Sutton Coldfield Civic Society celebrated its 60th anniversary last year and our basic concerns and principles remain unchanged. In practical terms we focus on the town's built environment, both historic and modern, to celebrate it as a source of interest and enjoyment for everyone and to help promote civic pride.
The Society was founded in 1957 to oppose plans by the (then) Sutton Borough Council to demolish part of the High Street, which is of course the historic heart of the town. You can get some idea of the damage which would have been caused if you compare the building line in front of the previous Butco site (where one demolition did take place) with the other frontages on that side of the street.
These days we are faced with another irreversible loss if acres of precious Green Belt land disappear for ever under 6000 houses. The Civic Society has protested against the Birmingham Plan, both in writing and in person at the Public Inquiry, and we applaud the great efforts of Project Fields and Walmley Residents Association in opposing the development. We are also very grateful to our MP, Mr Andrew Mitchell, for convincing the Minister for Housing to "call in" the Plan.
At times in recent years parts of the town have seemed at the mercy of business interests, with plans for Mere Green and Brassington Avenue coming and going and public car parks being sold off. It's not all gloom - Mere Green is being redeveloped at last and the conversion of the former council offices into apartments has preserved many of its good Victorian features - but trees are flourishing on the still-unused Brassington Avenue site. One very positive development in recent years has been the establishment of the Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID) and its excellent work for the good of the town. We hope that 2018 will see a fruitful collaboration between the Civic Society and the BID in working to promote awareness of the town's heritage.
I hope that SCCS will also have constructive discussions with the new Town Council on matters concerning heritage and the built environment generally. I served for a time as a member of the steering group leading to the formation of the Council and I believe it can be a very positive element in the town.
The Civic Society is always happy to welcome visitors to our Autumn/Winter meetings which take place in the Trinity Centre at 7.30pm on the second Thursday of the month from September to April. Please have a look at our current programme elsewhere in this website. We are a very friendly group and we'll be glad to meet you.