Birmingham Lib Dems call for energy grants to save our high streets

Birmingham Hall Green Liberal Democrats are demanding the Government rescue hundreds of small local businesses in Birmingham from soaring energy bills, warning that lack of action could see the area’s high streets turning into “ghost towns.”

Since businesses are not covered by the Ofgem energy price cap, many are expecting to see their bills skyrocket by 400% in the coming months.

The Liberal Democrat rescue package would offer grants up to £50,000 to help small businesses cope, giving them a lifeline to keep their doors open. The plans would benefit 20,020 small and medium-sized businesses in Birmingham, from family-owned high street shops to hairdressers.

This would include the 1000 plus cafes, restaurants, pubs and other hospitality businesses in the Local Authority area including over 150 in Birmingham Hall Green Constituency.

Under the proposed Liberal Democrat scheme, small businesses would be able to apply for Government grants covering 80% of the increase in their energy bills for one year, up to a maximum of £50,000. Nationally the proposals would help 1.4 million small businesses across the UK.

The party is also calling on the new Prime Minister to introduce laws to support families and businesses with spiralling energy costs as soon as Parliament returns next week.

The scheme would cost an estimated £10 billion and could be met by reversing the Conservatives’ planned tax cuts for big banks, which are seeing their profits grow with rising interest rates. That would include cancelling the Government’s cut to the Bank Surcharge that is due to take effect in April 2023 and restoring the Bank Levy to 2015 levels, raising £10.6 billion over the next four years.

Liberal Democrat Councillor and Parliamentary Spokesperson for Birmingham Hall Green Izzy Knowles said:

Our local high streets risk being devastated by spiralling energy costs and turned into ghost towns, but the Conservatives don’t seem to get it or even care.

“Local shops, cafes and restaurants that survived through the Coronavirus pandemic, could now be taken down by soaring energy costs and forced to close their doors unless the Government steps up urgently. 

“We need this energy bailout now to save our high streets, rescue small businesses and keep prices down for local families. 

“We’ve known this hike was coming for months and the Government has done nothing. 

“We cannot waste more time. The new Conservative Prime Minister must act immediately to protect families and small businesses in Birmingham as soon as Parliament returns.”

Moseley Village Cycle Route Consultation open

Birmingham City Council has published its latest consultation to install a two way cycle lane in Moseley Village on the out of city side of Alcester Road between Chantry Road and St Mary’s Row. The pavement will also be widened from outside Cafephilia and Maison Mayci to the start of the cycle way at the pedestrian crossing. The crossing will be upgraded from the existing Pelican to a Toucan crossing to allow pedal cycles to be ridden across.

The council is proposing the following changes:

  • Removing on street parking to create a bi-directional, segregated cycle route on the south bound (out of city) carriageway of Alcester Road and St Mary’s Row (from outside the Co-op to The Bull’s Head)
  • Upgrading the existing pelican crossing (outside Evergreen Chinese take-away) to a toucan crossing for use by pedestrians and cyclists
  • Creating a shared use footway for pedestrians and cyclists linking the upgraded toucan crossing to future cycle route on Chantry Road
  • Permanently widening the footway along the Alcester Road (outside of Cafephillia going south towards the Co-op)
  • Constructing footway and ramps at the King Edward Road/Alcester Road junction
  • Re-positioning bus stop (outside of Co-op) to accommodate cycle lane
  • Creating two disabled parking spaces on King Edward Road and two on St Mary’s Row
  • Creating a loading bay on King Edward Road

Sections of the cycle lane will be suspended for the monthly Farmers Market.

The consultation can be seen here and is open until 30th September.

Two engagement events will take place:

On line on teams: Tuesday 20 Sep 2022 at 17:30 to 18:30 (Link not working so email if you’d like to attend)

In person drop in session at the Moseley Exchange: Thursday 22 Sep 2022 from 16:00 to 19:00

Councillor Knowles will be attending the online and drop in sessions and we are very keen to hear your views on these proposals. You can email us at moseleylibdems@gmail.com

Kings Heath & Moseley Places for People / LTN Engagement Events

Birmingham City Council have announced a programme of localised face to face events for residents to discuss the revised design for phase two of the Kings Heath & Moseley Places for People Scheme. This is following the publication of a design released earlier this year.

Despite representations made by Cllr Knowles they say this is not a further consultation but they are seeking views on some local issues about how the scheme would work close to individual locations. For example, there are some parts of the design where a modal filter is shown on a stretch of road and they would like residents to be involved in deciding its exact position.

Residents and businesses within the scheme, including those on boundary roads should receive a letter inviting them to book onto a session via Eventbrite which will be especially aimed at their coloured section on the published map.

Anyone not having internet access can call 07537 130817 and leave a message including name, address, contact number and detail of the session they would like to attend. (Please note, this is for event bookings only, not to discuss the scheme).

