As a resident of lovely Sutton Coldfield in North Birmingham, we are one of the few places outside of London with a super, frequent metro-style rail service into Birmingham New Street.
Sutton town centre is a pleasant shopping centre but is increasingly losing out as a shopping destination to other centres around the West Midlands. One thing it lacks is a significant amount of offices providing plenty of workers and footfall. Where Birmingham and Solihull and others have seen major investment and redevelopment, Sutton has fared less well. The centre is good but not great and as such is not the major destination drawing in shoppers, workers, drinkers and others – and the locals would certainly love to see the town get a good boost.
It has also been marred by a development site alongside the railway line and behind the shopping centre, on Brassington Avenue, which has struggled to find a reason for being. A long strip of land between a railway embankment and the town centre ring road, by a car park and the shopping area, not far from the park and next to the railway station.
Well, here is something that it could be perfect for – creating a true multimodal interchange by delivering a bus interchange alongside Sutton Coldfield railway station.
At present there are a number of random car parks and land that is superbly placed for the station and the town centre but that is relatively poor for being developed in a way that will provide a real boost to the town. Indeed, moving buses across to that site and consolidating public transport into a central interchange will improve accessibility for a significant number of people as well as providing knock on benefits for other land across the town centre and future aspirations.
Recasting the traffic flow and bus routes to focus movements on getting people into the interchange and then providing high quality public realm connecting the interchange and the town centre is absolutely vital. A relatively easy way to provide a major boost for our town.
But we are not finished here!! A short walk or bike ride away from this potential bus/train interchange site is the magnificent Sutton Park, one of the largest urban parks in Europe and a superb landscape that us locals love. So i want to see bike hire/bike share also available from this site as well along with taxis – and/or a potential rideshare hub as well. The point being that by providing a central interchange you will create a major transport hub for a huge area reaching out to all of the Sutton Coldfield area and out even further into parts of Staffordshire, Warwickshire and over towards Walsall…
So, anyone interested in promoting/collaborating on this then do give me a shout and I hope to promote this with the Combined Authority, TfWM, Sutton Town Council, Birmingham City Council and any other parties that would like to help kickstart the rebirth of Sutton Coldfield.