Council bosses and business leaders from the Black Country will try to drum up billions of pounds of investment under the banner of ‘Greater Birmingham’ this week.
They will travel to the luxury French Riviera resort town of Cannes to try and win billions of pounds in funding from the world’s biggest investors event, MIPIM.
The Midlands will have one of the biggest exhibitions with a 200 square metre pavilion at the event with £14 billion worth of projects.
On the website for the Midlands delegation it described Birmingham, the Black Country and Solihull as ‘Greater Birmingham’.
But it appears to have been removed after an approach by the Express & Star.
The term ‘Greater Birmingham’ has long been controversial in the Black Country which fears its identity and heritage will be damaged by the blanket name.
It was a central dispute during the creation of the West Midlands Combined Authority – the new layer of local government that covers the Black Country, Birmingham, Solihull, and Coventry.
Some business leaders in the second city had called for it to be named ‘Greater Birmingham’ saying it would be easier for foreign investors to locate.
Tim Johnson, Wolverhampton council’s strategic director of place, is representing the city and Black Country authorities within the Greater Birmingham team at MIPIM this week.
He said: “For the first time 10 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) across the wider Midlands area are collaborating in a single UK Midlands approach, with full backing from the UK government.
“The Greater Birmingham team are not representing the West Midlands Combined Authority. Coventry and Warwickshire, while part of the UK Midlands delegation, are at MIPIM in their own rights.
“The Greater Birmingham approach has been successfully adopted for the last three years at MIPIM and there has been a positive reaction from the target audience of global investors and developers.”
But Walsall Council’s Conservative opposition leader councillor Mike Bird said: “We thought the name Greater Birmingham was long dead. But it seems it has reared its ugly head again. We don’t want it.”Subscribe to our Newsletter