For anyone who cannot attend the event specific to their location, a final event will be held on Saturday 1st October, with time slots beginning at 10.30am, 11.30am and 12.30pm. This session can be booked via KHandM_final.eventbrite.co.uk.

Businesses are welcome to attend the session specific to their location but there is also a separate event for businesses across the scheme at 5pm on Wednesday 28 September. To book for that event, please visit KHandM_business.eventbrite.co.uk.

What happens next?

The final decision of whether to go ahead with phase two of the Places for People in Kings Heath and Moseley scheme will be made later this year by the Council’s Cabinet Committee. Should Cabinet approve implementation of phase two, they aim to introduce these measures in early 2023. Should Cabinet decide not to approve the implementation of phase two measures, phase one measures would be removed, also in early 2023.More information

More information is available at www.birmingham.gov.uk/placesforpeople.

The Council team can be contacted via connected@birmingham.gov.uk with any questions or you can get in touch with Councillor Knowles at izzy.knowles@birmingham.gov.uk
Izzy will be attending all of the engagement events in order to listen to residents and help answer questions.

Birmingham Lib Dems manifesto

LISTENING, LOCALISM, AND LIBERALISM – A NEW START FOR BIRMINGHAM.

Liberal Democrats in Birmingham have launched their manifesto for the May elections in Birmingham City, and Sutton Coldfield Parish, with a challenge to the stale, tired politics of Labour vs Conservative parties.

Key policies for Liberal Democrats in this election manifesto include:

  • Liberal Democrats would give Birmingham’s struggling waste collection services 12 months to sort themselves out. If the problems of missed collections and poor recycling rates cannot be resolved, the Lib Dems would bring in partners to provide services in different parts of the city, the manifesto says.
  • Liberal Democrats call for radical devolution of power and resources to communities in the city, meaning genuine consultation with residents on any proposed changes to their communities
  • Prioritising safety around schools, by proposing funding for up to 400 “walking bus conductors” who would be the key to creating safe streets round the city’s schools for children and families
  • Liberal Democrats would focus on ensuring streets are kept clean, fly-tippers prosecuted and residents have accessible, free services for waste collection in their streets.
  • The Liberal Democrats say that under Labour, the Council has failed to listen to the concerns of its residents, spending money on “vanity projects” rather than basic services – and that this must be reversed.


Speaking on the manifesto, Cllr Jon Hunt, group leader for the Lib Dems on Birmingham Council, said:

“People across the city are crying out for change, demanding a new direction for their community. Lib Dems have been demanding better and achieving much from opposition. We need more Lib Dems elected for positive change in Birmingham.

“Birmingham city ward and Sutton Coldfield Parish ward residents and businesses are fed up with a Conservative government that’s given up caring, and a Birmingham Labour-run council that has long stopped listening.

“Liberal Democrats agree with residents that our local areas need more power, more investment, and more care. As we recover from the pandemic, we need investment across our communities, not just spent in one area on vanity projects.

“I’m very proud of this manifesto, and even prouder of the work across our city by hard-working Lib Dems. We want to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, fight against climate change for a secure future, and ensure people finally get a genuine say in their own communities.

“The Conservative party has shown that it can’t lead, and Birmingham Labour doesn’t listen. People want change, people want a brighter future, and that’s what can be had by voting Lib Dem on May 5.”

The manifesto can be downloaded HERE (PDF)

Kings Heath & Moseley Places for People project

With the local elections only a month away, we’ve been asked by a number of residents for our stance on the Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN), especially in regards to the latest update released by Birmingham Labour. The update is only available online but we can take a paper copy to anyone who cannot access it.

We recognise the LTN is an emotive subject with strong feelings both for and against. Over the next few days we will be delivering a letter, which explains our position as set out below, to all households within the area in Moseley ward defined by the council as part of the project, including boundary roads.

We believe that the results from the public consultation, published by the Labour Council in March 2022, demonstrate that we were right to be worried about Birmingham Labour’s scheme.

One of the fundamental flaws of the project is that Moseley has been dragged into a Kings Heath project to resolve the congestion problems in Kings Heath High Street. The revised scheme for Moseley is not fundamentally about resolving traffic problems in Moseley.

This is what we said about the Council’s original consultation which took place in late 2021:
“This is a scheme to reduce traffic in residential areas, particularly for shorter distances, and to promote walking and cycling. We support such broad aims but would only support an evidence-based solution that works and that does not divide communities”.

