27 October 2023
Weekly Message to Constituents 185 - Church and State

Remembrance Sunday arrangements 

On Sunday 12 November our Royal Town will pay its respects to those who defended our freedoms and made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. 

A Service of Remembrance will take place at Holy Trinity Parish Church at 9.45am, followed by a parade to the War Memorial at King Edward Square.

At 11am civic dignitaries, the Royal British Legion, representatives of the Sea, Navy, Armed Forces Cadets, other Military Groups, Civilian Groups, Schools, Uniform Organisations, and residents will observe the national two-minute silence at the War Memorial followed by wreath laying. 

Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council is overseeing the arrangements for the wreath laying at King Edward Square working closely with the Sutton Coldfield Sea Cadets. Road closures will be in place at various key points around King Edward Square / Anchorage Rd, along High Street, Mill Street and Holland Drive between 18:00 Saturday 11 November until midday on Sunday 12 November 2023. 

A church service is also planned at All Saints Church starting at 9.45am, followed by a wreath laying service at the war memorial on Belwell Lane at 11am. 

There will be a wreath laying ceremony led by St John’s Church, Walmley at the Walmley War Memorial starting at 10.45am. 



Above: The remembrance service from last year. Never forget, always remember.

In the Constituency

Our police station 

I am keen for my constituents to see for themselves what labour are saying about policing and our police station- At least 30 West Midlands Police stations to shut - BBC News

In spite of clear evidence that everyone in Sutton Coldfield wants proper police resources based here to provide a comprehensive service, labour disdains these views and arrogantly ignores them.

See here what the Leader of the Royal Sutton Coldfield, Simon ward has to say –

‘The Town Council is extremely disappointed to read this announcement from the Police and Crime Commissioner.  Simon Foster has consistently failed to reassure residents that his plans for closure of Sutton Coldfield Police Station will do anything other than reduce their safety. The Town Council has asked for urgent clarification on what the plans for policing in Sutton Coldfield actually are.  Yet again residents are being left uncertain and in the dark - it is simply not on.’

And what the former conservative police and crime commissioner candidate says, Jay Singh Sohal:

‘For more than a decade, Labour PCCs have been closing police stations whilst blaming government for a lack of funding.  They have cited the millions their closure policy would save and the large repair bill of more than £20m to be paid were they not.  Now, miraculously, the Police Commissioner has both the money to keep stations open in Labour target seat areas and the funds to refurbish them too so they are fit for purpose.  We shouldn't be surprised that he has overlooked Aldridge, Solihull and Sutton Coldfield, as this is a party-political decision not one that is designed to enhance local policing provision and tackle high crime in our region.  Since the PCC was introduced in the West Midlands in 2022 crime has increased by 113% whilst residents are paying ever-more in local policing precept.  It's time to admit that we are not getting value from a PCC, merger into the Mayor's office would ensure we do.’

Above: The Royal Sutton Coldfield Conservative team are doing everything we can to see our Police station stay open and functioning. Joining me here were local town councillor and Birmingham City Councillor David Pears, in whose patch our police station is located, and Jay Singh Sohal who as our Police and Crime Commissioner candidate last year warned about these terrible closures. Also with us today, Town councillor and chairman of Indians for West Midlands Nitish Raut, along with concerned members of the public.

Above: I spoke to ITV news about the awful plans of the Labour PCC to close our police station


The Gracechurch Centre


I recently wrote to Sutton Coldfield BID expressing my full support in making sure our Town Centre is safe with public CCTV cameras.

Please see my letter below:


Sutton Coldfield Park and Midland Lodge


This week I have again been chasing up Birmingham City Council on the issue of the New Trust I want to see running the Park - with the Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council.


I have also been chasing up my repeated attempts to get BCC to focus on Midland Lodge in the park - picture below - which has been allowed to go to rack and ruin.

Here are extracts from the response I have finally managed to secure. Of particular note is the point the council are making about community assets. You may be sure that our team of Sutton Coldfield Conservative Birmingham City Councillors will be watching this extremely closely, as will I.


‘Officers have been working hard on finding a solution for this historic heritage asset.  The property is currently being marketed on a long leasehold basis, with offers being requested for 2nd November.  Once those are received we will reappraise and can update you accordingly.  


Whilst writing, it is also worth saying that we are undertaking a complete property asset review and resetting our strategy, for operational assets, investment assets and community assets.  This was in progress before the recent S114 notice was issued, but has been accelerated since.  We recognise that community assets fulfil an important role for the residents and businesses in their area.  Sometimes it’s appropriate for the Council to remain the economic owner of such assets, but often there are alternative solutions working with effective community groups and charities.  As part of our full property strategy review we will be establishing a strategy specifically for community assets.  Our aim is for this to lead to a more proactive approach to such assets in the future.  This is being led by our Director of Property & Investment, Philip Nell, and our Assistant Director of our Corporate Estate, David Harris.


