Devolution to Sutton Coldfield is on the cards

Devolution to Sutton Coldfield is on the cards as residents deal resounding ‘Yes’ to new town council.

Residents in Sutton Coldfield have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the creation of a new town council in a referendum carried out by Birmingham City Council.

Almost 70% of electors in the Royal town have said 'Yes' to devolution and more people power, backing calls from campaigners for the establishment of England's largest parish council to give local people a voice and run local services.

A cross-party working group of Birmingham City councillors has agreed to recommend the creation of England's largest parish council to the city council in September, a move welcomed by the National Association of Local Councils (NALC).

Chairman of NALC, Cllr Ken Browse said: "This is fantastic news and is a campaign NALC has been involved in right from the start. The people of Sutton have spoken and such a show of support for a new town council is a massive boost for the parish movement and a shot in the arm for local democracy.

“Suttonians have proved that local people have an appetite for devolution and want to take more control of their local area and work with other partners to improve quality of life and local services.

“At the weekend I telephoned campaigners to congratulate them on the result and pledge our ongoing help and support. There is still a long way to go to get the council formally established and to hold elections and we will continue to help in any way we can.

“We’re currently working with dozens more areas up and down the country who like Sutton also want a parish council and want to join our growing localist powerhouse.”
Leader of the city council, Sir Albert Bore, said: "This is a clear-cut result and the turnout in the ballot was fairly high.It will now be for the full council to make the final decision, taking into account this result and the other feedback from consultation."

He added the vote was "a watershed moment in the way Birmingham is governed".

Anne Underwood, who chairs the city council's district committee, said: "We are delighted with the turnout of 40% at the ballot that reflects the interest our residents have always shown in the governance of the royal town.

"The result is a resounding 'yes' and we would assure residents that we will support its establishment."

The Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council Referendum Group has welcomed the “swift endorsement from our elected representatives” and have thanked the residents of Sutton Coldfield “for making history with their overwhelming 70% ‘Yes’ vote, they have declared that they want a new approach to governance in Sutton Coldfield and this is what they will get.”

“We will work hard to make Sutton better for everyone, no matter which way they voted.”

A recommendation to set up the new town council will go before Birmingham City Council in September and first elections could take place as early as May 2016.

Read more on the Create A Council campaign

Media Watch | 27
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