Setting the boundaries of the landon Sep 23 in News by Transforming Cities
The Boundary Commission for England proposes to merge parts of Sutton Coldfield and Erdington Constituencies. It’s vital to remember that the Government is currently processing the request from the Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell MP, to reinstate the name, the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield; a name originally granted in a Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1528 (and renewed by Charles II in 1664). Andrew Mitchell has confirmed that he and all of Sutton Coldfield’s Councillors are united in this campaign.
Government Ministers advising the Crown on the Royal Town bid will need to be satisfied that Sutton Coldfield has appropriate local governance arrangements in place. The existing Sutton Coldfield Constituency Committee provides what is required. It has executive decision-making powers, delegated from Birmingham City Council.
If the Sutton Coldfield Constituency is merged with Erdington, the case for a Royal Town is destroyed, because in terms of governance, the town will no longer exist. (When Sutton Coldfield lost its Borough Council in 1974, the Sutton Coldfield Constituency was created to preserve the identity of the Royal Town).
The Boundary Commission’s proposals would not only wreck the Royal Town bid, they may also damage the regeneration plans for Sutton Coldfield.
The Sutton Coldfield Town Centre Regeneration Framework is a legal planning document, providing direction for developers and investors. It prioritizes heritage led regeneration under the Royal Town brand.
The size of the existing electorate within the Sutton Coldfield Constituency, perfectly matches the ideal size that the Government wants to achieve in the current boundary review.
Mr Glenn Reid, lead officer for the West Midlands at the Boundary Commission for England, says their recommendations for Sutton Coldfield will actually have a negligible effect in terms of electorate numbers, (see point 5 below for the rationale of their proposals). He encourages local people to respond to the current consultation, that’s the only way the Boundary Commission will be aware of the local issues.
Write to: The Boundary Commission for England, 35 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BQ.
Suggested grounds for objection:
I object to the proposed recommendations and I respectfully request that the Boundary Commission for England retain the existing boundaries of the Sutton Coldfield Constituency, for the following reasons:
1: The existing electorate of the Sutton Coldfield Constituency is 74,676, which matches the ideal size sought by the Government in the current boundary review
2: The Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell MP with local Councillors has applied to the Crown, via the Cabinet Office, to reinstate the name of the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield (granted by the Royal Charter of Henry VIII in 1528). The proposed boundary amendments would prejudice the case for a Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield, because in terms of governance, the town would no longer exist
3: The proposed alterations would destroy existing devolved local governance arrangements from Birmingham City Council to the Sutton Coldfield Constituency
4: The proposed boundary amendments would prejudice delivery of the Statutory Planning Document, the: Sutton Coldfield Town Centre Regeneration Framework, which is dependent upon the Royal Town identity
5: It is understood that the Castle Bromwich Ward is proposed to become a part of the Erdington Constituency, and it is this proposal that has necessitated Sutton New Hall Ward going into the Erdington Constituency and the Kingstanding Ward going into the Sutton Coldfield Constituency. However, a better solution is to:
i: Add the Castle Bromwich Ward to the Erdington Constituency as proposed
ii: Keep the Sutton Coldfield Constituency unified, as it currently exists
iii: Leave the Kingstanding Ward in Erdington, or add it to the Perry Bar Constituency. Kinstanding would have a better chance of accessing regeneration funding if it remains in Erdington or joins Perry Bar Constituency. It’s regeneration would be prejudiced if it was part Sutton Coldfield, one of England’s least deprived areas.(In terms of living environment, the Government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation ranks Kingstanding 156 out of 32,482 English wards, where 1 is the most deprived and 32,482 is the least deprived. As such, the living environment in Kingstanding is in the worst 0.5% in England).
Nick Corbett www.transformingcities.co.uk