This is what we will do if we are elected as councillors on 5th May:

  1. We will take up our places on the Project Review Board set up by the Council to manage Places for People. It is currently made up of four Labour councillors and two Labour MPs.
  2. We would examine the evidence and rationale behind the new proposals and any modelling that has taken place. We are especially concerned about the impact on the less mobile and the boundary roads and would want reassurances as to how those things are to be addressed.
  3. As Councillors we would have the power to refer the project to a scrutiny committee and to insist on a full consultation before implementation. Currently the plan is for the proposals to be signed off by cabinet and then implemented under an Experimental Traffic Order (which means they would install the measures and consult during the first six months).
  4. We will insist on before and after traffic modelling and robust air pollution monitoring to assess the impact of any changes.

The Birmingham Lib Dems are in favour of increasing cycling provision, making our streets safer by use of average speed cameras, better enforcement against anti-social driving and parking and lobbying for a decent public transport system that encourages people away from cars.

Izzy & Radley – Liberal Democrat candidates for Moseley Ward

Community Speedwatch – Anderton Park Road

Izzy went out with the Moseley Community Speedwatch team again yesterday, helped by our local PCSO’s. This time we were in Anderton Park Road at the junction of Woodstock Road.

10 drivers will be sent warning letters for exceeding 20mph. The main aim of Speedwatch is to raise public awareness of the dangers of speeding. It is not designed to fine or prosecute people, but if really dangerous driving is witnessed the PCSO’s will follow that through.

Most traffic collisions are caused by drivers losing concentration or if at traffic lights because they think they can beat the lights. No one sets out on a journey to injure someone or wreck their car, so if we can make people think more about their standards of driving that is a good thing.

The Community Speedwatch team is now out regularly in different parts of Moseley so if you see them say hello. They are all volunteer residents giving up their time to promote road safety across the area.

Damaged grass verge – Admiral Place

We have been helping residents in Admiral Place who have been trying for months to stop the bin lorries driving over and damaging the grass verge. They were in contact with the council numerous times but getting no solution. We have now identified which lorry was causing the issue and the cause, that it was unable to negotiate the turn to collect from flats in the grove. We have arranged for a smaller lorry to be allocated to that collection which fingers crossed will solve the problem. Yesterday the council also came out at our request and cut back overgrown bushes along the side of Fleetwood House. The next job will be to get the grass verge repaired. We have also reported the pot holes for repair.

Radley gets a new Streetwatch group up and running

Radley has joined up with local residents to form the ‘Chantry & the Parks’ Streetwatch team. This is now the fifth Streetwatch team in Moseley working closely with the local Neighbourhood Police Team. Izzy is a member of the St Agnes Streetwatch group.

Streetwatch is about local residents promoting good citizenship and supporting a better neighbourhood by patrolling their own streets. They provide visible reassurance and appropriately engage in local issues that matter most to your community. Patrols help to stop crime and anti-social behaviour. They also help people in the area get to know each other.
You can learn more about Streetwatch here

Save The Dell in Wake Green Park

We have recently been made aware of the proposals of the Wake Green Park Management Company to sell a piece of land on the site to the property developer MIA Property group. We are extremely concerned about this decision and the impact it will have on residents of Wake Green Park, particularly those in Bowen Court as they over look the site.

We have written to the Wake Green Park management company via their managing agents. Metro PM to make representations on behalf of residents:

Dear Metro PM 

We have been contacted by a number of residents of Wake Green Park in Moseley concerning the sale of the wooded area at the   rear of Bowen Court known as The Dell.

We understand from a conversation I had with a representative from Metro PM on 18th February that the Management board for Wake Green Park have instructed you to start the statutory process required to sell this land and that an offer of £500,000 has been received from MIA property group. If the land is sold MIA will presumably apply for planning permission to develop it as a separate site to Wake Green Park with the entry/exit from Yardley Wood Road.  

From our conversations with residents, who are also shareholders, it seems that although a vote was held two years ago to erect security gates at the site many were unaware of the sale of the Dell until they received notification via yourselves earlier this month.

They were also not made aware that The Dell was designated a nature conservation area by Birmingham City Council in 1985 and has a Tree Preservation Order. It is also the home to a badger sett.

Although we understand that Wake Green Management board members are elected to represent their shareholders we are concerned that this significant decision, which will affect the many residents on the site, who have little or no access to green open spaces, has been made with insufficient consultation. 

We are aware that leaseholders have a statutory period in which they could make an offer to purchase the land themselves, however we feel this is not a realistic option judging on the number of units in the estate and arguably the land does already belong to shareholders as part of their lease.

We are therefore writing to make representations to the Wake Green Management board to urge them to further consult with leaseholders to properly inform them of:

a) the history and significance of The Dell as a nature reserve, which has an abundance of wildlife including a protected badger sett and a TPO.

b) the rationale behind the decision to sell the site.

c) full details of how the revenue from the sale of the site are proposed to be used.   

We are aware there is an AGM on 10th March and this would be an opportunity to discuss the issue with residents but we also urge the board to write to shareholders with this information if possible before the AGM.

We would be grateful for an acknowledgement of this email and that it has been forwarded to board members.

