13 October 2023
Weekly Message to Constituents 183 - Lull before the storm, when parliament returns next week. A truly terrible week internationally.
In the Constituency

Progress on keeping our Town Centre safe 

This week we have seen progress on the bringing to justice of those who have been targeting school children in the Town centre. As the investigation continues, two teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of robbery, as reported in the Birmingham Mail on Monday -Two teens arrested following 'nine robberies targeting Sutton Coldfield school children' - Birmingham Live (birminghammail.co.uk)

West Midlands police are requesting more people to come forward with information. Anyone with information that could help the investigation is urged to call us on 101 quoting 20/853779/23. Alternatively people can leave information anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers, the independent charity.


Our Police Station

I have received letters this week from local residents strongly supporting the campaign which I and all your Conservative councillors have been waging to save our Town Police Station and oppose the Labour police and crime commissioner’s proposal to close it.

The Leader of the Town Council Simon Ward and I recently met with the newly arrived Chief Constable to put our case on this and to discuss local policing and effectiveness. Further work is continuing on this.

Please see the letter below from Cllr Simon Ward to the police and crime commissioner addressing these concerns in more detail:


Empire Cinema


A quick update about our cherished former Empire Cinema: Tony Whitehead, representing Future of Cinema in Sutton Coldfield (FoCiS) group, was invited to look around the building at short notice by a potential not-for-profit buyer. I’m pleased to report that the long-hidden interior is in pretty good shape all things considered, as the accompanying photographs testify. I should also emphasise that many hurdles lie ahead, but myself, FoCiS and other Town bodies will continue to work strenuously towards a positive outcome for the Town.



As you may recall from my message last week, I attended the official launch of the Peddimore Amazon site with Cllr Ken Wood and Cllr David Barrie. This huge new development will provide around 2,000 new and quality jobs and is an investment within the Royal Town of £550 million, and I am pleased to share that all of these jobs are seeing a pay increase from 15th October and further increase in April 2024.


Birmingham City Council 

The worrying situation with Birmingham City Council administration continues however our excellent Royal Town Conservative councillors continue to hold Birmingham City Council to account.

Here is an update on the situation from BCC and Royal Town councillor Ewan Mackey who is the deputy leader of the Tories on the Council:

‘Chaos still reigns at beleaguered Birmingham City Council, as councillors met again this week to discuss a damning report from external auditors. The report, made under rarely used statutory powers reserved for the most serious of cases, highlights serious failings in political leadership which has cost taxpayers hundreds of millions and put services and assets at risk. The report highlighted how 6 months of inaction from the Labour Administration had added an extra £84m to the equal pay bill, something Cllr Pocock of Sutton Vesey shockingly stated was a ‘good investment’!

Within the report were highly concerning findings about the political leadership's treatment of senior officers, which paints a picture of a complete breakdown in relationships. This included excluding them from key meetings, making complaints about their conduct when they were performing their statutory duties, seeking to undermine their professional judgement, and ignoring their advice (which was subsequently shown to be correct).

Sadly, in what should have been a moment of humility and reflection by the Labour Leader, he chose to respond to the report by appearing to question the integrity of the external auditors. Whilst his labour colleagues could have chosen to demonstrate that they at least understood the seriousness of the situation, they instead voted to cut short the meeting and avoid debate and scrutiny. This is no way to run a city; the sooner there is a change, the better.’

Councillor Mackey also spoke in the City Council meeting yesterday, underlining the inadequacies of the Labour run Birmingham City Council and speaking up for Sutton Coldfield residents, which you can watch here:  https://birmingham.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/815130/start_time/7415000?force_language_code=en_GB


Sutton Coldfield Choral Society

This week the Sutton Coldfield Choral Society did me the great honour of asking me to become their president following the sad death of Jim Whorwood last year. I am delighted to accept as their member of parliament.


The UK’s first-ever disability-friendly putting green

A Sutton Coldfield golfing charity is to build the UK’s first disability-friendly putting green – thanks to support from the Royal Town’s historic charitable trust.

