The Liberal Democrats have announced that local campaigner Izzy Knowles has been nominated to join the Liberal Democrat Community Champions Hall of Fame for her work to help the most vulnerable in Moseley during the coronavirus crisis.
The Liberal Democrat Community Champions Hall of Fame initiative has been launched by Sir Stuart Etherington, the former Chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisation and Chair of the Liberal Democrat Coronavirus Community Taskforce.
As well as helping people with basic supplies, the nominees have been doing a range of work from sharing best practice and ideas to organising volunteers to call over 35,000 people across the UK to offer assistance.
As part of their induction into the Hall of Fame, successful nominees will also be invited to be interviewed by one of the party’s leading figures in a live webinar that all Lib Dem members will be invited to.
Local Liberal Democrat Izzy said:
“With the Coronavirus crisis leaving the most vulnerable in our communities at risk, it is critical people receive the support they need. That’s why I have been working with the local community to ensure no one is left behind across Moseley
“I am touched to have been nominated for my work, but I am even prouder to be part of a team helping countless people facing hardship. I would encourage everyone to help in whatever way they can during this difficult time.”
Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:
“I have been amazed by the energy, commitment and creativity shown by members of the Lib Dem community during the crisis. I am so proud of people like Izzy Knowles who have worked tirelessly to help vulnerable residents and fight for the best possible support for people facing hardship.”
Chair of the Coronavirus Community Taskforce, Sir Stuart Etherington, said:
“It is critical that vulnerable people in our communities receive the support they need. It will be communities themselves that have to respond to take the pressure off our excellent but hard-pressed statutory services. I look forward to continuing to work with Izzy Knowles and others as we do out bit to slow the spread of coronavirus, prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed and save thousands of lives.”
We seem to have waited forever but the planning application for Moseley Station is now online and open for comments.
You can access and comment on the consultation 2020/03676/PA here
Controversy over the station approach.
The application includes a proposal for the entrance to the station at St Mary’s Row opposite Oxford Road to be controlled by a four way traffic light junction. At a meeting in March with West Midlands Rail Executive Moseley community representatives stated their objections to the junction being controlled by traffic signals and again presented their preferred option of a roundel, as designed by Phil Jones Associates for Moseley Forum and supported overwhelmingly at their recent AGM.
The two designs are here:
The advantages of a roundel rather than traffic lights is less pollution as traffic flow is more even rather than stop/start, better access for pedestrians and cyclists as zebra pedestrian crossings will give them priority over cars, (rather than the other way round at a traffic signal junction) and a much more pleasing look to the entrance to the station.
Moseley Forum has had assurances from WMRE that their proposal is being seriously considered and subject to design modifications, amendments to the plans could be made. It would help if comments reflect how you would like to see the junction managed.
We have an opportunity here to send a message to planners that Moseley wants to open up to walkers and cyclists. The station will have 52 cycle stands and yet the plans include no dedicated cycling infrastructure. Recent lockdown measures have shown us what a Moseley with less traffic would look like. There will not be another opportunity to make our voices heard, this is our station – so please do make your comments.
PS: It has been suggested we ask for the station to be called ‘Moseley Village’ If you agree mention it in your comments.
Three ‘application for prior notification’ have been submitted to Birmingham City Council for installation of 5G telecommunication masts.
Two are for ”installation of 20m high telecommunication tower, 6no. antennas, 2no. dishes, 1no. equipment cabinet and associated works” and one for a ‘Phase 8 monopole with wrap around cabinet at base and associated works’
- 2020/02619/PA – Moor Green Lane outside Pitmaston House. Submit comments online by 14/05/20
- 2020/02583/PA – St Mary’s Row – corner of Oxford Road outside M & S Foodhall. Submit comments online by 14/05/20
3. 2020/03215/PA – Stoney Lane – just past Anderton Park School outside the TA centre. Submit comments online by 27/05/2020
Or you can also email the planning officer directly firstname.lastname@example.org
Moor Green Lane
Concern has been expressed from residents about the proposed locations of these masts which are close to residential properties, the negative effect on the street scene and the potential for vandalism.
Please let me know your comments and feedback.
I have added a COVID19 Support page to my website with links to national and local support available to individuals and businesses. I am updating it as more information becomes available. Please let me know if there is anything else I should add.
If you live in Moseley and need support: call or text 07796 668257 or email email@example.com
I am working with the Moseley Community Development Trust, the local ward Councillors and other volunteers to put together Moseley’s response to the Covid19 crisis.