Best wishes

Izzy Knowles

Izzy Knowles & Radley Russell
Moseley Lib Dems
Local*Visible*Hands On

Hotel application for the Village Inn

The owners of the The Village Inn, Moseley have submitted a planning application to build hotel accommodation in their rear car park area. They presented their plans to the Regeneration group on Tuesday evening. The application is for 47 double bedrooms and a function suite. The existing pub area will be unchanged and the terrace will also remain, but the area where the glass room is will be incorporated into the new wing. The site will retain 20 car parking spaces and enclosed cycle parking. No mature trees will be removed.

You can view and comment on the plans here: http://eplanning.idox.birmingham.gov.uk/publisher/mvc/listDocuments?identifier=Planning&reference=2021/09791/PA

Support 5 daily to become more sustainable.

A planning application has been submitted by the owner of 5 Daily, the fruit and vegetable stall at the entrance to Moseley village car park. He has applied to erect a zero carbon, semi permanent wooden structure as a sustainable way of developing his business, in order to continue to serve the Moseley community and address the difficulties he faces in setting up and taking down his stall each day. Izzy has already written to Birmingham City Council in support of this application. She says: ‘The proposed design based on a pineapple and complementing the Moseley roofscape together with the zero carbon emissions and Mohammed’ s clear commitment to the local community fully complements all of the aspirations of the various community groups, and the vision set out in the Moseley Supplementary Planning Document which says : Moseley will be a creative and enterprising urban neighbourhood that makes a distinctive contribution to the city’s economic and cultural life, whilst retaining its unique sense of place and history’
We believe 5 Daily is a real asset to our village. We really hope this application is granted and we wish Mohammed every success.

The planning application can be accessed here and you can also make comments.

http://eplanning.idox.birmingham.gov.uk/publisher/mvc/listDocuments?identifier=Planning&reference=2021/10417/PA

Izzy awarded BEM for services to the community in Moseley, particularly during Covid – 19

Izzy is recognised across Birmingham for her devotion to community work, supporting the people and businesses in and around Moseley. With work such as building teams to help keep our streets clean, helping the homeless, organising the annual Christmas Lights and working with St Johns Ambulance on vaccinating people to protect them during the pandemic, Izzy is well-placed to receive this award. 

Izzy had previously spent 30 years as a West Midlands Police Officer, finishing her career as a Neighbourhood Police Sergeant. Izzy is now a driving force in various community groups, such as the Moseley Farmers Market, Moseley Litter Busters, and Moseley Together which was created to support the community through the Covid 19 pandemic.

Speaking on the news that she is included in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list, Izzy Knowles BEM, said:

“I’m very humbled to have been nominated for this award, and am honoured to receive it, especially as it’s for my work in the community. 

“I am very privileged to volunteer with so many wonderful people, who are also dedicated to our communities. I’d like to thank all of them for the continued support they give me and our city. This award is for them, as much as for me. 

“I have lived in or near Moseley for over 40 years – I am a very proud Moseleyite, and Brummie. After spending my career in public service, it is my pleasure to continue serving the community as a volunteer.

“Change is made by people working together on the ground and I am happy to do my bit to help make Moseley and Birmingham a clean, safe and welcoming place to live, work and visit.”

Speaking in support of Izzy’s award, Jon Hunt, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Birmingham City Council said:

“This is a very well–deserved award, which rightly highlights the amazing work Izzy has long done for our community. Izzy is incredibly popular because she is recognised as wanting to help the community, and actually getting stuff done. 

“Izzy’s approach of being local, visible, and hands on has served Moseley and the surrounding areas incredibly well, especially during these constrained, worrying times. People reach out to Izzy if they need help, as they know they’ll get the support they need.

“I’m proud to work with Izzy, and the people of Moseley and the rest of Birmingham are very lucky to have her.”

Figures reveal NINE IN TEN Christmas burglaries in the West Midlands go unsolved 

Most burglaries committed in the West Midlands during the Christmas period go unsolved by the police, new analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

3630 burglaries in West Midlands Police area went unsolved by police in the period between October and December 2020.

The figures also reveal there is usually a spike in burglaries over the Christmas period in the area. In the last five years, police recorded an average of 386 domestic burglaries per week in October, November and December. This compares to an average of 328 burglaries a week during the rest of the year.

The period between Christmas and New Year can prove particularly fruitful for burglars, with homes full of new presents left empty as occupants visit family elsewhere. The Liberal Democrats are calling for a return to community policing to keep families safe and bring criminals committing burglaries to justice. 

Izzy is a member of Birmingham East Police IAG. She will be making representations to the local Police Commander:
“Everyone should be able to feel safe in their own homes over the Christmas period, and know that if someone does break in they will be caught and punished. But with the vast majority of burglaries going unsolved, that’s simply not the case for far too many victims of crime. The collapse of neighbourhood policing has resulted in poorer investigations, little or no feedback to victims and a huge drop in intelligence available to officers to work on to detect and prevent crime.

