3 May 2024
Weekly Message to Constituents 212 - Fighting for answers on BESS Battery Farm proposals at Minworth
In the Constituency

I have recently met with some of my constituents who are very concerned about the proposition that a battery farm could be built on Peddimore.

I am working with Minworth’s team of councillors including Cllr Ken Wood, who represents Minworth on Birmingham City Council, to address residents’ concerns and get answers on this proposed development.

Town Council Cllr John Cooper summed up the situation when he said: “Andrew and I met with representatives of Minworth and Wishaw residents to hear about the proposals being developed by REPD to construct a Battery Energy Storage System on Greenfield Land recently reclassified as Brownfield by Birmingham City Council and located behind the Peddimore development.

“There is a great resistance from residents against such a development by this company, who do not have a fully developed plan and remain unable to answer even the most basic questions relating to residents safety.

Neighbouring properties are only around 350 metres from the proposed development.”

Obviously, there is no actual planning application as yet for such the project but you may rest assured that I and your councillors will be protecting our interests if any application goes ahead.


Above: With Cllr John Cooper and residents


Annual tea party with Sutton Coldfield’s faith group leaders and Clergy

Very many thanks for the kind hospitality of Donald Campbell of Sutton Coldfield Baptist Church for hosting my annual tea with the Royal Town’s leading faith groups, clergy and representatives.

We were able to discuss a number of specific issues which are of local and national interest to their flocks and parishioners and of great interest to me and the Town. 

With many thanks to those who came and to the church for our tea.


Above: Last year’s picture! This year’s one has gone missing!



Gracechurch Plans Moving Forward 


The new owners of The Gracechurch Centre, BPG and SAV Group, held a series of informal public consultations on Sunday. They are due to hold further consultations this Sunday and again in the summer.

Please see below note from our Royal Town Council Leader, Simon Ward:

“It was great to see residents engaging with the owners of the Gracechurch Centre as they launched consultation around their plans last weekend.  BPG/SAV have ambitious plans to deliver a town centre that is in line with the Town Council’s masterplan. 

“We need a Town Centre that is befitting of our Royal Town and where residents live, shop and spend their leisure time.  This will take time, but it is great to see we are making real progress with the support of Andy Street and Andrew Mitchell at the vanguard.  In the short term the recent announcement around international retailer Harvey Norman locating to the centre is a real vote of confidence.

“I would urge residents to have their say and get down to the centre this Sunday where the plans will again be on show, and you can give your views.”

-        Cllr Simon Ward, Leader - Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council. 



This is all very good news for our Royal Town as we see after so long the Royal Sutton Town Council’s town centre masterplan advancing before our eyes.

The Gracechurch Centre’s new owners are delivering on that plan and are engaged in a significant consultation exercise with us all.

I urge my constituents to take part in the next consultation and let the new owners, The Town Council and all of us know what you think.



Sutton Town Council to control £20 million fund 

This week we have received confirmation that The Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council will be in sole charge of the administration of the brilliant £20 million Long Term Plan for Town’s fund.

I persuaded the Government to award our Royal Town the cash, and the following letter confirms that local leaders will have overview of the fund, rather than Birmingham.



The Town Council is now inviting those with the relevant experience and a deep love of our Royal Town to apply to serve on the Board which will decide how this money should be spent.

If you or anyone you know is interested, then please get in touch with Olive O’Sullivan, the Chief Executive of Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council, here: Olive.OSullivan@suttoncoldfieldtowncouncil.gov.uk



Appointment of the new Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands

I am pleased to share the below announcement directly from the Cabinet Office, on the new Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands. We are very proud that he is a citizen of the Royal Town.

‘The King has been pleased to appoint Dr Derrick Anderson, CBE, DL, as His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for the ceremonial county of the West Midlands on the retirement of Sir John Crabtree, OBE, on 5th August 2024.

Derrick Anderson had a career working in the public sector, including as Chief Executive of Wolverhampton Council and of the London Borough of Lambeth (which he transformed from being the most challenged council in London to one of the best). 

