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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.
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.”
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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