“This Conservative government’s failure to tackle crime is letting victims down and letting criminals get away with it.

“Liberal Democrats are working hard to make our communities safe and help residents feel safe too. We need a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible, trusted and known personally to local people.”

The Party is over for Boris Johnson

We are absolutely thrilled that the West Midlands has a new Liberal Democrat MP after the historic bi-election result in North Shropshire announced early this morning. Huge congratulations to Helen Morgan and North Shropshire Liberal Democrats for turning over a 30,000 majority to take the seat from the Conservatives who had held it for 200 years. This is Helens speech:

“I’d like to thank the Returning Officer, his staff and my fellow candidates for a well run election in the most challenging circumstances. 

“To my husband Rob, our son, Ben, and the rest of my family, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your love and support.

“I’d also like to thank my election agent Chris Lovell-Morgan, my incredible campaign team, the local party here in North Shropshire, and the thousands of Liberal Democrat campaigners who answered our Party’s call.

“Your amazing efforts have delivered a gift of hope to our country, just in time for Christmas.

“Tonight, the people of North Shropshire have spoken on behalf of the British people. 

“They have said loudly and clearly: ‘Boris Johnson, the party is over’.

“Your government, run on lies and bluster, will be held accountable. It will be scrutinised, it will be challenged and it can and will be defeated.

“Across the country, the Liberal Democrats are taking on the Conservatives and winning.

“In rural Shropshire today – just like in Buckinghamshire in June – we have won the support of people who have always voted Conservative and people who have always opposed them.

“Thousands of lifelong Conservative voters, dismayed by Boris Johnson’s lack of decency and fed up with being taken for granted.

“And thousands of lifelong Labour voters, choosing to lend their votes to the candidate who can defeat the Conservatives.

“People who believe that our politics should be about creating a better country for us all, not a nightly soap opera of calamity and chaos.

“All of them, casting their ballots for the Liberal Democrats.

“And let me say specifically to all those Labour supporters who lent me their votes today: thank you.

“You have shown tonight that, together, we can defeat the Conservatives. Not with deals behind closed doors, but with common sense at the ballot box.

“These are testing times for our country. 

“Our NHS, as we know here in Shropshire, is teetering on the brink. 

“Our rural economy is in a precarious state with people’s livelihoods at risk. 

“Our country is crying out for leadership.

“Mr Johnson, you are no leader.

“Many of your predecessors took office because they believed in a sense of national service. That they were duty bound to do what they believed is right for our country. 

“To represent all of us, even if we disagreed with them. 

“Mr Johnson, this is not how you operate. 

“Too often it is all about you and never about us.

“Instead of taking action to help Shropshire’s NHS, you spend your time seeking questionable donations to refurbish your flat.

“Instead of taking action to support Shropshire’s farmers, you spend your time misleading the nation on how you and your office partied during lockdown.

“Tonight the people of North Shropshire have said enough is enough. 

“They have said that you are unfit to lead and that they want a change. 

“I want to pay tribute tonight to my party leader Ed Davey. 

“Ed, thanks to you it is the Liberal Democrats who are opposing Boris Johnson’s Government and winning. From Chesham and Amersham to North Shropshire, you lead our campaigns from the front.

“I want to thank you personally for the support you have given me over the last few weeks.

“Whether it is on the streets of Whitchurch or Wem, Oswestry, Ellesmere or Market Drayton, you have led the charge for change.

“Finally, thank you most of all to all the people of North Shropshire.

“Not just for your support throughout this campaign –

“Not just for putting your faith in me to be your champion in Parliament –

“But for all the hard work and sacrifices you have made over the past two years, to get our communities through this awful pandemic.

“I will never take it for granted.

“My priorities are your priorities: Improving our local ambulance service, GPs and hospitals.

“Supporting our farmers and defending our rural way of life.

“Helping our communities through this new wave of COVID.

“As your MP, I promise I will work for you and only you. I will always put local people and our communities first.

“Whether you supported me or supported someone else, I want to let you know that I am here to represent you and to stand up for everyone in North Shropshire.

“Thank you.”

