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Sutton Coldfield drawing up plan to tackle town centre traffic congestion

Royal Town has been overlooked in quest for transport funding and improvements say locals

Sutton Coldfield Town Centre

Sutton Coldfield town centre’s road, rail, bus and cycle links have been ignored and overlooked by Birmingham transport bosses for more than a decade, its councillors claim.

The result is that the area is often gridlocked.

At the same time Birmingham City Centre has seen almost £2 billion transport investment including the Metro extension, New Street Station upgrade and ring road upgrade.

There have also been further major road improvements such as at Castle Vale’s Spitfire Island and the Selly Oak bypass.

But now the fledgling Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council (RSCTC) is drawing up plans to get the town moving again and grab it’s share of funding.

Sutton Coldfield Town Centre

Constrained within a tight ring road which is rammed with both town centre shoppers and through traffic, locals have been crying out for improvements.

Proposals to reopen the Sutton Park rail line are being looked at as a spin-off from the HS2 rail development, and Sprint rapid buses are proposed when the green belt east of Walmley is developed - but these have not yet been confirmed.

Previous plans for a bypass, drawn up about 15 years ago were shelved due to lack of funding and a town centre framework plan, adopted in 2009, barely got off the drawing board.

RSCTC and Birmingham City Council have now put down a combined £140,000 to develop a detailed transport model for the town centre.

The model will look at how to keep the town moving and offer in depth data on the movement of traffic and public transport and how they can be improved to benefit shops and businesses.

Cllr Ewan Mackey

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This plan will then be used to bid for Department for Transport, Local Enterprise Partnership or West Midlands Combined Authority funds to put it into action.

Sutton Trinity councillor Ewan Mackey (Con) said: “Sutton Coldfield has one of the highest car ownership rates in the UK.

“It is hoped that a transport model will hand us the investment we need to improve public transport in the town and simply make getting around a little bit easier for all.”

Sutton Vesey councillor Rob Pocock (Lab) added: "We need to do something to improve traffic flows otherwise it will only get worse as car use increases and the green belt is developed. This transport plan gives us a chance to do that."

Independent cllr Paul Long said: "It's a fantastic opportunity that we could potentially benefit from roads infrastructure funding based on the results of this model. Many of Sutton's roads are gridlocked and so with the green belt development it's essential that we address how traffic flows into, out of and within the town. "

The town council is hoping the new West Midlands Mayor will support the efforts and has already received backing from Conservative candidate Andy Street.

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