Walmley Golf Foundation Community Interest Company is set to install the artificial short game area and putting green, which will be suitable for mobility equipment, after receiving a grant for £44,500 from Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust (SCCT), which has been supporting good causes in the area for centuries.

The specially-designed green – believed to be the first of its kind on the country – will be installed at Walmley Golf Club, where members first set up the foundation in 2017 with the aim of making golf more relevant and accessible to those within Sutton Coldfield.  

Since then, the Foundation has provided and funded golf sessions for in excess of 1000 participants from more than 40 organisations. The new green represents a major step forward in its work, and could be copied at golf clubs across the country.

Walmley Golf Foundation CIC Chairwoman Lesley Robbins said: “We are very excited about the new short game area, which will potentially make golf so much more accessible for so many local people, simply by giving them access to a good quality green and coaching support.

“This grant from SCCT will provide substantial help in getting the artificial putting green and short game area put in place and allow more access to people with mobility issues such as paraplegics, amputees, stroke victims, wheelchairs users and people using walking aids.  We believe that golf should be inclusive to all as an activity.”

The CIC is now working closely with Hampshire-based Huxley Golf, who will be designing, supplying and installing the green, which will measure 30ft x 40ft and will be accessed by a newly surfaced pathway from the club house, which has been paid for by Walmley Golf Club.  

SCCT Chief Executive Tina Swani, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this brilliant project, which will make golf accessible to so many people across the area. 

“Two of our key aims as a Trust are to promote active lifestyles in the area, and to reach out and support those who may be isolated or unable to access facilities. Walmley Golf Foundation CIC clearly shares these ambitions, and has done so much work since it was founded in 2017 to introduce people to the joys of golf. We’re very happy to help them achieve the next chapter in their story.”

For the full story, click here:



Young cricket star from Plantsbrook called up to the England Under 17s squad

It is always a pleasure to learn about our talented young people here in the Royal Town.

Connie, from Plantsbrook school, has been called up to the England Under 17s squad after a tough selection process which started at the beginning of 2023. She has certainly done Sutton Coldfield proud. Well done Connie!

You can read more about Connie’s story here:



Sutton Coldfield Civic Society


My friend and colleague Andy Street, our West Midlands Mayor with whom I work very closely on many aspects of life in our Town, will be addressing the Sutton Coldfield Civic Society on Thursday 9th. November. at 7.30pm at the Trinity Centre, Church Hill, Mill Street, Sutton Coldfield, B72 1TF.  on "The Future of Sutton Coldfield: Planning, Conservation & Transportation."  

There is an open invitation and non-members of the Society pay a guest fee of £4. We expect this to be a signature event!


Remember to get your vaccinations


Following my two vaccinations at the Town Hall last Friday, our Royal Town senior GP, Rahul Dubb, asked me to share the below link which allows you to book in:


Teams will be delivering vaccinations all through next week.

You can also check if you are eligible for the COVID booster and flu jab and get more information from the above link.

In the Commons

Parliament is in conference recess this week but, we all return to Westminster on Monday. However, this week, as well as my constituency work throughout Sutton Coldfield, my ministerial work continues.

I was in Marrakesh this week for the World Bank annual meeting, where the British ambassador to Morocco is a former resident of the Royal Town- again a local link to a global event!

Dialogue was dominated by the climate crisis and the SDGs, along with the devastating terrorist attacks in Israel. 

Britain is a leading force within the World Bank, not last ensuring that British taxpayers money is very well spent- a point I made to President Ajay Banga, when we met this week.



I write this at the end of a dark and difficult week. Whatever your politics, whatever the historic rights and wrongs of the Israel-Palestine conflict, which ever faith you follow, there can be no justification for the deliberate mass murder of civilians. Israel absolutely has a right – a responsibility- to protect its citizens and root out the terrorists in Gaza.