Izzy, Radley and the Moseley Lib Dem team with Helen Morgan MP

Only 1-in-3 pharmacies in England wanting to give booster jabs get the go-ahead 

Only 1-in-3 pharmacies in England wanting to give booster jabs have been given the go-ahead  to do so. In the meantime GP Surgeries are struggling to meet demand and suspending all other appointments.
Fewer than one third of the 4,733 pharmacies that applied to take part in the booster vaccination programme have been accepted, figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.
Some pharmacies are waiting up to eleven weeks to be approved to give out Covid vaccines and booster jabs. If that wait was repeated from today, a pharmacy would not be able to provide vaccinations until March next year. By the end of September 2021, fewer than one third of the 4,733 pharmacies that applied to take part in the booster vaccination programme had been accepted. Of these, just 1,336 community pharmacy vaccination sites were actively providing the service as of 3 December.The figures were provided in response to a parliamentary question tabled by Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP. They show that on average pharmacies are having to wait more than 6 weeks for applications to be approved by NHS England, with at least one waiting as long as 78 days.One pharmacy in Daisy Cooper’s constituency of St Albans, which has one of the worst Covid rates in the country, says they applied twice to become a vaccination centre only to be rejected. The first time they were not given a reason and the second time they were told that the government had “enough capacity”.The Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to get a grip of the crisis and ensure applications submitted by pharmacies that were rejected are urgently reviewed, to help meet the target of boosting up to one million people a day.
Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care Spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

“Community pharmacies can play a critical role in getting boosters into arms in the coming weeks, while taking pressure off our GPs and NHS staff.

“So it is staggering that some pharmacies applied several times to help provide booster jabs only to be rejected, while others have waited a shocking 78 days to be approved.

“Ministers completely took their eye off the ball on the booster programme which has left millions without vital protection. Sajid Javid must now get a grip of this crisis,  ensure NHS England speeds up the application process and deals with these bureaucratic delays.

“Every pharmacy that has applied in the past should be given an opportunity to take part in this critical national effort.”

At last – a new bin for the Flakes/Costa alley

After months of nagging the council has at last emptied and replaced a full, smelly and broken waste bin in the alley between Flakes fish and chip shop and the former Costa Coffee that leads up to the Church Yard in St Mary’s Row. It really shouldn’t take four months, numerous emails, three council visits and a frustrated rant from Izzy saying she would empty it herself, to get some action. We are hoping now the businesses, residents and landlord will work together to keep it tidy.

Moseley’s LTN enters its next stage.

The details of Tranche 2 of the Kings Heath and Moseley Places for People aka Low Traffic Neighbourhood have been released by Birmingham City Council.

Details of the proposals which include four designs, two for each side of Kings Heath High Street and stretching across the ‘Moseley triangle’ to Wake Green Road and Yardley Wood Road, can be viewed on the Council’s consultation website, where you can also make comments: https://www.birminghambeheard.org.uk/economy/kingsheathpfp/

A series of engagement events are scheduled in October, including an online information / question and answer session on – Tuesday 5th October at 6pm 
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/kings-heath-moseley-places-for-people-teams-live-event-tickets-181032381727

An online briefing for businesses is to be held on Wednesday 6th October at 3pm. 
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/kings-heath-moseley-places-for-people-business-briefing-tickets-181592938367

Further drop in sessions are listed on the website and plans and questionnaires will be available at Kings Heath Library.

Moseley Forum will be holding a public meeting to discuss the proposals on Tuesday 26th October.

The consultation closes on 5th November, after which the council say they will prepare a final plan for implementation under an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order in early 2022.  

We are already aware of some confusion and different interpretation of what the designs will mean in practice. We also know that the project is controversial and if it goes ahead will bring huge changes to travel in our neighbourhood. 

We urge everyone to take time to go to one or more of the events and to ask questions.

Izzy has written to Birmingham Connected to ask for much better engagement with businesses located in the project area,  including a one to one visit from a Council Officer to any business that requests it. The potential impact on businesses must not be underestimated.

She has pointed out that residents who do not have access to the internet need more information on how to comment and an address to send their feedback. The council needs to ensure the consultation and information to assist in making an evidence based decision is available to everyone. The council should also publish its equalities and impact assessment report.

We have also noticed no mention has been made of the number 34 bus which travels hourly between the City and Kings Heath along Billesley Lane and Oxford Road
  
We are very keen to hear first hand what residents and businesses think about the proposals, and we will be talking to as many of you as we can in the next few weeks. 

Continuing to support EU citizens

Izzy asked an important question at Birmingham City Council full council meeting as a member of the pro EU pressure group, EU IN BRUM.


Funding to support EU, EEA & Swiss citizens to secure Settled Status and ensure their continued rights in the UK ends at the end of September. Yet there are still 1000’s of people who need help now or in the future, especially those granted pre-settled status who will need to re-apply for full settled status after five years UK residence. Their continued right to live in this country is by no means guaranteed.


We were pleased to hear Birmingham City Council do plan to apply for government funding to continue this support. This is vital for charities like Centrala, Asirt Birmingham and Central England Law Centre to be able to continue their work with vulnerable people across Birmingham.


It will also mean the Council EUSS working group, of which Izzy is a member, can continue to meet to assess the situation of EUSS across Birmingham, tackle issues as they arise and offer networking and other support to the charities involved in the group.

