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Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell backs separation from Birmingham as he says 'enough is enough'

Sutton Coldfield has been governed by Birmingham City Council since 1974 but now it's considering breaking away.

Sutton Coldfield Parade

Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell has backed the town council’s push for greater independence from Birmingham, saying “enough is enough”.

In a message to constituents, he said: “Birmingham on its present structure does not work. It certainly doesn’t work for Sutton Coldfield.”

Mr Mitchell, Conservative MP for Sutton Coldfield since 2001, made the comments in his annual report to constituents, which is distributed to homes in the town.

But he stopped short of demanding immediate independence for Sutton Coldfield, saying: “We intend to explore the extent to which powers can now be devolved to our Town and our Town Council.”

Sutton Coldfield Town Council began operating a year ago, although it has limited powers to raise money and fund local services and initiatives.

And the town received a boost in 2014 when Ministers confirmed it was still entitled to be called the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield, a title granted by Henry VIII in 1528.

Dan Kitwood/PA Wire Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell
Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell

Sutton Coldfield became part of Birmingham in 1974 but calls for greater independence, or total separation from the city, have been strengthened by Birmingham City Council’s problems including a damning report in 2014 which said the authority was failing.

And in February, the Conservative-run town council instructed officials to explore opportunities for greater political independence.

In his message to constituents, Mr Mitchell said: “There is throughout Sutton Coldfield a deep anger at the failure and dysfunctionality of Birmingham City Council - of which, for local government purposes only, Royal Sutton Coldfield is a part.

“Birmingham City Council is widely seen as a failing council, as I set out in my Annual Report last year, and while I believe Conservative leadership would greatly improve the services for Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham on its present structure does not work.

“It certainly doesn’t work for Sutton Coldfield.

“That is why we intend to explore the extent to which powers can now be devolved to our Town and our Town Council.”

RB's club in Sutton Coldfield
RB's club in Sutton Coldfield

Labour currently controls Birmingham City Council, and Mr Mitchell said: “Under Labour, Birmingham City Council has closed our council offices, neglected our Town Hall, destroyed our Green Belt, abolished our Register Office and is trying to shut down our central Library (but not others in Birmingham).

“Our magnificent Sutton Park has been sadly ignored.

“I share the view of the vast majority of people in Sutton Coldfield that enough is enough.”

Jack Dromey, Labour MP for neighbouring Erdington constituency, said he was concerned about the possibility of wealthy Sutton Coldfield abandoning Birmingham.

He said: “Sutton is comfortably off.

“Erdington may be rich in talent but it is one of the poorest constituencies in England with the seventh highest unemployment

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“I don’t want to see Erdington left behind by Sutton.”

Birmingham City Council declined to respond to Mr Mitchell’s comments.

Artist's impression of the proposed Peddmore development, which has caused anger in Sutton Coldfield
Artist's impression of the proposed Peddmore development, which has caused anger in Sutton Coldfield

Discontent in Sutton Coldfield has grown as a result of Birmingham City Council’s decision to build homes on green belt land next to the town. Fields near the Sutton Coldfield bypass at Peddimore and Langley are due to have 6,000 homes built on them, as well as accommodation for businesses.

The developments, part of Birmingham Development Plan, have also been given the green light by the Government when they were approved by Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid.

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