Town Councillors welcomed town centre guru Bill Grimsey to Sutton Coldfield last Friday (14 September).
As the Town Council prepares to launch its Town Centre Regeneration Partnership, Mr Grimsey visited the Royal Town to advise Councillors about different strategies and initiatives to improve Royal Sutton Coldfield Town centre. He also took the opportunity to meet with Andrew Mitchell.
His extensive retail career includes senior roles at Tesco and four years as Chief Executive of Iceland, as well as being the mastermind behind the recovery of DIY group Wickes. He has recently published a follow up to the 2013 Grimsey Review, which reported on the state of the high street retail sector. His latest report outlines 25 recommendations to decline the crisis in the UK high street.
Mr Grimsey commented: “It is clear that we are faced with biggest challenge we have ever had with our town centres. There isn’t a single set of guidelines that will work for all towns, the solutions are local, but strong leadership is critical. Town centres such as Sutton Coldfield need to rely less on retail and instead become hubs for the local community. I welcome the work of Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council in starting to address these urgent issues and commend them for their efforts to regenerate the town.”
Leader of the Council Councillor Simon Ward said: “We know that high streets all over the country are facing huge challenges. It really is time that we had a 20 year vision for our Town Centre. The Town Council is determined to take a lead on the major strategic opportunities for our Royal Town and the Town Centre is at the heart of these. We are the level of local government closest to residents and have responsibility to drive change and debate on the strategy for our Town Centre. Bill provided us with real thought-provoking ideas that will be invaluable over the coming months.”
Andrew Mitchell MP for Sutton Coldfield commented: “It was a pleasure to welcome Bill to the Royal Town. His advice on regenerating Sutton Coldfield Town Centre will be crucial given his very significant experience. Both the Leader of the Town Council and I are determined that progress in this intractable problem will be made.”