The ongoing campaign to secure a devolved town council for Sutton Coldfield has been given a £5,000 boost.
A grant from the National Association of Local Councils, or NALC, will be used to produce promotional material and host campaign events ahead of a referendum.
Last year more than 10,000 Sutton Coldfield residents signed a petition calling for greater political freedom from Birmingham.
Now campaigners are in negotiation with senior councillors and council officers over which powers, budgets and funding should be devolved from Birmingham to the town council – and with wide disagreement over areas like planning the talks are likely to take several months.
Ken Rushton, chairman of the Sutton Coldfield Town Council Referendum Committee, said: “Sutton residents have proved they have enthusiasm for a town council. The town is under-funded.
“We want any town council set up to be recognised fully around the country – we want some prominence. We hope Sutton Coldfield Town Council will be given devolved powers over areas including planning, road development and waste management.”
The borough of Sutton Coldfield was absorbed into the Birmingham City Council in 1974, and there has been an ongoing campaign to restore the borough ever since. Chairman of NALC Councillor Ken Browse said: “Parish and town councils are popular with people and can really make a difference. That’s why more and more communities are setting them up and making the parish sector the only growing part of local government.
“Neighbourhood level governance can make it easier for people to take action and improve their area. Much of the country already benefits from grass roots government; providing democratic representation and delivering services to the community, as well influencing other decision-making bodies.
“But many cities and town do not, our Government funded programme is there help communities in those areas.”
NALC is running a ‘Create a Council’ week from May 19 to raise awareness of its campaign among community groups. In Birmingham residents in Shard End are also considering moves towards a Parish council.