1 March 2024
Weekly Message to Constituents 203 - Excellent news for our Royal Cinema
In the Constituency

The Royal Cinema

Above: Mayor Andy Street and I with Paul, James and Deborah from PDJ

Today in a moment of pure joy I stepped inside our Town Cinema to see for myself the work and investment which has already started on this much-loved landmark - and which will transform it into a fabulous modern film entertainment centre.

I was joined by our Regional Mayor Andy Street visiting and working in the Royal Town.

Above: Very soon to be renovated, with luxury seats and new carpet!

This longed-for result is now before us.

When it first opened, our cinema was considered such a marvel that it featured in architectural magazines. When PDJ is finished with its restoration, I think it will once again have the same ‘wow’ factor.

Above: meeting the new owner James Jervis (director of PDJ Management) 



Save our services

While Birmingham City Council's financial troubles are looming over the Royal Town, your team of dedicated councillors are continuing to fight to protect our services and hold the administration to account.

That is why I am once again attaching Cllr David Pears', and Cllr Ken Wood's petitions to protect both Sutton Library and Walmley Library from closure:



Our Libraries, however, are not the only services threatened, with Birmingham City Council budgets under review, the historic Clifton Road Youth Centre is also under threat of closure. That is why I have attached Cllr David Pear's petition to protect our youth services:


Today I welcomed our brilliant West Midlands Mayor Andy Street to my Royal Town office. We held a detailed discussion on how to help Sutton Coldfield avoid the worst effects of the financial meltdown in Birmingham City Council.

I also received the below letter from Simon Hoare MP, minister for Local Government, on the support that the government is providing to Birmingham City Council during this exceptional and deeply troubling time.




The Park

During the course of my meeting with the Chief Commissioner I emphasised that the treatment and management of our Park by Birmingham City Council has been deeply sub optimal. 

I have been working on the plan I set out in detail in Message no. 199 for the Park very closely with Simon Ward and our Royal Town Council (https://www.andrew-mitchell-mp.co.uk/news/weekly-message-constituents-199-fighting-future-our-cherished-park)

Below is the excellent letter which we have sent to the Chief Commissioner about the future of our Park and some helpful further comments from Simon Ward, the Leader of the Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council:-

‘I have this week written to the Chief Commissioner at Birmingham City Council Max Caller regarding the future of our Park.  Residents will be aware that the Town Council has been working over recent years to deliver a long-term sustainable plan for the Park.  Under the stewardship of BCC the park continues to decline daily - this cannot be allowed to continue.  

The Town Council has engaged experts to review the condition and governance of the Park. We have set out a clear route forward with the establishment of a trust that will enable access to both the funding and expertise the park so desperately needs. The BCC response to this has been slow and dysfunctional - I am pleased to report that working closely with Andrew we have opened a more constructive dialogue with Max Caller. Now we have this positive engagement we will push forward and hope to be able to report progress over coming weeks.’

-        Simon Ward, Leader of Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council



Full steam ahead for rail revolution in Sutton Coldfield

This week I want to tell you about exciting developments that could bring about a revolution in rail travel in our town – by reopening the Sutton Park Line for passengers.

Our brilliant West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has made no secret of his ambition to reopen this line, which last carried passengers in January 1965, before closing due to the Beeching cuts.

It would mean a valuable new way for local people to get around, with new stations being built in Streetly, the town centre, at Reddicap and Walmley. Part of Andy’s 2024 transport plan for the region, the line would at one end continue through Aldridge to Wolverhampton, and at the other through Castle Bromwich to become a new cross-city line into Birmingham.

It would connect local people much better to opportunities, help ease congestion on the roads and provide a cleaner, greener ways of getting about.

This ambitious idea would be a huge investment in transport in Sutton Coldfield but is much more than just a pipedream – for two reasons.

Firstly, Andy has a track record of delivering on plans. There are already three new stations being built on this line – at Darlaston, Willenhall and Aldridge – and more new stations are being built in south Birmingham, where a similar line has been brought back into use. There are even plans that could see trains run direct to London from the new Aldridge station. We know how to make these plans happen, and I’ve every confidence that Sutton could be one of the next big rail projects in the region.

Secondly, and most importantly, funding. This week saw the Government hand over the first big payment towards the Midlands rail Hub – a whopping £1.75billion – and this is the pot of money which will be used to unblock the Sutton Park Line.

Andy Street has already brought about a huge improvement in public transport in our region, now Sutton Coldfield is set to benefit.



Water polo star Emily wins the Burt Noone Trophy

A talented Fairfax Academy water polo player has won a coveted trophy – which is handed to sport stars of the future in memory of one of the school’s greatest athletes.

Emily Hewston, who has been playing water polo for eight years, was presented with the Burt Noone Trophy at Fairfax’s Celebration Evening on January 11, in recognition of her outstanding dedication to the sport. The Trophy is awarded annually, in memory of power boat racing champion Burt Noone, a former student who died tragically in 1995.

This year it was awarded by Burt’s mother, the much-loved an highly respected Kay Noone.

Emily said: “I wasn’t expecting an award at all, so it was a real surprise when my name was called out!”

A member of Solihull Water Polo Club, Emily, trains for eight hours a week after school, and is also a representative on the sport’s West Midlands youth panel, which works to encourage other young people to take up water polo.

Her skills have also seen her called up to represent her country at international level.

Kay said Emily’s dedication to the sport made her a fitting recipient of the trophy.

Burt, who was posthumously awarded the title of British Power Boat Champion after his tragic death in an accident while competing in 1995, embodied that determination to succeed. 

