Just where is the joined-up thinking?
DEAR Editor, Sutton Coldfield town centre needs investment as it is going down the slippery slope like many other towns across the country. However, it makes me laugh when I read that Birmingham City Council has revealed its ‘multi-million plans’ for the Royal Town in its ‘Urban Centre – a framework for inclusive growth’ report discussed by cabinet to transform ten centres around the city at a cost of £2 billion.
Plans for a revamp of Sutton Coldfield town centre would cost £500 million but the city council is not committing any of its money to the project. That does not surprise me as the city council is cash strapped. Talk is cheap.
Sutton Labour representative Cllr Rob Pocock (Vesey) said: “The plan for the £500 million is about economic investment”, and added: “If commercial investors find the area attractive, they’ll make some money for themselves, for Sutton and give Sutton a stronger economy.”
Under normal circumstances I would agree with Rob Pocock wholeheartedly, but we are going through times of uncertainty. Having said that, I do admire Cllr Pocock’s style of proactivity, even though I am not a member of his political persuasion. He comes across as a doer as opposed to a talker.
I can’t see this project getting off the ground and even if the £500 million did become available from somewhere then I believe that a lot of lateral thinking is required. Leaving aside these plans and considering we have a West Midlands Combined Authority, nothing appears to be joined up or coordinated in so much we are lacking a masterplan.
We are told by Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council leader Simon Ward that we now have established a regeneration partnership pulling together local authority, transport and business and community groups to engage with all stakeholders to come up with a local plan, but I see no signs of that filtering though.
Mike Butler, Sutton Coldfield