THE Union Jack was lowered to half mast over Redditch Town Hall on Wednesday as civic leaders marked the passing of long-serving former councillor for Astwood Bank and Feckenham, Adrian Bedford-Smith, at the age of 87.
An architect by profession, Mr Bedford-Smith was one of the earliest fully qualified architects and town planners in the UK and worked on the new towns of Corby, Dawley and led the pre-designation study for Telford, and was also involved in the expansion study for Birmingham Airport.
As principal architect for the City of Birmingham he worked on the original study for the National Exhibition Centre and further projects included the Birmingham Law Courts, Birmingham Science Museum, and Birmingham School of Music.
He was also a governor at Ridgeway Middle School.
However it was as a Conservative councillor for Redditch that he made his mark in the town, serving the borough from 1971 to 1995 including a spell as chairman from 1978-79.
“He was a kind, charming, selfless gentleman with an absolute abundance of energy for the community he served,” said his daughter Rosemary Carter.
“He loved to serve and would drop everything if anyone had a problem.
“His forte was in planning and he was passionate about seeing everyone housed but he also appreciated the need to work in harmony with the environment.”
She added that her father was an avid letter writer and was taking a keen interest in plans to site 2,800 new homes at Webheath at the time of his death.
Born in Birmingham, Mr Bedford-Smith was evacuated to Hereford during the war but returned to attend George Dixon School.
A lifelong rugby and cricket fan, he played for Old Dixonians and during National Service in the Fleet Air Arm represented the Navy at rugby.
He and his wife Mary had two daughters, Rosemary and Rosalind, and three grandchildren and he died at the Alexandra Hospital on Sunday, May 15 after suffering a brain haemorrhage following a fall.
“He was passionate about the Alex. He would say ‘this hospital has got to stay, it is important to us’ and he was well looked after there, right up until the very end, he would have wanted that acknowledged,” said Rosalind.
“He was renowned for being a ‘true gentleman’ and he had a wonderful way of showing his gratitude with ‘cordial thanks’.”
Juliet Brunner, leader of of the Conservative on Redditch borough council said: “I didn’t come to the council until nine years after he retired but when I was elected he wrote to me a long and lovely letter outlining the issues affecting Redditch. He was really passionate about planning, and we will miss him greatly.”