For the full story, click here: https://suttonschoollife.co.uk/2024/02/27/fairfax-water-polo-star-emily-wins-the-burt-noone-trophy/



Support your local Arts Theatre! Did you know we had an Arts Theatre located in the heart of the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield? Run by volunteers since 1946, initially performing at the Town Hall until 1997 when it moved to its new home in South Parade, Sutton Coldfield Arts Theatre is renowned for high-quality, award-winning productions and this season is no different. I have attended many events and open days, which I always enjoy, and will continue to support one of Sutton's magnificent gems.

From the 14th to the 23rd of March, Teapots and Superglue is showing, it is a new play involving 7 wonderful characters, an entertaining story about people and life… audiences are in for a treat. I’ve provided a link to their website to view WhatsOn to see the extraordinary variety of productions available and details of how to become a member.https://www.suttonartstheatre.co.uk/  



Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School in the National Reading Champs Quiz

Fantastic to see Bishop Vesey's Grammar School in my constituency in the regional heats of the National Reading Champions Quiz! 

This quiz is an initiative from the National Literacy Trust, supported by ALCS (the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society). The quiz aims to build a love of reading and celebrate reading for pleasure in schools across the country. 

I am keeping my fingers crossed and wish BVGS the very best of luck! #NRCQuiz24



My regular constituency surgeries

I also held my regular advice session today in Sutton Coldfield. My main duty is to try to help all of my constituents who approach me seeking advice and support.

In the Commons

I am very much looking forward to welcoming our Royal Town Mayor and his wife, Tony and Pamela Briggs to the House of Commons on Wednesday to attend Prime Ministers Questions and the Budget Statement. I will be thanking both Tony and Pamela for their wonderful service to our Town during their mayoral year.  


Israel and Gaza

On Tuesday I made a statement to the House of Commons, proving an update on Israel and Gaza, and answered 64 questions from colleagues across the House.

If you would like to watch the debate you can do so here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/9e2efd2e-148b-444a-91ea-790f7d4cb123?in=13:17:37




On Wednesday I gave a statement to the House on Ukraine, which was followed by 14 questions from colleagues across the House.

Two years ago, Putin thought his tanks would roll easily into Kyiv and Ukraine would fall within days. He did not expect Ukraine’s brave resistance, he did not expect his military to let him down so badly, and he did not expect the west to stand so firmly in support of Ukraine, with unprecedented sanctions and massive aid to help Ukraine to resist.

You can watch the full debate here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/85a785f0-7b1a-4770-9733-112a090d3d6d?in=13:24:54



Send My Friend to School 

Yesterday I attended an event hosted by the ‘Send My Friend to School’ Coalition, in collaboration with the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Global Education.

When I have meetings with faith leaders across the Royal Town and when discussing my role as the humanitarian minister, the subject of girls’ education globally is often mentioned. It is an important cause for many of us; educating girls is one of the top priorities under the British Government’s international development strategy—indeed, it is the way to change the world.

This event centred around Education in Emergencies, with ‘Send my Friend to School’ spotlighting the life-saving and life-protection nature of education during crisis and how the government can take action to support it.



Assisted Dying Reform

As many of you know, I have long been an advocate for assisted dying reform. The debate surrounding this topic has recently reignited, and campaigners continue to push for a Parliamentary debate and a free vote on the subject.

The House of Lords has already voted for this - with appropriate safeguards - and Scotland may well be next. I hope that early in the next Parliament MPs will be able to express a view in principle on this issue of conscience.

This week, I helped with an article on assisted dying from the Express, which you can read here:


Further Information

Update from West Midlands Trains - Easter Engineering Works

This year the Easter weekend runs from Friday 29 March (Good Friday) to Monday 1 April (Easter Monday).

During this period Network Rail will be carrying out essential upgrades to railway infrastructure which will impact both London Northwestern Railway and West Midlands Railway services.

The primary impacts on the West Midlands Trains network are:

·       No trains will operate to/from London Euston between March 29-April 1 inclusive

·       No trains will operate between Northampton and Milton Keynes on March 30 or March 31 (Easter Sunday)

·       No trains will operate between Watford Junction and St Albans Abbey (Abbey Line) between March 29-April 1 inclusive

·       No trains will operate between Lichfield Trent Valley and Birmingham New Street (Cross City Line) between April 2-April 5 inclusive

More information on these works and travel advice for customers is available on the following dedicated web pages:

London Northwestern Railway: www.lnr.uk/easter

West Midlands Railway: www.wmr.uk/easter


Sepsis Savvy Walk, Sutton Park 16th March

The Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust are backing the Sepsis Savvy Walk, run by The UK Sepsis Trust, a national charity that was founded in Sutton Coldfield by a consultant from Good Hope Hospital.

The Walk is being held in Sutton Park on 16th March, and preparations are underway.

Registration is now open, and you can register here: https://t.co/kMFAn7qJwQ


Coffee Morning, St Columba’s Church Hall:


MMR immunisation and measles awareness

Measles is circulating in the West Midlands, and the MMR vaccination provides the best protection against measles.

Please be aware of measles symptoms: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/measles/

If you think you or your child may have measles, contact your GP practice but do not visit unless instructed, as measles can spread to others easily, and 1 in 15 children can develop serious complications, such as meningitis and blindness.

For protection against measles, contact your GP practice to get your MMR immunisations.

Learn more: https://bit.ly/46QPPn1


Mobile Household Recycling Centre Locations

Please see below the visits scheduled for the week commencing 4th March of the BCC Mobile Household Recycling Centre.

·       Tue 05/03/2024, Maney Hill Road B72 1JX, 07:00 - 12:30 Sutton Wylde Green

·       Fri 08/03/2024, Le More B74 2XY, 07:00 - 12:30 Sutton Four Oaks