East Staffordshire Borough Council can confirm that the Chair of the Burton upon Trent Town Deal Board, Ben Robinson MBE, has tendered his resignation to the secretary of the Town Deal Board.
Ben Robinson served as the Town Deal Board chair on an honorary and voluntary basis since its inception in November 2019, when 100 towns across the Country needed to quickly pull together a partnership of public and private sector representatives, chaired by a local private sector individual.
In the early stages of the Towns Fund programme, the role of the Chair was to lead the Board in identifying and agreeing the vision for the regeneration of the town area through the creation of a Town Investment Plan (TIP). During Ben’s tenure, he oversaw the creation and submission of the TIP in December 2020, the approval of the funding Heads of Terms in March 2021 and the approval of project business cases in March 2022.
Following project approvals, the role of Town Deal Boards shifted into one of monitoring the delivery of projects against the agreed Heads of Terms. As such, as Chair of the Board, Ben also oversaw the development, commencement and delivery of the local Towns Fund projects over the last 18 months.
Ben Robinson said: “It was a great honour to chair the Town Deal Board from 2019 and to play a part in securing investment for the people of Burton.”
“The conclusion of the projects should have an enormous positive impact on Burton and will enhance the town centre and should have a major economic impact in the years to come”.
“I have always been aware that as the projects developed and evolved, that there may come a time when there would be a potential conflict of interest around some aspects of the plans being created. The High Street project is at the point of now creating a detailed business case, which will bring into direct competition the services offered at the Pirelli Stadium and therefore I think it is appropriate that this is the point where I stand down and avoid any personal conflict of interest that may be perceived.”
“The projects are progressing in the right direction and I want to thank everyone who has supported the Town Deal Board on this journey so far”.
Speaking on this, Cllr Mick Fitzpatrick, Leader of the Council, said: “I would like to place on record my thanks to Ben for all of his efforts over the last four years, overseeing the Towns Fund programme from its inception all the way through to securing funding and delivering the projects. I know that he has volunteered a lot of time and resources to this programme and I am grateful for all of his assistance.”
Cllr George Allen, Leader of the Opposition, added: “I have worked closely with Ben on the Towns Fund over a number of years, during times of challenge and difficulty, and I am grateful for all of his hard work in helping the town secure £23.8m to deliver projects that will transform Burton for future generations to enjoy. I'd like to thank Ben for his hard work and I wish him all the best for the future.”
The Towns Fund programme runs until at least March 2026 and so it is important that a suitable appointment to the Town Deal Board Chair is identified in order to oversee the monitoring of the projects for the remainder of the programme.
As the Council is not bound by strict external deadlines for this, an open and competitive recruitment process will be confirmed shortly and launched in the new year, with an aim to have a permanent appointment in place by April 2024.
In the interim, the Vice-Chair, John McKiernan, will act as Interim Chair of the Town Deal Board.