After last week’s petition launch in support of subsidised car parking in Sutton Coldfield Town Centre, the business community has rallied around the Town Council’s Conservative Group campaign to Birmingham City Council for support for the Town Centre’s retailers and night-time economy.
Cllr Simon Ward (Four Oaks) Leader of the Town Council, “it is really good that local businesses are keen for the extra support we have proposed but despite that the City Council remain unwilling to help. All we are looking to do is increase footfall for our retailers, bars, restaurants and cafes in the Town Centre at this really difficult time. The Town Council has consistently put itself at the heart of improving our Town centre with both short- and long-term measures. The free parking plan will cost Birmingham City Council absolutely nothing.”
Stephen Roberts the Ex-Chairman of the Sutton Coldfield Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID) said that “Funding parking is an exceptional idea and will support businesses like my own and help retailers and hospitality and kickstart the local economy coming out of the pandemic”.
Cllr Ewan Mackey (Roughley Ward) Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group on Birmingham City Council said, “it is great to see a past chairman of the Business Improvement District is so supportive of these proposals and fundamentally understands that this proposal is not designed to be in aid of commuters travelling into Birmingham, rather it is specifically designed to help all retailers and the night time economy, with the free parking coming in at 4PM on weekdays and all day on weekends”.
Cllr Mackey continued, “the Labour administration in Birmingham is clearly worried about its largest suburban centre having a free parking offer after introducing an £8 charge to enter Birmingham City Centre and ceasing free parking for critical care workers. Our suburbs are suffering as City Council policy is, so City Centre focused.”
Richard Mason the Chair of the Town Hall’s Trustees said “The recent provision of free parking that the Town Hall had during the vaccination process has been very supportive, and a similar provision for evenings and weekends would be of great benefit to the community”
Goli George, the owner of Pizza By Goli said “The Conservative Groups proposal for Free Car Parking in the evenings and weekends will greatly help my own business and others in the Town Centre. This support is a 'no brainer', especially after last 12 or so months, I can't quite understand why the City Council aren't fully behind the Town Council on this”.
Anne Marie Simpson from Simpsons Bar said that “In my experience in regeneration, free car parking is a positive idea and will help the night-time economy, any support in the short term while we are waiting for the Masterplan to kick in will help trade in the Town Centre”.
The Royal Town’s Member of Parliament, Andrew Mitchell said “I am pleased to see those local businesses in the Royal Town and our iconic Town Hall are keen for support from the Town Council, the petition that the local conservatives are running has been incredibly popular and it is a clear indication that there is strong support for this measure”
Phil Arkinstall, President of Sutton Coldfield Chamber of Commerce said, “We would urge Birmingham City Council to work closely with stakeholders in Sutton Coldfield to ensure we can find a workable solution which will help attract footfall back to the town centre and position Sutton Coldfield as a destination of choice for shoppers and businesses alike.”