How many collisions does it take for action on Billesley Lane?

Last November Izzy wrote to our local Councillors and our Neighbourhood Police Sergeant and Police Inspector about the alarming frequency and seriousness of collisions on Billesley Lane. https://moseleylibdems.com/2020/11/30/action-needed-on-billesley-lane/

Since then we have received lots of assurances , repainted white lines and in March Vehicle Activation Signs were installed to monitor and record speed. https://moseleylibdems.com/2021/03/17/vehicle-activated-signs-for-billesley-lane/

What we have not seen is a reduction in racing, speeding or serious collisions.
Following two further bad collisions, both in the early hours, within the last 10 days Izzy has once again written to our local Councillors and Police. as below:

Dear Kerry, Martin, Tom and Neil
Last November I wrote to you all about the increase of serious collisions in Billesley Lane. Since that email at least another four serious collisions have occurred in the stretch of road between the One Stop shop and the Tennis Club. They are mainly situated at or near the two junctions, with Greenhill/Dyott and Oxford Roads.  That is seven collisions in just over a year. The latest two collisions, within just over a week have occurred in the early hours. The majority of the collisions have involved young male drivers and speed is the biggest factor. These are not minor shunts. In every case cars have been damaged to such an extent they are written off. In some serious damage has been caused to property including garden walls, a front window and porch.
A recent email from the Highways Engineer Garry Dalton in response to local resident’s continued concerns sets out the criteria for assessing roads for traffic safety measures as follows: 
“As you are aware the need for traffic safety measures are prioritised according to reported numbers of injury collisions with locations considered by the Capital Programmes teams for inclusion as a potential Local Safety Scheme.  The Capital Programme team have recently evaluated all similar requests received to put together the Local Safety Scheme element of the Capital Programme for 2022/23 and Billesley Lane was not included. Typically, priority is given to sites that have 9 or more Road traffic collisions over a 3 year period, where injuries have been sustained.
The collision history for the length of Billesley Lane has been checked, for a period of 3 years to end of May 2021 to reveal that there have been three injury collisions recorded here.   All three of these collisions resulted in slight injuries and speed was attributed as a contributing factor in only one of them. 
This is not an exceptional collision history, in comparable terms, and therefore, based on this information, this location wouldn’t gain high enough priority for traffic calming measures when compared with other roads with adverse collision records”.

I don’t know when the criteria of 9 serious injury collisions over a 3 year period was decided or re-assessed, I suspect it was some years ago, but it seems more attuned to a motorway or busy A road rather than an unclassified  road in a  residential suburb. By insisting collision history has to involve serious injuries it does not take into account the big improvements in safety to vehicle occupants, such as seat belts, air bags and vehicle design . It does not take into account other factors that make the location so dangerous to others such as proximity to residential and community premises, a church hall used daily by children groups, sports club, allotments, garage, local shop and now a take away/ restaurant with associated high number of children, pedestrians and cyclists. Nor does it consider the layout of the road and factors that increase the likelihood of collisions occurring. 
Another reason I believe the criteria is flawed is that police are attending fewer collisions, especially if no injuries are reported. That means evidence of drink, drugs (including increasing use of nitrous oxide) and excessive speed as factors is not being recorded or assessed. Neither are the police gaining intelligence on increasing use of vehicles by young men for racing and cruising.  Yet, photographs obtained by residents often show the huge impact these collisions are having on the local community. However this information is not acted on which results in a negative view of the authorities and a reduction in community confidence and relations. 
I would like to see a whole different approach to prioritising traffic safety measures based on a ‘near miss’ criteria involving the factors listed above rather than injury caused. 
I would also point out that 20 years ago a fatal collision did occur in Billesley Lane when a cyclist was killed in the early hours by a driver who misjudged the bends. Following that collision the current speed humps and pedestrian refuges were put in place, however despite a rise in volume of traffic accompanied by numerous and increasingly serious collisions no serious attempt has ever been made to address the obvious issues  with the layout of the road. 
I am aware that the proposals for Tranche 2 of the Kings Heath / Moseley LTN are due to be released very soon. I am hopeful they include significant measures which will make a huge difference to the residents every day experience of living in or travelling along Billesley Lane. If they do not then I would urge you to reconsider the use of this years Ward Minor Measures Transport Programme. Would that be sufficient to install two chicanes at strategic points? At the very least some crash bollards could be installed  to prevent vehicles leaving the road whilst  consideration is given to what other measures are available and how to obtain funding.
 I remember well Councillor Trickett , when talking of the traffic issues in School Road, insisting that the safety of children is not something that can be compromised. I appreciate everything you have been trying to do but sooner or later someone is going to be killed in Billesley Lane in an incident where the warning signs have been apparent for years. 
Very best wishes
Izzy


18,400 families in Birmingham Hall Green constituency face heartless government Universal Credit cut

As many as 42% of hard-pressed families across Birmingham Hall Green constituency face being left worse off when the government end the uplift to Universal Credit next month. 

