomed people from all over the world and whilst we want a vibrant and innovative city we also want a cohesive and safe one.

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