Westminster Column

1st November 2017

As Parliament rises next week I thought it would be a good time to give my constituents a round-up on current matters relating to the Royal Town.

I was pleased that my plans to revitalise Royal Sutton Cottage Hospital made headline news in the Sutton Observer last week. Currently, it serves largely as office space for the NHS but I would like to see it brought back to far more productive use for the benefit of local people – similar to when I was first your Member of Parliament, albeit then in outdated mixed sex wards.

Dame Julie Moore who now leads our local secondary health services has been very supportive. In addition, I have arranged to meet with nurses who had previously worked at the Cottage Hospital for 30 years where I hope to learn more about the services that could potentially be provided at the Cottage Hospital in the 21st century.

I am also delighted to report that progress is being made on all fronts in respect of our town hall.

Parents will be pleased to know that I arranged for the Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, to visit the Royal Town where he met directly with Sutton’s Headteachers. At the top of the agenda was school funding but issues such as mental health and the reliability of the grading system were also discussed. I was pleased that both sides found it a valuable and constructive forum.

On other fronts – the Boundary Commission for England, the body established to review boundaries of local government areas in England, has thankfully agreed to leave our boundary alone. It has, however, refused so far to rename our constituency “Royal Sutton Coldfield”. To be clear, Sutton Coldfield was first granted its Royal status in 1528. Since then it has been a Royal Town – a fact that was reiterated by the Government in 2014. I will continue to make the case for a name change to reflect our royal status and I would urge my constituents to comment on the proposals via the following website: https://www.bce2018.org.uk/

This year in addition to attending the Remembrance Day Parade & Service in Sutton Coldfield, I will also be travelling to France to mark the Centenary of the Battle of Cambrai with 1 Royal Tank Regiment, which I served in the 1970s. This will be a special occasion which I am proud to attend.

I have also gone online to vote in support of Sutton Park’s bid for the Fields in Trust UK’s Best Park. Sutton Park is one our town’s central attractions and its history dates back over 6,000 years. With 2,400 acres of National Nature Reserve equipped with a Donkey sanctuary; playgrounds and several lakes which entertains thousands of anglers every year – it is far too easy to lose track of time! In my view there is no park in Britain more worthy of such a prestigious award.