Town deal would hinder development in Burntwood, says council leader

The leader of Burntwood Town Council says he will oppose any plans for a town deal – insisting the move would be a distraction from the future development of the area.

The Labour opposition group had called for the ruling Conservative group to speed up the creation of an agreement to boost the area’s retail offering.

A new business improvement district in Lichfield had led to calls for Burntwood to get a similar offering.

Cllr Richard Mosson

Cllr Richard Mosson

But Cllr Richard Mosson, leader of Burntwood Town Council, accused Labour of “hampering” the area’s future through negative campaigning.

“For far too many years Burntwood has been referred to as the poor relation to Lichfield with cries from Labour that the Tories just don’t care about Burntwood,” he said. “Having been elected in May the controlling Conservative group now have a chance to change this perception – and that is all it is; a perception.

“In the first six months we have made significant progress as the lines of communication are now open with Conservatives in control of the county, district and town councils. All three tiers are working hard to finally deliver in Burntwood free from the meddling, spanner-dropping and point-scoring politics of the previous controlling group, which has clearly hampered progress in the town over many years.

“Having previously mastered the art of winning votes out of negative campaigning, the electorate of Burntwood woke up to the fact that they were being hoodwinked by a Labour group intent on hampering the town’s progress in order to win votes and have elected a new group of councillors with clear ambition.”

The leader of Lichfield District Council, Cllr Mike Wilcox, has previously said he is committed to developing a new “retail offering” for Burntwood.

But Cllr Mosson insists the controlling Conservative group on Burntwood Town Council have more than just new shops in their sights.

“Our ambition is to bring prosperity, health and wellbeing in Burntwood without constraints,” he explained.

“Dialogue between all tiers is open and we will bring more shops, better healthcare provision and a feel good factor to the town.”

UKIP county councillor Jeff Sheriff has previously questioned the value of a town deal, saying that he had “no idea” what it would mean in reality.

Cllr Mosson believes the calls are a political manoeuvre by the opposition group on Burntwood Town Council.

“Labour are pushing the new controlling group for a town deal, but why?” he said. “What is it? What will it achieve? It certainly will not bring any investment.

“Could it be that county council elections are on the horizon and they know that development of our fabulous town is now underway and clearly want a seat at the table to bolster their own manifesto?

“As the leader of the town council I would prefer not to have a town deal as this will only distract us from the important job we have to do.”

Cllr Eric Drinkwater

Cllr Eric Drinkwater

Labour’s leader on Burntwood Town Council, Cllr Eric Drinkwater, has previously insisted a town deal could do more to tackle some of the issues the area was facing.

He said: “It is time that real, meaningful and unselfish discussions took place between all the key players – landowners, existing retailers and local authorities.

“Talks have taken place before but broke down because one of the key players withdrew from the discussions.

“But now that the New Local Plan for Lichfield District has been approved, we need discussions that will build a town centre to attract new businesses and at the same time protect those who already operate in the five shopping areas of Burntwood.

“Residents have been crying out for many years for a proper town centre that befits an area of nearly 30,000 inhabitants. We need clothes shops, shoe shops, entertainment and the proper infrastructure that goes with it, which includes decent, regular bus services.”

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11 Comments

  1. Steve Norman

    4th December, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Oh dear the new Leader of BTC is clueless!
    The one thing we always did as the controlling Labour Group on the Town Council was speak to everyone and anyone to improve the town.
    Inevitably that meant talking to the Conservatives at Lichfield District and the Conservatives at Staffordshire County as well as businesses in the town.
    I could name his colleagues if he would like and the formal meetings that we had where, working together, we made progress on the town centre prospects.
    What his group did do for the last four years was to sit almost entirely silently and oppose as I recall, almost nothing we did.
    The picture he paints has no basis in reality but if, through your posts, he gives you evidence I will be happy to say that I must have been in a parallel universe and apologise.
    What I can demonstrate is the lack of action on the Neighbourhood Plan and the attendance record of his Burntwood colleagues at Town and District Council meetings.
    In fact I will do. In my own time.

