Get all the most important news and events to your inbox.
Labour councillors in Burntwood are demanding a new ‘Town Deal’ for the area, insisting it has been “short-changed” in the past.
They say such a move would enable Lichfield District Council, Burntwood Town Council and Staffordshire County Council to work together to regenerate the area.
The councillors also insist it would allow the area to build on recent successes and tackle some of the long-standing problems Burntwood has faced.
Lichfield District Council’s Labour opposition group leader, Cllr Sue Woodward, said: “For too many years, Burntwood has been short-changed.
“Over recent years, the leadership at Lichfield District Council has taken a little bit more interest in the town’s development, but nothing has yet come from this and we now need to see warm words translated into action.
“That is why Burntwood’s Labour councillors are asking for a new Town Deal, such as those set up elsewhere in the county, which would commit the town, district and county councils to delivering real and tangible outcomes to boost jobs and training, leisure and tourism, arts and cultural initiatives and improve the local environment.
“We want to harness the fantastic community spirit here and build on recent successes and opportunities.”
Cllr Woodward highlighted recent developments, including:
the acquisition of the Old Mining College Centre by Burntwood Town Council and its development as a community hub
the increased profile of the Burntwood in Bloom scheme
the creation of the Burntwood Business Community group
arts projects building on the success of the SCAMP mining memorial and the discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard
the transfer of Chasewater to Staffordshire County Council and its development as a country park
the development of a new Neighbourhood Plan
the successful campaign to retain the Children’s Centres threatened with closure and now to be run by a local community organisation.
But Labour’s leader on Burntwood Town Council, Cllr Eric Drinkwater, insisted there was still more to do to tackle inadequate healthcare facilities, poor public transport links and the need for a new town centre.
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.”
The Labour members of Lichfield District Council, including Cllrs Diane Evans and Sharon Banevicius, are now writing to council leaders to urge them to set up a Town Deal.
Cllr Woodward added: “This needs to start now, not at some distant point in the future.”