Sutton MP Andrew Mitchell, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and local
council chiefs are asking local people to tell them what they want from their
town centre – to help draw up a masterplan to reshape it.
Mr Mitchell, Mr Street and Conservative councillors have launched a major
survey asking Sutton residents for their views on the future of the town’s main
shopping area.Councillors and volunteers began delivering the first of thousands of surveys tolocal homes last weekend.
“Every resident of Sutton will have an opportunity to contribute to the
consultation that I’m doing with Andy Street around their views on the future
of the town centre,” Mr Mitchell said.
West Midlands Mayor Mr Street, a former boss of John Lewis, added: “Retail is
changing and, in my opinion, for a town centre like Sutton we have got to think
less about branches of national chain stores and more about what the local
community really wants - and I believe that will be more about local services.
“Sutton Coldfield has already pioneered the idea of public services working
alongside business – it’s great that the library is now run in this way. But we
have got to think about what else local consumers really want there, and what
would make them want to go into the town.”
Mr Mitchell said new forms of housing could also play a part in a future town
“My constituents agree with me that Marks & Spencer vacating the
Gracechurch Centre is a blow for the Royal Town,” he said.
“But my recent meeting with M&G Real Estate, who run the Gracechurch,
marked the start of something exciting which will address the structural
difficulties faced by our town centre.
“It is now imperative that the work we are doing on the future of the town
centre is led by the Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council and that Birmingham
City Council allow the Town Council to lead, while providing robust support.
“Andy Street’s support as our Regional Mayor, coupled with his immense
experience in running John Lewis, is hugely advantageous for us too.”
Now both Mr Mitchell and Mr Street are backing the Town Council’s bid for a
slice of cash from the Government’s High Street Futures Fund, which provides
capital to put local ideas into action.
In a letter to James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities
& Local Government, Mr Street wrote: “For a thriving modern British town
centre, I believe in the importance of strong local leadership, and I know that
the community in Sutton Coldfield has come together behind this bid, both
from the private and the public sector.
And in a sign of confidence in Sutton, Real Estate has also enlisted
architects Chapman Taylor –renowned for its work on London’s St Pancras
International rail station – to draft conceptual plans for the future of the town
Councillor Simon Ward, Leader of Royal Sutton Town Council, said: “The Town
Council is absolutely committed to leading the regeneration of the town
“We all know that town centres need to be thought about in a different way,
to make sure that they remain at the heart of our community.
“This survey is a way of reaching out to find out what local residents actually
think and want to see.”
Member since: 4th February 2019
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Award winning poet and playwright