  2. Cllr Richard Mosson

    4th December, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Good afternoon former Cllr Steve Norman
    Yes you must have been in a parallel universe!
    Yes we did sit in opposition almost silently for four years as I recall, as during these four years what did you actually do and achieve as a controlling group?
    I remember no new health centres, no shopping centres and no Neighbourhood Plan for that matter.
    Admittedly we are a little slow out of the blocks with the neighbourhood plan, I am sure the public will forgive us as we are only 6 months into our four year term and have had to start again, because as I have already stated you did nothing!
    And please don’t get me started on attendance at meetings, it’s a shame no member of the Labour group was present during a recent and crucial meeting of the Personnel Committee which has clearly caused so much confusion amongst the Labour group.
    And as for talking to businesses I seem to recall it was one of the Conservative Group also a local business woman who was instrumental in setting up the Burntwood Business Community.
    But hell what do I know I am supposed to be clueless.
    But don’t worry I have thick skin and will take on the chin any criticism from members of the public.

  3. Interested spectator

    4th December, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Picks up popcorn and pulls up chair…

  4. Steve Norman

    4th December, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Keep that popcorn to hand I’ll continue at the weekend – with Ross’s indulgence of course.

  5. Sue woodward

    4th December, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    I think Cllr Mosson should heed the advice, “If you’re in a hole, stop digging”,.

  6. Rob

    4th December, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    No-one does hate like the left – proven again this week.

  7. Rupert

    5th December, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    In defence of the supposedly clueless councillor Mosson, I would like to congratulate him and burntwood town council, for a fabulous afternoon. My kids loved it. Thank you for bringing us into to the 21st century. Best thing that has happened in chase terrace for a long time.

  8. Eric N Drinkwater

    6th December, 2015 at 11:58 am

    Cllr Mosson, you really do beggar belief. Your current position of power is nothing to do with the electorate being disenchanted with their local representatives but more to do with the Dirty Politics, lies and deceit your party posted through letterboxes at the 11th hour of the election campaign.
    Cllr Norman has explained our involvement in discussions related to the Development of Burntwood and the fact that talks broke down because one of the partners dropped out. Those talks included all partners but suddenly what ever discussions are taking place behind the scenes now does not have any Labour representation. Therefore although we are only a small number those people who did elect us are being denied proper Democratic representation because we are excluded from whatever it is going on. I know mike Wilcox keeps promising but the public need more than that, they need to know their locally elected representatives are included in the discussions.

  9. Eric N Drinkwater

    6th December, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Whoops! Can’t help thinking of Steve Norman as a councillor and lets face it, he has far more political nouse
    than the current Town Council leader

  10. AgitatorofPeople

    7th December, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    And this is what passes for local governance, Labour/Conservative councillors not talking while Burntwood slowly slides further into decline, while coming out with statements such as:

    “Could it be that county council elections are on the horizon and they know that development of our fabulous town is now underway and clearly want a seat at the table to bolster their own manifesto”

    Might as well just say you only want to ride the gravy train and to hell with the 30,000 residents of Burntwood, how do you sleep at night, knowing full well that you could “all” do far better for Burntwood, it’s a disgrace and like watching squabbling petulant children.

  11. Steve Norman

    8th December, 2015 at 9:54 am

    I urge agitatorfpeople to read my first post regarding working together and note that when I was Leader of BTC I introduced a Best Value Committee (a forerunner to scrutiny committees) to be chaired by the Leader of the Minority Group! Something neither the District or County Conservative Groups allow – they so love being in control.
    More recently, as Chairman of the Neighbourhokd Plan I held two public meetings on the Neighbourhood Plan as it should be owned by the residents of Burntwood – it’s not the Council’s.
    Await my post still ‘awaiting moderation’.