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Andrew Mitchell MP to chair meeting on future of Sutton Coldfield Town Centre in September

Andrew Mitchell MP will be chairing a meeting on the future of the Town Centre on Friday 7th September at 10:00 in Sutton Town Hall. The meeting will hear from a panel of influential people and there will be an opportunity for everyone who has a stake in the Town Centre to put forward their ideas and ask questions. The meeting will bring together the businesses, elected representatives and members of the public who want to influence the future of the Town Centre.

Despite the generally difficult economic climate, Sutton Coldfield has been found to be weathering these conditions well with new investment from both existing and new retailers boosting the confidence of local businesses and people.

Andrew Mitchell MP for Sutton Coldfield, has underlined evidence of the town’s resilience and believes our area is set for growth. He said: “Economic prospects in Sutton Coldfield are currently the best they have been for five years and our employment figures are also encouraging, an indication that the labour market is stabilising.”

“In January, Sutton Coldfield was listed eighth in the top 20 places to live and bring up children in the UK, and Sutton town centre has become a Business Improvement District – so there is certainly confidence in our town.”

This cautious optimism for the town is shared by local businesses. At The Mall Sutton Coldfield, a number of new lettings, including Jones the Bootmaker , Paperchase, a new concept Barclays Bank and a doubling of the size of the H & M fashion store illustrates consumer and retailer confidence, helping to ensure the town centre remains a vibrant place to live, visit and shop.

Andy Jackson, Centre Manager at The Mall Sutton Coldfield believes that the creation of a strong centre is vital to the success of the town: “We believe that we are at the heart of the town. Our location in the community brings people together, provides essential services and creates investment in Sutton Coldfield and this is what we’re constantly building upon.”

As those familiar with the Government’s ‘High Street Champion’, Mary Portas, will know , Jackson’s aim to ensure The Mall Sutton Coldfield is a community facility as well as a shopping centre , is in-line with the intentions of local authorities. The shared view is focused on re-positioning traditional high streets as both the physical town centre and as the local community hub.

Andrew Mitchell MP, said: “As Sutton’s MP making further progress on Sutton Coldfield’s town centre regeneration is one of my key priorities and retail is a natural part of this.”

At the nearby Brassington Avenue site behind The Mall there are proposals to develop the space to include a medium-sized supermarket with street level parking. Whilst the scheme would strengthen Sutton Coldfield as a retail destination, it is disappointing to note that it does not provide better pedestrian links with the Mall to ensure the town centre does not become disjointed. As planned, the development stands in relative isolation to the rest of the retail within Sutton Coldfield.

As Sutton Coldfield sees the early signs of recovery, it is hoped that the local economy and stakeholders will respond, drawing upon the town’s strengthening position and building upon this inherent momentum that many believe is unique to the town.

The panellists, who will speak and answer questions, will be chaired by Andrew Mitchell MP and will include the Head of the Mall Group Ken Ford, the Director for Planning and Regeneration in Birmingham, Waheed Nazir, Head of Sutton Coldfield Town Centre BID Andrew Burley and Councillors Anne Underwood & Margaret Waddington.

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