Town Council moves forward on Town Centre regeneration

Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council has taken another step in its plan to regenerate the town centre this week.

Full Council agreed the Terms of Reference for its Town Centre Regeneration Partnership, which will bring together representatives from the local public, private and third sectors to promote the development of a new vision for the town centre. Partners will work together in creating the right conditions for investment to help create a vibrant town centre where people want to live, work, shop and spend their leisure time.

The Partnership will commission studies to address key infrastructure requirements. High on the work plan is the intention to maximise the benefits of the proposed new transport hub, ensuring that transport is fully integrated within the wider town centre. It will also respond to consultations on major planning applications and strategic planning matters affecting the town centre, and promote high quality urban design to complement the town’s existing architecture and historic character.

Councillor Simon Ward, Leader of the Town Council, commented: “In our recent “Your Views: Our Priorities” Survey, of the 711 residents who responded, more than 70% said the regeneration of the Town Centre was a high priority.

“This is a clear message from residents that the Town Council should be their voice on this issue. We are pleased to lead the way by setting up the Town Centre Regeneration Partnership which will enable key organisations, local partners and business representatives to work together in helping shape a new strategic direction to drive necessary improvements to secure the town’s future for the long term. The Town Council is taking practical steps to deliver here by bringing together the many stakeholders there are in our Royal Town.”

The Town Centre Partnership was first proposed at Full Council in June following a commissioned report which assessed the strengths and weaknesses of all aspects of the town centre and looked at its future prospects. Councillors also wanted to consider the implications of proposals including the HS2 Gateway Project for a new transport hub in the town centre.

The report showed that while Sutton Coldfield had been a very resilient town centre through challenging times for traditional bricks and mortar retailing, it wasn’t immune from national trends.

Councillors met with town centre expert Bill Grimsey in September to discuss possible strategies for regeneration. With extensive retail experience at Tesco, Iceland and Wickes, Mr Grimsey advised that while there wasn’t a single set of guidelines that would work for all towns, strong local leadership was critical.

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