Westminster Column

13th September 2016

Parliament has returned from summer recess. This Government will need to provide strong leadership as Britain begins its negotiations to leave the European Union and forge a new role in the world. We will work hard to get the best deal – one that is unique to Britain and not an ‘off the shelf’ solution. This must mean controls on the numbers of people who come to Britain from Europe - but also a positive outcome for those who wish to trade in goods and services. At the same time, we are going to make the most of the opportunities that our departure presents – getting out into the world and doing business right across the globe. Who can doubt that David Davis, the new Secretary of State for Brexit has the right skills and experience to accomplish this task.

But Brexit will not overshadow other important issues in our Royal Town.

Last Thursday evening I spoke at the 53rd Annual General Meeting of the Campaign to Protect Rural England in our Royal Sutton Town Hall. The CPRE has been one of the most persuasive and active in raising awareness of the threats to our Greenbelt.

Only last month, the group submitted evidence to the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government detailing modifications which could be made to the Birmingham Development Plan which would not upset the Plan and would see more houses built than under the current Labour Council’s plans. The CPRE modifications offer some 7,500 more homes to the City Council than their current Plan anticipates – and not one built on Sutton’s Green Belt.

At the meeting at the Royal Sutton Town Hall, I was presented with an enormous petition to Parliament to reconsider the plans to build on our Green Belt. The petition headed by Suzanne Webb and Project Fields was signed by 11408 of my constituents - sending a loud message of outrage at being wilfully ignored by the Labour City Council.

Shortly after the CPRE Meeting, I arrived at the Trinity Centre to join a meeting of the Sutton Coldfield Civic Society at the invitation of the Society’s Chairman, Mrs Elizabeth Allison. We had a great discussion about Sutton Coldfield and I spoke about our Town’s Royal status and the battle to reassert it – a great victory for the Sutton Coldfield community. The Sutton Coldfield Civic Society is a great organisation and we are all indebted to them for their hard work and expertise.

So on Monday, back in Westminster, I presented our weighty petition to the House of Commons on behalf of my constituents, setting out our opposition to Green Belt development.

My constituents can rest assured that Sutton’s Conservative Councillors and I continue to vigorously resist these proposals – at both a local and national level.