Clive Dutton (1953-2015)

Tuesday 9 June 2015

The NLA is saddened to learn of the death of Clive Dutton (1953-2015), a member of NLA’s New London Sounding board and from 2009 to 2013 Director of Regeneration at LB Newham.

Clive was a man of huge energy, passion and boyish enthusiasm. His vision and appetite for change brings to mind Daniel Burnham’s quotation: “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood.” Clive liked nothing more than standing in front of an audience, armed with a powerpoint of outrageous images, and stirring its blood with plans for improving places and people’s lives. It is apposite that when he was Director of Planning at Birmingham City Council his strategy was christened the “Big City Plan”. 

Clive started work in 1978 as a planning assistant in Montgomeryshire District Council, moving up through the ranks at various local authority planning departments over the years. He spent a brief period in the private sector as Director of Regeneration at Gallagher Estates. It was while at Gallaghers that he wrote a report for the Government in Northern Ireland as a response to the economic and regeneration proposals set out in the Good Friday Agreement. The Dutton Report, published in June 2004, focused on the Gaeltacht Quarter of Belfast, one of the most deprived communities in Northern Ireland, and proposed using the Irish language and culture as the keys to its regeneration.

He took over as Head of Planning at Birmingham in 2005. The city boasted the largest local authority planning and development department in the UK, covering planning, regeneration, economic development, major projects, architecture, urban design, building consultancy, highways and transportation, with a development portfolio of £20 billion. Such was the ambition that, in the depths of the recession, Clive flew to China with the idea of setting up a Bank of Birmingham funded in the Far East with the second city’s enormous land holdings as collateral.

Clive’s legacies included the Big City Plan, launched in September 2010, setting out the detailed framework for radical change to the City Centre over the next 30 years; the £600 million New Street station redevelopment where the first half of the new station concourse opened in 2013 and work is now under way to develop the old station, and the striking £193 million Library of Birmingham designed by Dutch architects mecanoo.

In 2009 he moved to Newham, the principal host borough for the Olympics. There he was responsible for the Metropolitan Stratford Masterplan, the regeneration of the Royal Docks and Canning Town as well as the borough’s Core Strategy and Local Development Framework.

He set up his own consultancy in 2013 providing high level advice to Governments, major developers and land owners.  Clive was called back to Northern Ireland to develop an Action Plan for the regeneration of west Belfast; he worked on a 2030 Vision for Dubai, in Nigeria and Ghana, as well as the International Quarter in Stratford for Lend Lease. 

He also found time to set up, with Megan Piper, The Line sculpture trail along the River Lea in East London as well as acting as an advisor to the Kids Company where he supported chief executive Camila Batmanghelidjh in the search for affordable properties and workspace.

Clive was awarded an OBE for services to urban regeneration in 1998.

He will be greatly missed.

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