Israel’s retaliation in Gaza, though targeted at military infrastructure, has already resulted in many civilian casualties on both sides. The UK is ready to play our part in the humanitarian response.

The situation is fast moving and fluid, but we are making preparations to respond to the humanitarian needs as they arise. 


Tamworth by-election

 Members of the Conservative family in Sutton Coldfield have been assiduous in supporting the Tamworth team in the important by-election coming up soon. 

With other Conservatives from the Royal Town, I campaigned last weekend for our brilliant conservative candidate Andrew Cooper:

Further Information



SATURDAY 14th OCTOBER 2023 at 7.30pm.

TICKETS are £15 and available on the door.

"We're proudly anticipating our next local appearance as it will be the opening concert in the latest season of events staged in the inspirational surroundings of the 750 year old Holy Trinity Parish Church in the heart of Sutton Coldfield. The Choir, our Soloists and Boy Band all look forward to giving you a most entertaining evening."

October 2023 Changes to bus services

TfWM has written to me to let me know that there will be a small number of bus changes from 29th October 2023.  

Out of 394 total services, there will be changes to approximately 32 services which are summarised in the attached table.  

Detailed information on all of the service changes, including alternative routes where possible, can be found at https://www.tfwm.org.uk/plan-your-journey/ways-to-travel/buses-in-the-west-midlands/upcoming-bus-service-changes/

UPDATE: Royal Sutton Coldfield Conservative Association Annual Dinner 2023

We are fast approaching Sutton Coldfield Conservative Association Annual Dinner 2023 and have just a few spaces remaining!

Our speaker this year is the infamous, lively and passionate Rt Hon Johnny Mercer MP, Minister of State for Veterans Affairs, who will be sure to provide us all with a phenomenally entertaining talk! You may have heard a fantastic preview from him at the Conservative Party Conference earlier this week!

Please do join us at 7pm on Friday 3rd November 2023 at Moor Hall Hotel for a wonderful three course dinner and a fantastic evening with local Conservative friends, supporters and neighbours.

Tickets are £50 each, and tables of 10 can be purchased for £500.

We have already sold the majority of tables, so please reserve your place quickly to avoid disappointment.

Tickets can be reserved by emailing ckhorrocks@yahoo.co.uk

MHRC Locations

Please see below the visits scheduled for the week commencing 16th October 2023 of the BCC Mobile Household Recycling Centre.

·       Thu 19/10/2023, Calder Drive B76 1GG, 07:00 - 12:30, Sutton Walmley & Minworth

·       Fri 20/10/2023, Pilkington Avenue B72 1LA, 07:00 - 12:30, Sutton Wylde Green


Neighbourhood Development and Support Unit

I have received the latest update from the NDSU in relation to External Funding. Please see for any opportunities that may be available to you and your organisation.

Funding and capacity building support for community groups and organisations in Birmingham | Birmingham City Council


Your Town Hall requires donations to protect our heritage building for future use.

We are launching an APPEAL FOR £200k in order to continue to support Your Town Hall and protect it for the future community use, value and enjoyment. 

In this present situation of rising material prices, heating bills and social costs, why should YOU consider supporting your town hall? Because it is a precious historical building, an asset to the area, and the Trust needs support to keep it functioning. 

How to Support:

We are asking you to be as generous as you can, to enable the Town Hall to meet its present commitments. We are relying on your support. Every little helps ! 

Thank you! 

From all of the team at Sutton Coldfield Community Town Hall Trust and the trustees.

Donate with PayPal Giving Fund

You can read and subscribe to the Town Hall’s newsletter here: The Town Hall Presents: Summer is Here! (mailchi.mp)

UK Parliament Week

This year UK Parliament Week (UKPW) is taking place from 6-12 November.

Sign up for your free kit and explore @UKParliament and how to get involved on the issues that matter to you. 

UKPW is a great way to find out about UK Parliament and get a better understanding of the crucial work Parliament does.

#UKPW ukparliamentweek.org