He was a non-executive director of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and a founding trustee of the Commonwealth Games Legacy Trust.  He has also served as an independent member of the Strategic Board of the World Blind Games 2023 and is a director of the WAVE Trust, an international charity dedicated to reducing the root causes of violence experienced by children, including abuse, neglect and domestic violence.  He holds honorary doctorates for his work on social inclusion and cultural policy, has a keen interest in sports and the arts, and works with aid and development organisations in Southern Africa and the Caribbean.  He lives in Sutton Coldfield.’




Cottage Hospital is set for an £8.5 million refurbishment

You may have seen the article on Birmingham Mail recently, about the £8.5 million investment in the refurbishment of our Cottage Hospital. 

The development of the Cottage Hospital has been one of my key priorities, alongside investing in the Town Hall, the Town Centre and the Park. 

Under these plans, the Cottage Hospital will be redeveloped to provide an integrated hub for community health services that will support people to live well at home reducing the need to go into emergency hospital care. 

The new “hub” will bring together community health services for older people which will support people to continue to live in their own homes and not need to move into institutional care. This serves Sutton Coldfield and the surrounding area and include therapy services, services supporting older people and people with long term conditions and serves as a base for integrated neighbourhood teams serving the area. The plans also include general practice services and community diagnostic services. 

It is excellent news to see our plans shaping up the way we envisioned. 

You can read recent article from Birmingham Mail here:





Britain’s Youngest Author

 A big well done to the talented Jayce Joyce for publishing his third book at only 6 years old! 

I met Jayce and his mother Anim last year in the Royal Town. He has been using his talent to inspire children through numerous visits to local nurseries, primary schools, libraries, community groups, and bookshops. 

Last Saturday, Jayce launched his third book at the Mere Green Community Centre.


In the Commons

UN General Assembly

On Monday, I was in New York (for less than 24 hours) for the United Nations General Assembly.

I gave a speech on sustainable development and access to comprehensive sexual reproductive health and rights for all.

You can read my speech here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/our-societies-and-economies-cannot-thrive-without-access-to-comprehensive-sexual-reproductive-health-and-rights-for-all-deputy-foreign-secretary-at-t



Foreign office questions

On Tuesday, during Foreign Office Questions, I took over 50 questions from colleagues across the House of Commons on various topical issues such as the humanitarian situations in Sudan and Gaza.

You can watch the session here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/0c6cecb2-c009-4f23-8a17-826913cd988d

Further information

Concert at St Columba’s Church


Di Xiao - Classical Concert Pianist - 11th May 2024


Breast Friends, Make Up Workshops


Sutton Coldfield Society of Artists Spring Exhibition 2024

The Spring Exhibition of the Sutton Coldfield Society of Artists will take place in the Bedford Suite, Sutton Coldfield Town Hall from 10.00am Saturday 4th May until 4:00pm Sunday 12th May. 

Exhibition open 9:00am to 5:00pm each day.


Advocacy Matters, Recruitment Event


Civic Society Summer programme


Community Games


Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System’s Fairer Futures Fund

This ringfenced £22.2m Fund first launched in 2022, with various funding streams awarded up until 2027 for projects which will improve the health and wellbeing of citizens across Birmingham and Solihull; reduce health inequalities and support communities to stay well.

Applications are now open for public and VCFSE sector organisations in Birmingham to bid for Citywide Small Grants being made available via the Fairer Futures Fund.

A total of £2.46million is available through the new Citywide Small Grants, with organisations in Birmingham able to bid for up to £15,000 per year, or up to a maximum of £45,000 for individual projects over a three-year delivery period.

The deadline for applications for the Citywide Small Grants scheme is 5pm on 12 July 2024. For more information on how to apply, visit the Heart of England Community Foundation website (https://www.heartofenglandcf.co.uk/ffcw-small-grants/)


Sutton Arts Theatre- what’s on


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 13th of May the BCC Mobile Household Recycling Centre.

·   Fri 17/05/2024 Longley Avenue B76 9AL  07:30 -  13:00 Sutton Walmley & Minworth