Just where is the joined-up think­ing?

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

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

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