Working with the regional development agency Advantage West Midlands, the Assembly is planning to take a road show into rural areas within the next six months, to explain its statutory role as the body that draws up region-wide planning, transport and housing policy.
Key areas to be targeted are those areas outside of Birmingham, such as Ross-on-Wye, Worcester, Stoke and Stafford, which, according to Assembly head of communications Ian Oliver, perhaps do not even consider themselves as part of the West Midlands.
He said: ‘I think that maybe we have not done enough to tell people outside of Birmingham who we are and what we can do for them. We also need to get out into the rural areas and get away from the negative and incorrect perception that the region is a predominantly urban area.’
The road show is the latest effort by the body to break down the traditional image of the region as an industrial and urban wasteland, comprising only Birmingham and the Black Country, in the hope of encouraging more investment to the area.
The Assembly’s Brussels office has also joined forces with Birmingham Forward, the city’s not-for-profit lobbying group, to promote the business case for the West Midlands area in Europe (PRWeek, 20 June).
The West Midlands Re-gional Assembly is an unelected body which co-ordinates and represents lobbying activities of the region’s local authorities, business sector representatives, NGOs and voluntary trusts.
In particular the Assembly is lobbying the Government on its integrated transport strategy for the region, which includes Warwick Castle, to be published later this year and which the Assembly will have a role in implementing.