BROMSGROVE’S Conservative Group scuppered Labour’s proposals to introduce a town centre partnership (TCP) to address some of the issues affecting the High Street and the surrounding area.
Coun Chris Bloore put forward the motion at the meeting last Wednesday (February 25) which stated ‘a successful town centre and improved local economic activity could only be achieved by working together with local businesses and the public’.
It suggested the partnership be made up of councillors, the portfolio holder for the town centre, Coun Rita Dent, and representatives from local businesses and community organisations which operated from the town centre.
The motion also mooted that the political make-up of the TCP reflect the political balance of the council.
Coun Bloore said the idea would be for the TCP to recommend, consider and and monitor the strategy, plans and progress in relation to the town centre economy and regeneration. It called on members to delegate power to the monitoring officer so they could work with the groupl leaders and portfolio holder to look into starting a TCP.
Coun Bloore said it would be a transparent approach to the town centre where discussions could take place about important issues, including the regeneration, business rates and car parking.
Coun Dent said she fully understood ‘the party opposite (Labour Group) wanting to be part of the success of the town centre regeneration’ but added the situation was fine as it was in the cabinet’s hands and a TCP was simply not needed.
She added a report was due to come out soon that would provide an adequate update on the town centre regeneration.
Labour leader, Coun Luke Mallett, said: “This was a cross-party attempt to move along the town centre regeneration.
“I would have thought that Coun Dent, as the portfolio holder for the town centre, would know better than to be so arrogant and I am concerned that she thinks we do not need the businesses on board.
“The council’s recent research said half of the businesses in Bromsgrove were happy with the town centre regeneration.
“But I would point out that that means half of them are unhappy with the situation and something needs to be done.”
Coun Bloore added: “The most disappointing element of the town centre partnership motion falling was that it did not do so because it was a bad idea or unworkable but because the administration think their isn’t a problem of communication or progress with the regeneration of our town centre.
“Including businesses and community groups at the heart of the councils town centre strategy would have provided a platform for sharing ideas and improving policies and communication lines.
“I simply don’t share the view of Coun Dent that everything in our town centre is hunky dory.
“This partnership could have gone some way towards getting everyone on the same page and building a sustainable town centre.
“I certainly won’t be giving up and will continue to fight for this partnership to be set up for the good of the town.”
Every Conservative member, apart from Coun Ruck and Coun Cooper who abstained, voted against the TCP proposal and the motion was defeated.