You may have one of these leaflets through your door or have seen them in local shops.
Birmingham Lib Dem Councillors are bringing a motion on Proportional Representation to the full council meeting on 4th February. The wording is as follows:
‘This Council believes it is vital that the results of elections to Birmingham City Council, and all Parish/Town Councils within the City, represent the views of the communities we serve as closely as possible.
We therefore resolve to lobby the Government to reform the electoral system for elections to Birmingham City, and all Parish/Town Councils within the City, to the Scottish system of Single Transferable Vote within multi member wards, which delivers a far fairer result, maintains the link between Councillors and communities and imposes a threshold of support that parties must pass to secure representation in any area.
Reforming the electoral system, in such a way, will not only produce a fairer result. It will also make elections competitive in every part of the City, whatever the national political background, radically reduce the need for tactical voting and give an opportunity for residents to choose between candidates from the same party’
If you live in Birmingham and would like to see a fairer system of electing your local representatives please share this and write to your local Councillors asking them to support it on 4th February.
You can find out who your local Councillors are here: Birmingham Councillors
More info about PR can be found here: Make Votes Matter
This morning I attended the launch of the Bahu Trust Faith Against Violence project. Working with local people they have produced two powerful videos to raise awareness of the impact on families & communities of knife crime and domestic abuse. We also heard testimonies from some very inspirational local women. This project was supported by West Midlands Police, especially the Sparkbrook neighbourhood team and Birmingham East partnerships team. As a former Police Sergeant and a current member of the Birmingham East Police Independent Advisory group this is just the sort of initiative I am proud to see. Bringing policing and community together to combat violence that causes so much misery in our society.
You can see the video’s here:
Stop Domestic Abuse
I spent the morning talking to the businesses of Montgomery Street Business Centre in Sparkbrook.
This is a fabulous iconic site of diverse small units which is shockingly being auctioned off by Birmingham City Council.
As I was there they were being interviewed by ITV Central news.
The businesses who learned about the auction by reading it in an advert have formed the ‘Montgomery Street Cooperative’ & have applied for the site to become an asset of community value. They want to secure the site and run it as a not for profit cooperative to secure its future as a start-up hub.
This is the last surviving enterprise site for start up businesses owned by Birmingham City Council. Years ago the council was a pioneer in this field. It is a site of huge historic importance, located next to the Grand Union canal in Peaky Blinder land. The Moseley Lanchester brothers Lanchester Motor Company was based here once. But this place has been sadly neglected over the years by the council landlords.
I will be writing to Ian Ward Leader of Birmingham City Council to urge him to remove this important site from the auction list and to work with the businesses instead to unlock the potential of this site as the local community asset it should be. Save jobs, encourage entrepreneurs and support local business.
I made a video about my visit.
Talking to bar /cafe’s Hop & Scotch and Black Lab in Kings Heath today, I was made aware of some very disturbing anti social behaviour by a group of young people, including assaults on staff and intimidating behaviour targetted at businesses and at members of the public in the street. I have contacted the Neighbourhood Inspector and Sergeant and requested an urgent visit to these businesses and an update on the situation with these young people.
Businesses are at the hub of our communities. If their staff do not feel safe they cannot thrive.
Update 8th November: Pleased to get a response from the local police and to hear a dispersal order has been put in place.
I am incredibly proud and honoured to be standing for Parliament as your REMAIN candidate in Birmingham Hall Green.
This election is an opportunity to show the residents of Moseley, Kings Heath, Balsall Heath, Sparkbrook, Sparkhill & Hall Green that they can have a credible, positive, visible hard working MP who is local and who knows and cares for all of the community.
As your candidate in Hall Green I will:
*Continue to campaign relentlessly to Stop Brexit
*Fight for our environment by preventing waste, expanding renewable energy and cutting air pollution.
*Make our neighbourhoods safer places to live by tackling crime, holding our police to account, supporting the vulnerable and homeless and working closely with community and business groups.
*Campaign for proper funding for health services, especially mental health and social care, for schools and for youth services.
When I see a need for action I do not take no for an answer
Elections cost money. We in the Lib Dems do not have the advantage of big donors or trade unions. We rely totally on the generosity of our local supporters. To give you an example to print and hand deliver one A4 double sided leaflet to every household in Hall Green Constituency costs approx £800 and 400 volunteer hours.
Every little helps so click here to donate to my election fund.
If you can donate me some volunteer hours please get in touch here
DELIVER FOR ME AND I WILL DELIVER FOR YOU IN BIRMINGHAM HALL GREEN
The Bordesley Chords are once more under threat from a planning application for housing and office development. The chords are required to be constructed in order that the Camp Hill passenger service from Kings Norton to Birmingham can be upgraded from the initial two trains an hour to a full commuter line once it reopens to passenger services in 2021
Please see my blog of 1st March when the implications of the planning application first became known.
These are my latest comments:
Re: Planning Application 2018/09467/PA, 193 Camp Hill, Highgate, Birmingham, B12 0JJ
“I appreciate that the applicant has made some alterations to the plans in order to try to allow construction of South West Bordesley Chord at a future date. However,I am aware that the West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) have expressed their objection to the revised plans on the grounds that the detailed plans for the chords cannot be drawn up before this application is decided. If built, the development envisaged in these plans is likely to affect both the constructability of these chords and also lead to objections from the residents and businesses that the development will introduce into the land adjoining the railway.
The Moseley community has been campaigning for the reopening of the Camphill Railway Line for passenger traffic for well over 40 years. Plans and funds are now in place for that to happen. However, the reopening is being achieved on the original lines that take the Camphill service round by St Andrew’s Junction to New Street Station. Because of the lack of capacity at New Street all that can be offered is a half-hourly service. The only way for the large number of people living within walking distance of the Hazelwell, Kings Heath and Moseley Stations to be offered a more frequent rail connection is by building chords at Bordesley so as to take the Camphill Line into Moor Street Station. It would be a very big blow for Balsall Heath, Stirchley, Kings Heath and Moseley residents if this development prevented the chords being built and the line becoming a full commuter service. The number 50 bus service is already over capacity and the air pollution on the A435 route into city is a cause for concern to many residents. The way we travel needs to be radically changed and this rail improvement is of paramount importance in achieving those changes.
I therefore urge that Planning Committee refuse this application – or require it to be reduced to the point where WMRE and TfWM are content that it will not prevent the future construction of railway chords at Bordesley”.
Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Birmingham Hall Green
I am really pleased that Birmingham City Council are fitting trip rails to preserve the green spaces along side Yardley Wood Road & Stoney Lane between Doris & Phipson Roads. David Farrow and I first started campaigning on this issue in March 2018. In September 2018 I submitted a 90 signature petition from residents calling for action to stop driving and parking of cars on these green spaces due to the damage they were causing to the grass, the danger to pedestrians and the extra pollution in an area that already suffers from excessive traffic. See my previous post about it here
Local residents campaigned years ago to stop these spaces being built on, they regularly litter pick and plant bulbs with the children from Anderton Park School. They very much value the green space as a community asset. After submitting the petition we were told there was no money, however we continued to make the case for action sending photographs and video evidence to the highways, parks dept and local police team. I organised two site visits with the head of Parks dept (who are responsible for the land) and following the second visit he agreed action was needed. This was started with the lovely planters on the corners of the greens to prevent driving across the pavement and now we have the trip rail being fitted. A big thank you and well done to the residents, especially to Elaine & Rob who didn’t give up and helped to lobby and provide the evidence we needed to get action.
I took a group from West Midlands 4 Europe to visit the European Parliament this week.
We joined up with the Lib Dem & Green MEP’s for a concert by the amazing Birmingham Folk Ensemble and the next day we held a rally getting on German and Spanish TV, the Washigton Post, Guardian and New European before visiting the European Parliament itself where we watched history in the making as MEPs debated the Brexit extension.
One of the things we learned from our visit to the European Committee of the Regions is that every region in the EU has local representatives, who help shape EU policies by working with MEPs to develop a closer relationship with local councils. They even vote on stuff! Our local representatives are Councillors Albert Bore (Birmingham) & Linda Robertson (Wychavon). Who knew that before? Suffice to say I will be asking Albert many more questions.
The sad thing that came up over and over again is how little is taught in UK schools about European history and that the EU was created as and still is a peace project. It’s like our history stopped at 1945.
Transport for West Midlands have launched a consultation into proposals to relieve congestion on the no 50 bus route including A435 Moseley & Alcester Roads between the city centre and Moseley. The proposals include widening the road on the stretch past Moseley Road baths between Brighton/Taunton Road and Haden Way to create a bus lane in to city. This would however result in the narrowing of pavements and loss of four mature trees. Another proposal is to widen the bus lane entering Moseley village and to remove the pedestrian refuge at the Salisbury Road / St Mary’s Row junction crossing from Boots to the village green. I’m all for more efficient bus travel but I cannot see how either of these proposals will make the A435 less congested, less polluted, discourage car use, discourage parking in bus lanes or improve the public realm for cyclists or pedestrians. I made a video showing where the bus lane will be.
You can see the full proposals and make your comments here The consultation closes on 22nd November
Singing happy inclusive songs near to Anderton Park School yesterday. Talking achieves more than shouting
Stewarding for thousands of young people making themselves heard in the centre of Birmingham! They were awesome and we should not underestimate how strongly they feel or how important this is.
I helped launch the Enjoy Kings Heath new charity ‘ Kings Heath Helping the Homeless’ yesterday at the street festival. It’s an alternative giving scheme similar to MAGC – Moseley Alternative Giving Campaign of which I’m also on the panel. So we will work closely together to help homeless and vulnerable people in Moseley & King Heath. Look out for collecting boxes appearing in shops, pubs & supermarkets in Kings Heath and please consider giving money there rather than directly to people who are begging.
I am so incredibly proud to be selected as Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Birmingham Hall Green
I passionately believe that as a country we are safer, stronger and better off inside the EU, working hand in hand with our friends and neighbours, with the deal we already have. Birmingham Hall Green voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU. And yet our current MP voted and campaigned to leave the EU, and despite a few words and some votes in the right places designed to placate, he has done nothing to even try to understand what the majority of us feel, our concerns and worries and our desire for unity and peace. He takes no interest in his constituency except where it will win him votes, he took sides with people who are actively promoting hate against a minority group and did not even bother to try to understand the full issues of what is going on or acknowledge the worries of the people who feel their hard won rights are being undermined and put at risk.
I cannot sit by and let him take the votes of his constituents for granted as he has done in the last two elections.
Having lived, worked and volunteered in the area for most of my life I feel I am in a good place to understand and tackle the very many issues that matter to people, such as local policing, crime, fly-tipping, pollution, poor levels of recycling and dirty streets, and to take on injustices that prevent people succeeding in life such as the housing crisis, lack of funding for schools, inequality, prejudice and racism.
“If elected I will be highly visible, hands-on, local, accountable and contactable and when someone needs help or advice I will be there for them because it doesn’t matter who they are, or what their politics are, everyone matters and we can always find common ground.
As your candidate in Birmingham Hall Green I will:
- Continue to campaign relentlessly for the UK to remain in the EU with the deal we already have.
- Fight for our environment by preventing waste, increasing re-use and recycling, expanding renewable energy and cutting air pollution.
- Make our neighbourhoods safe and clean places to live by tackling crime, championing neighbourhood policing and holding our police to account, supporting the vulnerable and homeless and working closely with community and business groups.
Our thoughts are with the police traffic officer who was brutally attacked in Moseley yesterday. This is the sort of news that as a former police officer makes me feel cold with shock. A huge well done to his colleagues who managed to catch and apprehend the attacker. Thinking of the officer, his family and colleagues today and wishing him a full recovery. It was also very shocking for the residents in the area in which it happened, some were involved as witnesses. I understand the dealings with the police at the scene have been very good. Izzy & the Moseley Lib Dem team.
Last night I spoke in front of over 1000 people who braved the pouring rain to come to the People’s Vote rally at the University of Birmingham.
I spoke about why I just had to get involved and why I am so determined to keep campaigning.
‘Because I’ve come to realise there is so much more at stake than in or out. This is about US as a country. We are being manipulated by people who don’t care about the harm THEY will do to business, to the vulnerable, to ALL OF US. These people are fanatics with no real plan, but they’re all right Jack. They will be cushioned against the impact of the brick wall they will surely hit.
I will do everything I can to halt us on this undemocratic path to disaster that an imposed no deal Brexit would be. Nobody voted to make ourselves poorer, less safe, less influential in the world. The democratic answer to the mess we are in is to go back to the people in a Peoples Vote and to show that the best deal is the one we already have’.
You can see my full speech here: Izzy’s Peoples Vote speech
I’m absolutely appalled and disgusted, but sadly not surprised:
Hall Green MP Roger Godsiff is seen in this video making a statement in which he unequivocally supports people who are openly stoking up tension between the Muslim and LGBT community, people who are endorsing and spreading homophobic lies and misinformation, who have caused fear and distress to staff and parents and nearby residents of one of our local schools, who have rejected all attempts made to mediate and reassure and who are causing hours and hours of unnecessary police and council time to be spent preventing a breach of the peace and public order offences.
If that wasn’t enough at the same surgery Roger Godsiff went onto belittle a female Labour Councillor who had come in support of members of his constituency and then casually dismissed the concerns of other constituents who had come to talk to him about how they were being made to feel by these ongoing and increasingly intimidating protests. He says he has examined both sides, but then admitted he has the books the school uses in his office but hasn’t bothered to read them.
In these volatile times of rising intolerance and increased hate crimes, when 800 children in Birmingham have called Childline about homophobic bullying, when women are beaten up by teenagers, when people are abused for talking in another language, we need MP’s who are open, honest, visible, compassionate & understanding, but who will also challenge and stand up against hate of all kinds and use their position to make positive forward looking changes, not take us back to the past where discrimination was lawful and hate crime was ignored.
Roger is more than a dinosaur, by pandering to people who want to pick and choose between hard won equality rights to suit their own beliefs he is failing his many constituents in favour of the few.
He does not represent the people of Hall Green and it is time for him to move on.
A recent appeal from EU in Brum to extend the deadline for EU citizens from 24 member states, to allow them to return form UC/1 in time to vote in the Euro elections, sadly fell on deaf ears within our government, despite the efforts of a few supportive MP’s.
As expected, thousands of non-British EU voters from 24 countries were turned away from the European election polling booths in the UK on 23rd May, including many from Birmingham.
Some people simply didn’t know about the form (in some cases the council told them incorrectly they were registered and could therefore vote). Some didn’t receive their form in a timely manner because councils (including Birmingham) were too slow sending them out. Some completed the form but their local council didn’t receive it in time. Some completed the form and returned it on time, but their local council failed to process it in time. Some fell foul of administrative mistakes made by their local council. Whatever the reason, people turned up at polling stations expecting to vote and found their name crossed out
Meanwhile in other European countries, British citizens were denied a UK postal vote because their local council sent out voting forms by the slowest possible method, which meant they did not arrive sufficiently early that they could be returned on time.
Since the government’s inadequate preparation for the European elections would appear to be in contravention of European law, The 3 Million, a group that campaigns on behalf of non-British EU citizens, is investigating legal action. They are seeking evidence, so if you were affected by this disenfranchisement you can help them by sending information through their website DeniedMyVote
Whether you were directly affected or not, please spread the word.
Also, please add your name to a government petition created by EU in Brum, calling for a public inquiry:
Again, please spread the word. They are already more than half way to getting a response from government. 100,000 signatures will ensure it is debated in Parliament.
The requirement for an EU citizen to complete an extra declaration that they will not vote in their country of origin varies between member states with the UK easily being the most bureaucratic. Citizens from Eire, Malta & Cyprus do not need to do it at all. Non German EU citizens voting in Germany are not required to fill in a form but are given a warning they commit an offence if they vote twice. Non Dutch EU citizens voting in the Netherlands fill in a form once when they first register to vote.
No person should be denied their democratic right to vote and all effort should be made to enable them to exercise that right.
Many people who have applied for a postal vote have still not received their forms to enable them to vote in the forthcoming EU elections.
If this is you and you are going away soon consider applying for a proxy vote instead. The Proxy voting form can be downloaded, scanned or photographed and sent to the electoral office by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The deadline for receipt of the proxy form by the council is 5pm Wednesday 15th May
Citizens of other EU countries who live in the UK can elect to vote for UK MEPs in the European elections on 23rd May. I contacted Birmingham City Council in early April and they assured me that a form UC1 will be sent out by Council Elections Office automatically to EU27 citizens registered to vote in the UK.
The form needs to be completed and returned to the elections office no later than Tuesday 7th May, even if it has been completed previously.
However, as I write Birmingham City Council has been woefully slow in this, with many EU27 citizens not having received anything and others contacted by email only. The local Liberal Democrat Councillors are now chasing the Elections Office to find out what is happening.
So don’t leave it to them. Download the form UC1 and send it to ensure your vote
Failing to engage properly will only lead to more disenfranchisement of EU citizens in the UK. As this Article in the Independent describes, the introduction of extra administrative burden, poorly handled by local authorities resulted in a dramatic decline of EU27 citizens voting in the UK, falling from 1,043,629 registered to vote in 2009 to 327,883 five years later in 2014.
Telephone: 0121 303 2731
Fax: 0121 212 1065
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Let’s be leaders not quitters!