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Inner city initiative will continue through council teams.

The leader of a five-year programme to breathe life into one of Birmingham's most depressed inner city districts has claimed the area will continue to rejuvenate without its help.

A city council team will take over the reins of the projects set up during the Newtown South Aston City Challenge, when it finishes at the end of this month. (March)

City Challenge was set up in 1993 when Birmingham City Council won pounds 37.5million of Government funding to begin a regeneration programme which has spawned five major industrial developments, a refurbished shopping centre and a new post-16 education centre.

An additional pounds 200million of private and public sector money has been invested in the area where modern businesses and manufacturing premises, including the new pounds 16million Royal Mail sorting centre, have replaced derelict buildings.

Improvements in counciwned housing have also been central to the philosophy of City Challenge, with many decrepit houses demolished to make way for new homes.

Residents have also benefited from the new Drum arts centre, where events reflect the multi-ethnic mix of local residents, and a programme to foster stronger community links.

The key to the future career prospects of the area's teenagers lies with the St George Sixth Form Centre, already used by more than 1,000 people a week.

The counciun programme organised through the Aston Ward team has existed alongside City Challenge and will now take on many of its projects in an effort to maintain the partnerships between the community and outside organisations.

Mr Phil Blundell, city challenge chief executive, said: "I am very proud of the transformation of Newtown South Aston and the co-operation between residents and businesses which made it happen. Together we have built a better environment for everyone living and working in the area.

He added: "The progress is set to continue and put Newtown South Aston well and truly on the map."

Coun Theresa Stewart, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: "The council will ensure the continuing success and regeneration of Newtown South Aston."
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 23, 1998
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