New data from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation exposes the true nature of how badly some areas will be hit by the £20 Universal Credit cut, which is opposed by Izzy, Radley and Birmingham Hall Green Liberal Democrats.  In the report, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimate that the Universal Credit cut alone could force 500,000 people, almost half of them children, into poverty. Their breakdown shows that some 18,400  families in Birmingham Hall Green Constituency , which includes Sparkbrook, Sparkhill, Balsall Heath, Hall Green, Kings Heath and Moseley will be harmed by the governments uplift cut, with 64% of families with children  being affected adversely.

Responding to the data, Izzy Knowles, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson said:
“The community of Birmingham Hall Green has had to pull itself through this pandemic, while dealing with this incompetent heartless Conservative government, this cut will do untold damage to so many of our local families.  There is no question that Government has to reverse this needless cut and support normal working people here. Birmingham Liberal Democrats are calling for the Universal Credit uplift to be made permanent.” 

Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions Spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain MP added:“Just as we begin to hope that Covid is being tamed in the UK, the Government is ripping support from millions of families across the country. We cannot have a full recovery if families are struggling to make ends meet.

“The Prime Minister’s claim that he wants people to live by their own ‘efforts’ rather than ‘welfare’ shows how out of touch he really is. With almost half of those receiving Universal Credit already in work and with many having young families, this cut will leave parents and their children behind despite their efforts.”

The saga of the clanking Moseley manhole covers

Anyone visiting Moseley over the past six months could not fail to notice the loud clanging every few seconds as vehicles drive over a manhole cover in middle of the traffic light junction, Alcester Road at Salisbury Road.
It was first reported to the council as far back as April. In June some workmen turned up, examined the drain cover and went away again. In July Izzy found out that Severn Trent were the company responsible and sent them a video via Twitter which seems to be the best method of corresponding with most utility company’s these days.

Severn Trent duly supplied a job number and a promise to carry out a repair. In August Severn Trent’s contractors, Network Plus suddenly noticed due to patches in the tarmac that another unknown company had carried out a repair at the location on some unspecified date in the past. This they decided was a good reason to refer the job back to Birmingham City Council.
In the mean time a second manhole cover has become loose, so now we have double clanking. This second manhole cover has no signs of previous road repairs. Izzy duly made a further referral to Severn Trent with the request that if they have to go to all the trouble to close a junction to fix one manhole cover, two would not be such an extra burden. Unfortunately the computer says no department couldn’t see the logic of this at all.

Izzy has now written to the Principal Traffic Officer who has allocated the job to Kier Highways and sent a stern letter to Severn Trent.
Maybe the clanking will be fixed soon — watch this space!

Refugees always welcome in Brum

Refugees are welcome here in Birmingham. Moseley Forum was the first community organisation to endorse the campaign for Birmingham to become a City of Sanctuary in 2015. The West’s failure to effectively state-build and safeguard citizens in Afghanistan is something that we must take responsibility for. And we as a city must do our bit and be more ambitious in providing humanitarian relief to the citizens of Afghanistan. It’s good to see Birmingham City Council discussing how we can combine our efforts to help Afghan refugees at this difficult time. Our Lib Dem Leader Cllr Jon Hunt contributed to the discussion: “This is very welcome and the cabinet member is quite right in saying there is a moral obligation.” Birmingham City Council must be awake to the challenge of welcoming refugees 👍🔶 You can learn more about the work of Birmingham City of Sanctuary including how you can help and volunteer here

We are not safe until we are all safe

Radley has worked on a video with some of our local residents – calling for the importance of why receiving the vaccination is important to us. It’s been a month since legal restrictions were lifted and it’s positive to see that COVID cases are continuing to fall. However, mindful public behaviour is still crucial to ensure that the virus doesn’t spread. It’s important to remember that COVID is still present and we all need to do our part to keep each other safe. The Government’s statistics released yesterday show that there had been 35 positive COVID tests here in Moseley , 31 patients were admitted to Birmingham University Hospitals (QE Group), giving a total of 213 patients currently being treated for COVID in the last month. Please keep safe. For more information about how you can get vaccinated and do your bit to stay safe, please visit the gov.uk website. 🔶

Talking to residents in Billesley Lane

Izzy & Radley went out talking with local residents on Billesley Lane, about the top issues affecting their road. The main issue was, as we expected, constant speeding and racing of cars. Safety at the junction of Wake Green Road is a concern and a very bad collision there yesterday highlighted this. Other issues raised were litter, fly tipping , potholes and lack of youth services. There was a very positive response on the doorstep.
We must take action to make our roads safer for everyone 👍🔶

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