I am chasing on Sutton Park and hope to get an answer to you as soon as possible.’

Above: Midland Lodge in Sutton Park


St Michael’s Church


I visited St Michaels Church in Boldmere today to hear more about their new plans to undertake extensive building work during the next year or so. This is in order to make the building more usable as a community hub for worship and other activities.

I discussed with Rev’d Gary Birchall and members of the St Michael’s Building Team the plans that the church has for how the new space can be used to benefit the local community.

(Thank you to Margaret for baking us a delicious cake!)


John Wilmott School

Potential into reality


I spent a most interesting and enjoyable two hours today at John Wilmott School, the victor of last year’s schools debating competition, speaking to headteacher Nicola Gould about the school’s refreshing and ambitious plans for the future.

In September 2024, John Wilmott school will change its name to Royal Sutton Coldfield School, steering the school in to a new and exciting era with a new uniform and crest (see below).


The school has readopted its old slogan, ‘potential into reality’. Nicola spoke to me about the importance of character development and students demonstrating what they stand for.  


I then spoke to student leaders (see picture below). I always enjoy meeting students across the Royal Town and hearing about their own aspirations. We then went on a thorough tour of the school and its grounds and heard more about 

(John Wilmott School’s new look from September 2024)


Eco Church Group in Sutton Coldfield


A really interesting meeting this afternoon at St James Church centre Mere Green with Sutton Coldfield Eco Church Group under the leadership of John Heywood. They were interested in discussing my comments in the House of Commons last week on UN Sustainable Development Goals - https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/009f080f-355a-4749-a342-fa27f1dcc695?in=14:30:21


We talked about the battle against climate change, internationally, nationally and locally.

Above: With the Sutton Eco Church 

Above: Seeking divine assistance !

In the Commons

As the crisis in the Middle East continues, there is deep anxiety across many communities and faiths about these events. Nationally, there has been an increase in reported antisemitism and islamophobia. Earlier this week I met with the regional manager of the Jewish Leadership Council, Marc Levy, and this evening I will be meeting with community leaders from the Sutton Coldfield Islamic Centre.

Wherever you stand on what is happening in the Middle East at this time, the humanitarian plight of innocent civilians in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel calls on our humanitarian conscience. It is my job as the humanitarian minister in the government to ensure Britain plays its part in doing everything we can to relieve this suffering.

I won’t repeat here what has been widely reported nationally but I know there is very great concern - not least from my meetings today - in Sutton Coldfield.

Suffice to say we are steadily increasing our humanitarian support and working to achieve access with our trusted partners. As the PM said on Wednesday, we believe there must be pauses for humanitarian access into Gaza.


Foreign office questions

As part of my parliamentary duties, I answered questions on Tuesday on the ongoing Middle East Crisis and on Sudan. You can watch the debate here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/9db95a96-3d7c-4727-9a2b-6239b728ddcd

I also supported the Prime Minister’s statement on Israel and Gaza, which you can watch here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/0cf3c1f9-a81f-44af-bc70-1f92dc6260a4?in=12:01:28

Further Information

Further information

Remembrance Day

Sunday 12 November: Service of Remembrance will take place at Holy Trinity Parish Church at 9.45am, followed by a parade to the War Memorial at King Edward Square.   

At 11am the national two-minute silence will be observed at the War Memorial followed by wreath laying. 

Road closures will be in place at various key points around King Edward Square / Anchorage Rd, along High Street, Mill Street and Holland Drive between 18:00 Saturday 11 November until midday on Sunday 12 November 2023. 

Service at All Saints Church starting at 9.45am, followed by a wreath laying service at the war memorial on Belwell Lane at 11am. 

There will be a wreath laying ceremony led by St John’s Church, Walmley at the Walmley War Memorial starting at 10.45am. 

Halloween pop-up cinema

A free pop-up outdoor cinema is set to open in Sutton Coldfield in the run-up to Halloween with a host of family-friendly scary films.

You can see what’s on, here: https://www.visitroyalsuttoncoldfield.co.uk/event/outdoor-halloween-cinema/

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/


MHRC Locations

Please see below the visits scheduled for the week commencing 30th October 2023 of the BCC Mobile Household Recycling Centre.

·       Fri 03/11/2023, Knighton Drive B74 4QP, 07:00 - 12:30 Sutton Four Oaks


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  


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