Message from Andrew Mitchell

7th August 2020

Thank you to everyone that has been reading my weekly messages since I started my regular updates at the end of March. This week marks my twentieth message and certainly a lot has happened since my first update was published, initially in the Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer.

Incredibly sad news locally for all of us as it has been confirmed this week that the Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer will not be returning to print. We are all so grateful to Charlotte Hart, the Editor, to Nick Horner and the others who for so many years have kept us entertained and informed through this wonderful local and award winning newspaper. We will all be considering locally whether anything can be done to replace what will be a big hole in our community. In the meantime, readers can continue to read local news online via the Birmingham Live website and I plan to keep posting on Facebook and updating my website. I will also be launching a new email newsletter next month. To subscribe please follow this link: https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/bhE9MGy/AndrewMitchellNewsletter

This week alongside several constituency meetings and zoom calls, I met Donald Campbell from the Sutton Coldfield Baptist Church. It was good to have a chat about the work the church has done since the lockdown measures were first introduced. I have filmed a short clip which I will upload on Facebook over the next few days.

At the end of last week, I attended the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and Greater Birmingham MPs Digital Roundtable which was a useful opportunity to discuss support for our Royal Town’s businesses as well as local and regional economic concerns. We were also joined by Midland Heart to discuss the role of affordable housing in supporting the region’s social and economic recovery.

The Government has announced a number of measures to help first time buyers including the First Homes scheme which provides a discount to first time buyers. Authorities will be able to set specific ‘local connection restrictions’ to help local people on the housing ladder within their immediate area.

This week the Government has announced an overhaul of the country’s planning system to help deliver high-quality, sustainable homes. The changes will transform a system that has been criticised for being too slow in providing housing for families, key workers and young people and too ineffectual in obligating developers to properly fund necessary local infrastructure – such as schools, roads and GP surgeries.

But we have long experience in the Royal Town particularly as the result of John Prescott’s reforms of planning law adversely affecting our environment and open spaces in Sutton Coldfield. I will be following these plans very closely to ensure that our valued green spaces and precious green belt are not further eroded but are protected for future generations, with the reforms allowing more building on brownfield land.

Specifically, I want to see planning issues increasingly dealt with by our Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council. At the least I want their views to form a compelling part in decisions made by Birmingham City Council and by regional and national government. Our Royal Town councillors are the element of local government closest to the local community and their say is of critical importance.

The proposals are outlined here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-future The public consultation is open until the 29th of October and I would encourage those with concerns to feed directly into the consultation by emailing: planningforthefuture@communities.gov.uk

Last week marked two years until the Birmingham Commonwealth Games with an announcement that Smithfield in Birmingham city centre will become the venue for 3x3 Basketball, Beach Volleyball and Wheelchair Basketball. Keeping their promise to take sustainability and environmental concerns seriously, it was nice to see that the organisers redistributed sand from a temporary beach volleyball court which had been used in the publicity of the announcement. The sand was redistributed to help maintain bowling greens including Ley Hill, here in Sutton Coldfield. Organisers are also looking at the ways in which local businesses can benefit from the Games and ensure that locally we can capitalise on all that the Games have to offer. The Games are currently recruiting for a diverse range of jobs, further details here: https://www.birmingham2022.com/get-involved/jobs/ and while volunteer positions haven’t been announced yet, those that are interested can register here: https://www.birmingham2022.com/get-involved/volunteering/

Thank you to everyone that has emailed me over recent weeks. As your MP I am here to help. If you feel I can assist with any concerns, please do not hesitate to get in contact by emailing me on andrew.mitchell.mp@parliament.uk

Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP