Tackling rogue landlords

Izzy has written to Birmingham City Council calling for notice to be served on the owners of 65, Church Road, Moseley for building work to be immediately halted due to safety concerns.
The new owners purchased the property earlier this year with six sitting tenants. Three of them are still living in the property and have a legal right to stay until at least 13th August . Despite that the new owners have sent the builders in and completely gutted the vacated parts of the property and the communal areas.
Journalists from Birmingham Live reported the appalling conditions the tenants have been left in and approached the owners NSH Properties for comment. You can read their report here together with interviews with Izzy and the tenants.
Izzy is supporting the tenants who have been incredibly brave in speaking out. The landlords are clearly only concerned in furthering their business interests, and have demonstrated a total disregard for the responsibilities taken on as a purchaser of a property with sitting tenants. Their uncaring attitude makes them unfit to be landlords, in our view.
The statement made to the reporter that the property is to be converted back to a family home has no credibility when you consider recent planning applications to extend upwards and outwards and add more flats have been refused by Birmingham City Council.

EU Settlement Scheme Deadline is 30th June – Can you EUaskFive today?

Last month on 9th May we celebrated Europe Day, you may have seen the banner and bunting on Moseley Village Green. Moseley is the home of hundreds of EU/EEA & Swiss citizens, who enrich our community, and help make Birmingham the diverse and vibrant place we know and love. 

But there is a deadline looming, which we all need to know about. 

 30th June 2021 is the cut off period for applying to the EU settlement scheme. Many thousands of EU citizens across Birmingham have successfully obtained Settled Status, but there are still people out there who are yet to apply. They could be elderly and lived here for many years, married to a UK citizen and not aware the scheme applies to them, students who arrived before the end of the transition period or children who even though born here are not automatically eligible for UK citizenship.

It is imperative that EU citizens and non EU/UK family members who came to live in the UK before 1st January 2021  apply to the Settlement Scheme to secure  the right to remain here after 1st July. Failure to do so will leave people as undocumented migrants and could lead to loss of rights to work, study, rent or buy property and access free healthcare.

Izzy volunteers with the independent charity ‘Settled’ https://settled.org.uk/en/  to help EU/EEA & Swiss citizens and their families obtain settled status.

We are asking everyone to promote EUask5. 


Ask 5 EU/EEA or Swiss citizens if they have applied to the settlement scheme. Then ask them and all your friends and neighbours to do the same.

If you need help to apply or more information on Settled Status or EU citizens rights post Brexit you can contact me through this website, email izzy@moseleylibdems.com or call 07784 155208.

People with dual UK/other citizenship, Irish citizens and people with documented Indefinite Leave to Remain (eg a stamp or sticker in their passport ,letter from the Home Office, biometric residence permit), do not need to apply. However Irish citizens and those with Indefinite Leave to Remain can apply if they wish , and it is worth checking the Government website for why they might want to.

You can apply on line for Settled Status via the Government website

Birmingham City Council has published a list of local organisations that offer advice or help with applying.

EUask5 today

Art not tags

Izzy recently sent a dossier of photo evidence to Birmingham Police following the identification of a person graffiti tagging in the city centre. The evidence showed the tag ‘ORB’ was prolific across Moseley and Kings Heath. The person has today admitted the tagging and as part of a community resolution has agreed to be party to a Community Protection Warning (CPW), which gives him strict conditions not to carry any item which may cause any sort of graffiti damage, across the whole of Birmingham. He will be writing a letter of apology to businesses whose premises were tagged and taking part in a local graffiti clean up. He states that he will not be tagging across Bham again. These are a few of the tags, many have since been removed by businesses, the council or the community group Moseley Litterbusters. Carefully designed street art in appropriate places is a wonderful way to enhance public areas, but indiscriminate prolific thoughtless ‘tagging’ costs businesses and the public purse tens of thousands of pounds a year to remove, it impacts on the local economy and environment and increases the fear of crime and social isolation.

Statement from Bham City Council regarding Low Traffic Neighbourhoods- not before time!

Birmingham City Council have issued a statement saying they are ‘committed to work with residents and businesses to adapt and improve Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) schemes in Moseley and Kings Heath and use local feedback to shape changes’.

They have promised a ‘series of ‘quick fix’ measures to improve traffic flow in congested locations including better signage and changes to traffic signal timings’

A dedicated project board will be created to oversee any future phases, including the continued development of travel plans to encourage walking and cycling to school and full public consultation on new designs.
The council goes on to say: ‘ But we must work with communities to get this right. We now have an action plan to build on the successful aspects of the schemes and improve on what is already in place’
You can see the full statement issued here:

We welcome the statement but feel it is very late in the day to commit with working with residents and businesses when this should have been right at the heart of the project at its launch 12 months ago. From even before the scheme was first announced Izzy has been calling for a holistic, community led traffic management plan across Moseley to address the many different issues we experience including speeding and anti social driving, congested and polluted roads, reducing through traffic, enabling walking and cycling and dealing with collision hot spots.

Since the Tranche1 measures of the People for Places scheme were announced back in July 2020 Izzy has worked hard to ensure all voices have been heard in this programme, including engaging with residents through the Better Streets for Moseley group and Moseley Forum, helping with traffic counts, securing funding for hand held speed monitors for use by residents groups, making representations to councillors and officers on behalf of local businesses and residents. Izzy recently wrote on behalf of businesses in York Road who feel disenfranchised about the measures put in place and concern about lack of access for deliveries, to point out the councils own technical review into the scheme recommends some type of one way system and how this could be a compromise that would allow restricted vehicular access whilst still enabling hospitality businesses to benefit from a pedestrianised scheme which would also provide a welcome safe family area off the High Street. The review and technical review of the scheme are below

In March this year it was agreed that the design consultants, Jacobs would take part in a walking tour of the revised area for the proposed LTN to engage with residents and stakeholders. Disappointingly this still hasn’t happened. We are hoping with the release of this statement and appointment of a dedicated project board (although details of the make up or remit of this are not yet known) to see a huge improvement in the level of meaningful engagement and full consultation before further measures are implemented.

Izzy and Radley will continue to scrutinise the scheme, including the proposed action plan, to obtain feedback from residents and try to ensure all voices are heard.

St Agnes Conservation Area to expand

Consultation on boundary changes to the St Agnes Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan (CAAMP) is underway. Survey and photographic work has been carried out by St Agnes Residents’ Association. Even if you do not live in the St Agnes area, the photographs are worth looking at.
The consultation ends on Friday 4th June

Details of how to respond to the consultation can be found here: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/…/birminghams…/3

The draft document can be downloaded here: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/…/st_agnes_moseley…

Ladypool Road Cycle Lane to become segregated

Consultation has opened to create a permanent segregated cycle path on Ladypool Road between Church Road and Brighton / Taunton Road. The pedestrian crossing at Alder Lane will also be upgraded.
We welcome the move to segregate the cycle lane, which is currently not fit for purpose, as it is constantly blocked by parked cars. We hope to see it extended in future as a route in and out of the city centre through this popular and vibrant shopping area, which is in itself a destination worth a visit.
The cycle lane is proposed to be implemented in Summer 2021
The consultation closes on 11th June 2021. You can comment here https://www.birminghambeheard.org.uk/economy/ladypoolrd2/

Citizens Rights affect us all.

On Sunday we celebrated Europe Day.
This week the Guardian and Italian newspaper La Republica have reported about the treatment some Europeans have received after travelling to the UK: having their possessions taken off them, imprisoned, forbidden from making calls. It genuinely makes us feel angry and ashamed of what our government is allowing, what our government is doing, what our government is showing not just to Europe but the rest of the world. The government’s behaviour in this regard could have baleful consequences for UK citizens travelling to the EU in future and could further sour our already damaged relationships with EU member states. The outcry, and the amazing scenes in Glasgow, where an attempted deportation on the day of Eid al-Fitr was stopped by a passionate, welcoming crowd, illustrates that, more than ever, citizens’ rights need to be defended for everyone. As part of the Stories of Brexit campaign led by the European Movement, EU in Brum is proud to host its first ever webinar on Citizens’ Rights in the UK and the EU.
They have four great speakers:
Luke Piper, Head of Policy for the 3million
Fiona Godfrey, co-chair of British in Europe
Pawel Koloziej, Midlands area Service Coordinator for the charity Settled
Lord Andrew Adonis, Chair of the European Movement.
The webinar will begin at 7 pm on Friday 21st May.
You can register to join the evening here:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/…/citizens-rights-after…

Tories to cut £3,786,250 from Pupil Premium in Birmingham

Tories to cut £3,786,250 from Pupil Premium in Birmingham

Schools in Birmingham are set to lose £3,786,250 in funding for the most disadvantaged pupils in the country following the government’s decision to alter the method of calculating Pupil Premium funding.

The pupil premium, which aims to close the attainment gap by providing extra money to pupils eligible for free school meals, was a flagship reform introduced by the Liberal Democrats in government in 2011.

Freedom of information requests by Schools Week suggest that schools in Birmingham are set to lose £3,786,250 following the decision to base the funding on a school’s pupil numbers in October rather than January as previously calculated. 

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson Izzy Knowles for Birmingham Hall Green constituency said:

“This cut shows the Conservatives are more focussed on penny-pinching than on giving children the best possible education. When the attainment gap is widening and children from disadvantaged backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, it is shameful that the Tories would seek to cut pupil premium money.

“Liberal Democrats introduced the pupil premium and have had to fight the Tories to keep it properly funded. Given the financial pressure that families are under, this change has real potential to cause harm and will have a direct impact on the quality of education schools can provide for those who are in desperate need of more, not less, support.

“This is a bad move at the worst possible time. The Government must listen to teachers about the reality on the ground, not pull support when it is most needed.”

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Education and Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said: 

“Once again, disadvantaged school pupils are set to lose out as the Tories prioritise penny pinching over proper support. By moving the goalposts on the entitlement criteria for the “Pupil Premium”, thousands of children whose parents have become unemployed in the last three months will not get the crucial support they need.

“Liberal Democrats introduced the Pupil Premium because we know how vital it is to target support to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and close the gap between them and their peers.

“The Conservative Government must urgently rethink this decision or they run the risk of more disadvantaged children falling behind.”

  1. FOI data: https://schoolsweek.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Pupil-Premium-changes-3.xlsx
  2. Analysis from Schools Week: https://schoolsweek.co.uk/revealed-how-much-your-area-will-lose-from-pupil-premium-funding-change/ 

320,000 EU citizens waiting for Settled Status ahead of cliff-edge- does our current Mayor care? It seems not.

At the Moseley Forum hustings for the Mayoral election all the candidates were asked to support the campaign by The 3 million to promote the EU settlement scheme, support EU /EEA/Swiss citizens up to and beyond the deadline of 30th June and to advocate for continued local voting rights.

It was hugely disappointing to hear Andy Street state that voting rights had to be a reciprocal arrangement with each separate EU country. By not lobbying his own party for unilateral voting rights to be given to every EU/EEA/Swiss citizen with settled status he is effectively condoning the removal of the only chance millions of people have of a democratic say in the governance of the city, town or region some will have called their homes for decades. It is a terrible thing to do to thousands of people who have already been disenfranchised by the EU referendum, another vote they were unable to take part in.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for all EU citizens in the UK to be given the automatic right to stay, as new figures reveal that 323,800 are still waiting for the Home Office to process their applications. The party is warning that those who aren’t given ‘Settled Status’ by the 30th June deadline could “become the victims of another Windrush-style scandal”.

Responding to the figures, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said: “The Conservatives must guarantee the rights of EU citizens who’ve made their lives here, and contribute enormously to our economy, our public services and our society. They must not become the victims of a new Windrush-style scandal. “Over 320,000 of our friends and neighbours are facing the cruel anxiety of hoping the Home Office will grant their applications before the cliff-edge at the end of June.“There is a serious risk that hundreds of thousands of people will be left effectively undocumented and exposed to the Conservatives’ Hostile Environment. We can’t afford the Government to ignore these warnings any longer.“EU citizens in the UK have been living under a cloud of uncertainty for far too long and the buck stops with Boris Johnson who promised them the automatic right to stay. He must deliver on his promise.”

Mostly Jazz move to Highbury?

Moseley Folk Festival has applied for a licence to hold festivals in Highbury Park. This is a contingency plan in case social distancing is still needed in July and would be an alternative venue for their Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul Festival, normally held at Moseley Park and Pool

They have been in discussion with the Chamberlain Highbury Trust, other stakeholders of the park and the local authorities for some time and have produced this information sheet for residents:

At a recent Moseley Forum meeting the organiser Gerv Havill stressed any such move would be temporary . He said: ‘We have considered both Cannon Hill and Kings Heath but they’re either unavailable or unsuitable. It’s unclear what restrictions this summer or next will bring so this is very much a contingency plan. We hope that by July restrictions will be relaxed and we can remain in Moseley’. Gerv also confirmed he is in contact with local Moseley businesses and will keep them updated.

If you have any concerns or questions or would like further information you can contact Gerv by emailing info@mostlyjazz.co.uk with Highbury as the subject.

Representations or comments can be made to Birmingham City Council by emailing licensing@birmingham.gov.uk

or writing to:

General Licensing, Regulation and Enforcement, PO Box 17831 Birmingham B2 2HJ

Topsy Turvey decision on CAZ funding priorities is a further blow to the Moseley / Kings Heath rail line being opened any time soon.

The Birmingham Liberal Democrat group have requested the council’s allocation of funding from the Clean Air Zone, (CAZ) be called in for scrutiny by the Transport Committee after it was revealed that city centre pedestrian schemes costing £15,478 million would be prioritised over the allocation of funding for the Camp Hill Line and other transport projects, as well as the creation of a city wide Clean Air City Fund.

A statement from Liberal Democrat Group leader Cllr Jon Hunt and deputy leader Cllr Roger Harmer states: “This week’s decisions show that the Labour council has topsy turvy priorities. While car drivers are being kept away from the city centre, the measures that would enable drivers to switch to public transport are no longer a priority”.

You can read more in this report by Birmingham Live

£5.2million was due to be allocated to the Camp Hill Line, £3.4 million for the University Station and £4.2 million for the Cross City Bus Scheme, however these funds are now relegated to only happen if the CAZ makes sufficient revenue.

You can see the full report here:


The proposed Clean Air City Fund would see an annual allocation of £20,000 to each ward (£40,000 for two member wards) for use against a defined catalogue of measures to aid sustainable transport and improve air quality

The projected net revenue from the CAZ for 2020 to 2030 has been lowered from £85.7 million to £44.6 million so it is even more imperative that revenue is prioritised on improving public transport links to actually help people reduce their dependency on cars.

Musicians left high and dry by Brexit deal

Liam Gallagher, Sir Elton John and Bob Geldof have called on the Government to make it easier for musicians to tour around Europe. In an exclusive to The Times more than 170 musicians have urged Ministers to organise paperwork-free travel in Europe for artists on tour.  
The Brexit deal makes it extremely difficult for touring artists because they now need a costly work permit and face a mountain of paperwork for their equipment.  The extra costs will make many tours unviable, especially for young emerging musicians.Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Peter Strasburger, said:
“Predictably the government is trying to blame the EU, but the fact remains that when the going got tough during the talks on the trade deal, Tory ministers just ducked for cover and hoped the problem would go

“As a result, our creative artists have been left high and dry, including musicians, dancers, actors and their many support staff who together with the rest of the creative industries generate over £100 billion a year to our economy. They were sacrificed in a botched negotiation, just like our fishermen, our farmers, and our crucial service industries.

 “The artists who signed this letter are either furious or fearful for the future of their business, or both.  If the Conservative Government cares about these industries and the economy, they must get back around the negotiating table and get this sorted pronto.”

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Culture, Media and Sport in the Lords, Baroness Jane Bonham-Carter added:

“The creative arts sector is a massive success story for the UK economy.  It’s already in dire trouble because of Covid and this ‘friendly fire’ assault on its viability from our own government could be the last straw for many of our talented performers and backup staff.

“Artists and crews will need to apply for work permits and other detailed paperwork for many of the countries they visit.  This could make many tours unviable, particularly for younger, upcoming artists who don’t have big teams and big money behind them.

“The same applies to EU-based artists wishing to perform in the UK. That means disruption not only to seeing our favourite foreign bands and orchestras but income to festivals and all the benefits of creative co-operation too. Reciprocity is good for Britain and should not be holding back a deal for artists.”

The signatories in full:
Roger Waters; Sir Simon Rattle; Dame Sarah Connolly; Sir George Benjamin; Sir Harrison Birtwistle; Nicola Benedetti; Steven Isserlis; Stephen Hough; Sir András Schiff; Judith Weir; Roderick Williams; Amanda Roocroft; Amelia Freedman; Nash Ensemble; Anna Meredith; Anna Patalong; Benjamin Baker; Bond Quartet; Brindley Sherratt; Professor Catherine Martin; Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Catriona Price; Chi-chi Nwanoku; Chris Stark, Christian Curnyn; Claudia Huckle; Dr Mark Taylor; Elizabeth Wallfisch; Gabriella Swallow; Gina McCormack; Gregory Walmsley; Harry Bicket; Hilary Summers; Jeremy Huw Williams; Jess Gillam; Joseph Middleton; Kate Royal; Lauma Skride; Levon Chilingirian; Mahaliah Edwards; Martyn Brabbins; Michael Chance; Miloš Karadaglić; Nicholas Collon; Nicky Spence; Paul Cassidy; Peter Robinson; Prof Nicholas Daniel; Professor Julian Anderson; Professor Julian Lloyd Webber; Professor Peter Fribbins; Rakhvinder Singh; Raphael Wallfisch; Rosa Mannion; Ruth Rogers; Sean Shibe; Sheku Kanneh-Mason; Tasmin Little; the Kanneh-Mason family; Sir Elton John; Ed Sheeran; Roger Daltrey; Bob Geldof; Midge Ure; Sting; Robert Plant; Peter Gabriel; Rag’n’Bone Man; Nick Mason; Aitch; Alex Kapranos; Beabadoobee; Bicep; Brett Anderson; Brian Eno; Brian May; Bryan Adams; Captain Sensible; Charlie Burchill; Chris Difford; Danny McNamara; Dave Stewart; Fryars; Gary Kemp; Gary Numan; Glass Animals; Grace Carter; Hayden Thorpe; Hot Chip; Hugh Cornwell; Iron Maiden; Jayda G; Jim Kerr; Joss Stone; Jungle; Kasai; Kero Kero Bonito; Kim Wilde; King Krule; LA Priest; Liam Gallagher; Mark King; Mick Hucknell; Nik Kershaw; Priya Ragu & Japhna Gold; Radiohead; Rick Wakeman; Roger Taylor; Ross From Friends; Rusty Egan Visage; Sex Pistols; SG Lewis; Simian Mobile Disco; SK Shlomo; Steve Norman; Superorganism; Terry Britten; The 1975; The Darkness; Will Young; Dame Evelyn Glennie; Julia Haferkorn; David Francis; Karine Polwart; Peewee Ellis; John J. Williamson; Sam Leak; Michael Eavis; Emily Eavis; John Gilhooly; Paul Mandry; Fielding Hope, James Clutton; Deborah Annetts; James Ainscough; Alasdair Tait; Annabella Coldrick; Ashutosh Khandekar; Atlas Management; Barbara Osborne; Carol Main; Carole Tongue; Claire Owen; Daniel Miller; Danny Keir; David Martin; David Taylor; Donagh Collins; Dr Aoife Monks; Felix Howard; Graham Sheffield; Howard Goodall; James McAulay; John Gidding; Keith Harris; Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp; Lucy Heyman; Mary-Alice Stack; Patrick Woodroffe; Professor Chris Collins; Rod Smallwood; Sandra Schembri; Sir David Bell; Tom Travis; Vick Bain   :

Action needed on Billesley Lane

Following the third serious collision caused by speeding/racing drivers in Billesley Lane in less than six months I have written this email to our Councillors and local Police. (I have edited to remove some personal details):
From: Izzy Knowles <>Subject: Moseley LTN and Billesley LaneDate: 30 November 2020 at 22:02:30 GMTTo: Councillor Martin Straker Welds <>, Councillor Kerry Jenkins <>Cc: Tom O’Keeffe <t.okeeffe@west-midlands.pnn.police.uk>, Neil Kirkpatrick <n.kirkpatrick@west-midlands.pnn.police.uk>
Dear Martin & Kerry, Tom and Neil
I have not long come inside from the scene of yet another crashed car on the corner of Greenhill Road and Billesley Lane at approx 18.30hrs this evening. From talking to neighbours it would appear two cars were racing each other down the hill from the direction of Kings Heath. The driver of the red Skoda in the photo has lost control on hitting the bend as he approached Greenhill Road junction, shot across the mouth of the junction, hit a bag of builders sand that was on the verge and spun into the tree, damaging the wall.The three occupants then left the scene in the second car which pulled up along side. Whilst I was talking to one of the neighbours three males turned up and started to remove items from the car, including the keys which had been left in the ignition. They all left again when I called the police. However over an hour later the police had still not arrived. The reason I’m writing is that this is the third similar collision on Billesley Lane in less than six months where vehicles have left the road at speed and crashed into houses or garden walls. As you know my neighbours and I have been recording traffic flow and volume at various junctions for the last few months, both before and after the modal filters were recently put in place in School Road and Cambridge Road . Our findings show a significant increase of traffic using both Greenhill Road and Oxford Road to travel between Kings Heath/Moseley and so adding to the pressure of traffic on Billesley Lane especially at these two junctions. Billesley Lane is not a major road. It has a high volume of cyclists and pedestrian traffic as well as vehicles. It is crossed by many pupils walking to and from local primary and secondary schools. St Agnes Church Hall on the corner of Dyott Road is in normal non lockdown times used by mother and toddler groups, pre school, cubs and brownies and various after school clubs with both children and adults frequently crossing the road at this junction. The One Stop shop is a very busy local shop used by many families who walk or cycle.Moseley Tennis Club is used by families and children, again many walk or cycle to classes or events.Two of these recent crashes have happened in the early evening when pedestrian traffic is normally heavier. Speeding and racing has long been an issue on roads like Billesley Lane. However this year it has become much more prevalent. Collisions like this one, although not resulting in injury are incredibly upsetting and frightening to residents and to passers by. However, possibly because there was no injury, they are not being taken seriously by the police.Residents who have lived on or near this road have felt ignored for a long time. They are now concerned they will be left to bear the burden of the redirected traffic from other roads within the LTN and incidents like this will increase.We have a real opportunity to address this now. I am urging you to ensure that Billesley Lane is considered for some serious traffic calming measures which could even involve re modelling the junctions.I’m also asking that the police please take much more interest including robust investigation of reports of no insurance, dangerous driving and fail to stop as well as increased speed checks during the evenings and partnership working to obtain more equipment and traffic calming measures in known collision hot spots. I look forward to hearing from you
Best wishes
Izzy

Time to Give Carers the Voice they Deserve

The Liberal Democrats are asking people across our community who care for relatives to get in touch and share their story – to mark national Carers Rights Day. 

Liberal Democrat party leader Ed Davey has said he wants the party wants to be a “strong voice” for the millions across the country – including the 11964 people in Birmingham Hall Green Constituency who care for those who need it. 

Ed himself knows the burden put on carers for family members – having been a carer for his mum when growing up and now caring for his disabled son.

Carers can get in touch and share their experiences at www.libdems.org.uk/carerssurvey

Izzy Knowles said:

“Millions of people across the country act as unpaid carers for loved ones. This year has highlighted more than ever the issues many of them face.”

“If you are a carer – or someone who receives regular care support from a relative of a friend – we want to hear from you. Please get in touch with us and share your story.”

Lib Dems urge Chancellor to “level the playing field” for small shops over Christmas

The Liberal Democrats have today called on the Chancellor to “level the playing field” to help small high streets compete with internet giants in the run up to Christmas.

The Liberal Democrat fear local shops hit by decreased footfall during the coronavirus pandemic will continue to struggle and have therefore proposed a new scheme in a similar vein to how the Eat Out to Help Out scheme aided restaurants.

To encourage people to shop local from home to save the high street, the Party wants to see the Government cover the costs of postage and have appealed to all MP’s to back the campaign. 

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has welcomed the idea to help firms survive. Mike Cherry, National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “This is the type of creative idea that would boost small businesses and balance out the playing field.”

Hall Green Liberal Democrat spokesperson Izzy Knowles said:

“Small businesses in Hall Green constituency are worried about their ability to stay afloat over the coming months. For so many, Christmas is their most lucrative time of year but coronavirus restrictions have caused footfall to nosedive.

“When people turn online to do their Christmas shopping, free postage offers from online shopping giants are incredibly tempting. That makes it even tougher for our local small businesses putting our high streets at further risk. Ministers must level the playing field.”

Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP added:

“In the Summer, the Chancellor launched a campaign to support the hospitality sector. We now need to see this Government go the extra mile to support small business in the festive period.

“We want the Chancellor to pay the postage on online purchases from small local independent shops to make them a more viable option for people hunting for Christmas presents and encourage people to shop small from home.”

Mike Cherry, National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“This is the type of creative idea that would boost small businesses and balance out the playing field.

“We must do everything we can to help our small, independent stores.

“This is going to be the most important festive season our economy has ever seen and could be make-or-break for some of our small businesses.

“That’s why we must pull out all the stops to help them survive the end of 2020 and beyond.”

The text of the letter sent from Christine Jardine is as follows: “Dear Rishi, I would like to ask you to consider a support scheme for small businesses through the festive season which would help them in a similar way to the ‘eat out to help out’ campaign which the Government funded in the summer. Small businesses in England are missing out on business in precious lucrative months and in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland footfall is still significantly reduced even though a full lockdown hasn’t been imposed. I urge you to explore pathways to pay the postage on online purchases from small local independent shops to make them a more viable option for people hunting Christmas presents and encourage people to shop small from home. The free postage offers from online shopping giants and the ease of using Amazon Prime are incredibly tempting for those Christmas shopping online.  Paying postage on each individual Christmas purchase is a burden that is likely to repel shoppers from picking small retailers. That makes it an even tougher climate for small business and shut shops.The prohibitive nature of these costs rings especially true for those in remote or rural communities for whom delivery charges are unjustly steep. I am urging to embrace this idea as a way to stimulate traffic to small business sites. Removing the delivery cost burden would encourage shoppers to select individual items from different small shops – rather than resorting to bulk buy from large suppliers. I look forward to your response. Yours sincerely, Christine Jardine”

Lords defeat Government on Immigration Bill

The Government has tonight been defeated on the Immigration Bill, including amendments from the Liberal Democrats to protect the British nationals living in the EU and EU citizens in the UK. An amendment from Baroness Hamwee to preserve the right of UK nationals living in the EU to bring non-British family members with them if they return to the UK was passed this afternoon.

Another amendment passed tonight, tabled by Liberal Democrat peer Jonny Oates, to force the Government to provide EU citizens in the UK who are granted Settled or Pre-Settled Status with physical proof of their migration status – instead of the digital-only proof under the Government’s current system.


Izzy wrote a letter in support of this amendment as part of the campaign. https://deniedmybackup.org.uk/

She wrote: ‘I have recently helped two gentleman in their 80’s to get settled status. One Swedish and one Italian. They have both lived in the UK since their 20’s, contributing to our economy and community for over 60 years. One worked as a nurse in the NHS and the other opened a string of restaurants throughout the Midlands. Both these gentleman were very confused and upset when they learned they would not be given physical proof of their settled status. The Italian gentleman does not use email and will be totally reliant on his son’s help if and when he is asked in future to prove his status in the UK. He is a proud man and does not want to have to bother his son.  
They are both eligible to apply under the Windrush scheme – but it is more paperwork, involves sending their passport to the Home Office and is not something I am qualified to help them with. Even then a card will only be valid until 2024. Both have found obtaining settled status stressful already, they were in denial about it for some time. They have had difficulty understanding why they would need to apply to two schemes and so far have not taken the Windrush opportunity.  People need to prove their immigration status throughout life – when seeking a new job opportunity, finding a place to live or getting treatment in hospital. Where British citizens use their passport as proof and non-EU citizens have a biometric residence card as backup, EU citizens can only prove their new immigration status through the Home Office website. If any one part of the digital checking process fails, people without a physical form of backup will be vulnerable. We should not have a two-tier system for proving the right to stay in the UK, with inferior access for EU citizens. A digital-only immigration status will create new barriers for EU citizens – especially the elderly and most vulnerable, who may not have the necessary digital skills and who need alternative ways of accessing services. This is not a fair way to treat our friends and neighbours. I worry about my two elderly gentlemen if they are asked to prove their status, especially if it were in a stressful situation such as needing urgent medical treatment.’

The bill will now go to the House of Commons. We will need your help to convince Conservative MP’s to do the decent thing and vote for these two amendments. You can help, follow the campaign https://deniedmybackup.org.uk/ Write to MP’s and demand they keep their promise made in the Leave campaign that ‘No one will be treated any less favourably’

Moseley Lib Dems launch petition to re-open toilet blocks in Cannon Hill Park

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Sign the petition here

The public toilets in Cannon Hill Park, the biggest public park in Birmingham, have been padlocked up since May. The notice on the doors says ‘ closed due to the Covid19 pandemic’. The one disabled toilet (near to the entrance) has been out of use for much longer than that.

The MAC toilets are unavailable due to the facility being closed, and will not re-open this year. The cafe toilet is closed to members of the public.

Cannon Hill Park is a busy city park. It is visited every day by walkers, cyclists, dog walkers, and especially by young families who come from miles around to enjoy the green open space, to play tennis and to enjoy the mini golf, children’s train, boats and fair ground rides. This Bank Holiday there were hundreds of people enjoying the park.

It is not acceptable that there are no public toilets for them to use. It is not acceptable that there is no disabled toilet facility.

People are resorting to using the bushes as a public toilet – litter pickers have reported finding piles of human excrement and tissues.

Birmingham City Council has recently re-instated car park charges for the Cannon Hill Park car park. A FOI request in 2018 revealed in a 9 month period the city obtained over £250, 000 in car park revenue. Even with the drop of revenue between March and June 2020 it is reasonable to assume the council will have obtained sufficient revenue to absorb costs that additional cleaning and monitoring of the toilet block would entail.

There is no precedence for keeping the toilet block closed. Parks in other cities have full facilities open to the public with cleaning schedules and sanitiser.

We are calling for Birmingham City Council to re-open the public toilets in Cannon Hill Park without any further delay.

 Sign the petition here

 

 

Contentious School Road closure back on the table

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For anyone wanting to see the history of the closure of School Road please see my previous blogs:

School Road Closure – Your chance to comment.

School Road Closure – latest

School Road Closure Scheme gets closer

Further update to the School Road closure proposal

Traffic Management in School Road

In February 2019 a petition was presented to Councillor Zaffar of Birmingham City Council calling for a traffic impact assessment study and a full consultation on the six separate options that had been proposed.

In February 2019 Cllr Zaffar and our two ward Councillors, Kerry Jenkins and Martin Straker Welds committed at a ward meeting to a full consultation before any preferred option was selected.

Fast forward to June 2020:

It is very unfortunate that despite a number of requests for progress and assurances it was due ‘any time soon’ the promised consultation has never taken place. Had it happened in good time this continuing debate would have been decided a long time ago.

The proposal to close the road has now been resurrected as part of the Emergency Birmingham Transport Plan 

There is to be no consultation on this plan which is using emergency powers.  Whether these are being correctly used to re introduce pre – existing schemes is a possible future debate.

People who have been calling for action to deal with the traffic issues on School Road for the last three years  are rightfully happy that something is finally happening, but there is also a clear sense of frustration amongst a wider group of residents, who understandably feel that the Covid19 situation is being used to push through unpopular and ill thought out measures via the back door, and that once again their views are being ignored.

I feel that the Council should now be absolutely clear with residents what the real aim of this scheme is. It is currently being sold as temporary measures to assist with social distancing, however what are the longer term aims? Is it to solve the issue of vehicles mounting the pavement on one short and narrow section of School Road or is it to introduce the beginnings of a Mini Holland low traffic neighbourhood to the wider area? I believe this vagueness over several years has helped to exacerbate the contentiousness of the scheme and has caused distrust, confusion and uncertainty.

I look forward to learning of the finalised proposals and how they are to be communicated to the local community. I anticipate there will be more representations as the wider community, especially those not engaged on social media, become aware. I am sure there will be many more demands  for traffic calming measures in surrounding streets. I am aware residents in Cambridge Road, Greenhill Road, Oxford Road, Prospect Road, Springfield Road and Billesley Lane are all concerned of an increase in traffic displaced due to this scheme.

Billesley Lane already suffers from an alarming number of serious incidents of excessive speed. Only last month a racing, out of control car and it’s driver ended up in front gardens and badly damaged two houses, and there have been at least one fatal and several very serious accidents. Is it really fair to those residents that more traffic should be diverted down this already busy road, without their being even given a chance to make representations?

So to address all of this and to restore community confidence in local consultation and involvement I have proposed to the Councillors that a working group be set up with representatives who can communicate with people from all of the affected streets, to also include members of the community who are often forgotten, such as people with limited mobility who rely on the car to get about. The brief would be to properly discuss and examine the options first put forward to residents in 2018,  with as much evidence as possible and support from people with expertise in traffic management and council officers.

They would also gather evidence of issues in surrounding streets and aspirations of residents in dealing with them. The end result should be a decent community led neighbourhood plan, which could be a low traffic neighbourhood or something else, to be implemented possibly in stages but with a time line and evidenced rationale.

The group could report to the Councillors ward meeting, to the Moseley Forum or to the Moseley Regeneration group.

Please let me know what you think. You can email me at izzy@moseleylibdems.com

Izzy nominated for an award for helping people amidst coronavirus crisis 

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Izzy volunteers with TAWS to deliver food parcels to vulnerable people. She also helps run Moseley Together ‘neighbours helping neighbours’ 

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.”

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Preparing salad to go with a meal to be delivered to 300 vulnerable and isolated people across the city. 

Moseley Village Station planning application now on line.

Moseley Overhead
Proposed new Moseley station

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:

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WMRE / BCC proposal: Four way traffic light controlled crossing

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Moseley Forum proposal: Roundel with zebra crossings for pedestrians and cyclists

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.  

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Proposed concourse  

 

 

 

5G masts in Moseley

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’

  1. 2020/02619/PA  – Moor Green Lane outside Pitmaston House. Submit comments online by 14/05/20
  2.  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 james.herd@birmingham.gov.uk 

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Moor Green Lane

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St Mary’s Row

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Stoney 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.

Moseley Pulls Together

If you live in Moseley and need support: call or text 07796 668257 or email info@moseleytogether.org.uk

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.

We are putting together a network of volunteers and co-ordinators across the ward, but split into polling districts to make it manageable for everyone, include some safeguards and to help neighbours to help each other.
We have set up a central help line at the CDT. Initial details are obtained of the help required and then a co-ordinator (who could be home based) is asked to make contact with the person, help put them in touch with a volunteer  and do a quick check afterwards with both parties for any feedback or issues.
You can find more details on our WEBSITE  and how to sign up to volunteer with us or receive our daily newsletter.
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Make YOUR Votes Matter in Brum

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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