I spent the morning talking to the businesses of Montgomery Street Business Centre in Sparkbrook.
This is a fabulous iconic site of diverse small units which is shockingly being auctioned off by Birmingham City Council.
As I was there they were being interviewed by ITV Central news.
The businesses who learned about the auction by reading it in an advert have formed the ‘Montgomery Street Cooperative’ & have applied for the site to become an asset of community value. They want to secure the site and run it as a not for profit cooperative to secure its future as a start-up hub.
This is the last surviving enterprise site for start up businesses owned by Birmingham City Council. Years ago the council was a pioneer in this field. It is a site of huge historic importance, located next to the Grand Union canal in Peaky Blinder land. The Moseley Lanchester brothers Lanchester Motor Company was based here once. But this place has been sadly neglected over the years by the council landlords.
I will be writing to Ian Ward Leader of Birmingham City Council to urge him to remove this important site from the auction list and to work with the businesses instead to unlock the potential of this site as the local community asset it should be. Save jobs, encourage entrepreneurs and support local business.
I made a video about my visit.
Talking to bar /cafe’s Hop & Scotch and Black Lab in Kings Heath today, I was made aware of some very disturbing anti social behaviour by a group of young people, including assaults on staff and intimidating behaviour targetted at businesses and at members of the public in the street. I have contacted the Neighbourhood Inspector and Sergeant and requested an urgent visit to these businesses and an update on the situation with these young people.
Businesses are at the hub of our communities. If their staff do not feel safe they cannot thrive.
Update 8th November: Pleased to get a response from the local police and to hear a dispersal order has been put in place.
I am incredibly proud and honoured to be standing for Parliament as your REMAIN candidate in Birmingham Hall Green.
This election is an opportunity to show the residents of Moseley, Kings Heath, Balsall Heath, Sparkbrook, Sparkhill & Hall Green that they can have a credible, positive, visible hard working MP who is local and who knows and cares for all of the community.
As your candidate in Hall Green I will:
*Continue to campaign relentlessly to Stop Brexit
*Fight for our environment by preventing waste, expanding renewable energy and cutting air pollution.
*Make our neighbourhoods safer places to live by tackling crime, holding our police to account, supporting the vulnerable and homeless and working closely with community and business groups.
*Campaign for proper funding for health services, especially mental health and social care, for schools and for youth services.
When I see a need for action I do not take no for an answer
Elections cost money. We in the Lib Dems do not have the advantage of big donors or trade unions. We rely totally on the generosity of our local supporters. To give you an example to print and hand deliver one A4 double sided leaflet to every household in Hall Green Constituency costs approx £800 and 400 volunteer hours.
The Bordesley Chords are once more under threat from a planning application for housing and office development. The chords are required to be constructed in order that the Camp Hill passenger service from Kings Norton to Birmingham can be upgraded from the initial two trains an hour to a full commuter line once it reopens to passenger services in 2021
Please see my blog of 1st March when the implications of the planning application first became known.
“I appreciate that the applicant has made some alterations to the plans in order to try to allow construction of South West Bordesley Chord at a future date. However,I am aware that the West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) have expressed their objection to the revised plans on the grounds that the detailed plans for the chords cannot be drawn up before this application is decided. If built, the development envisaged in these plans is likely to affect both the constructability of these chords and also lead to objections from the residents and businesses that the development will introduce into the land adjoining the railway.
The Moseley community has been campaigning for the reopening of the Camphill Railway Line for passenger traffic for well over 40 years. Plans and funds are now in place for that to happen. However, the reopening is being achieved on the original lines that take the Camphill service round by St Andrew’s Junction to New Street Station. Because of the lack of capacity at New Street all that can be offered is a half-hourly service. The only way for the large number of people living within walking distance of the Hazelwell, Kings Heath and Moseley Stations to be offered a more frequent rail connection is by building chords at Bordesley so as to take the Camphill Line into Moor Street Station. It would be a very big blow for Balsall Heath, Stirchley, Kings Heath and Moseley residents if this development prevented the chords being built and the line becoming a full commuter service. The number 50 bus service is already over capacity and the air pollution on the A435 route into city is a cause for concern to many residents. The way we travel needs to be radically changed and this rail improvement is of paramount importance in achieving those changes. I therefore urge that Planning Committee refuse this application – or require it to be reduced to the point where WMRE and TfWM are content that it will not prevent the future construction of railway chords at Bordesley”. Izzy Knowles Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Birmingham Hall Green
I am really pleased that Birmingham City Council are fitting trip rails to preserve the green spaces along side Yardley Wood Road & Stoney Lane between Doris & Phipson Roads. David Farrow and I first started campaigning on this issue in March 2018. In September 2018 I submitted a 90 signature petition from residents calling for action to stop driving and parking of cars on these green spaces due to the damage they were causing to the grass, the danger to pedestrians and the extra pollution in an area that already suffers from excessive traffic. See my previous post about it here
Local residents campaigned years ago to stop these spaces being built on, they regularly litter pick and plant bulbs with the children from Anderton Park School. They very much value the green space as a community asset. After submitting the petition we were told there was no money, however we continued to make the case for action sending photographs and video evidence to the highways, parks dept and local police team. I organised two site visits with the head of Parks dept (who are responsible for the land) and following the second visit he agreed action was needed. This was started with the lovely planters on the corners of the greens to prevent driving across the pavement and now we have the trip rail being fitted. A big thank you and well done to the residents, especially to Elaine & Rob who didn’t give up and helped to lobby and provide the evidence we needed to get action.
We joined up with the Lib Dem & Green MEP’s for a concert by the amazing Birmingham Folk Ensemble and the next day we held a rally getting on German and Spanish TV, the Washigton Post, Guardian and New European before visiting the European Parliament itself where we watched history in the making as MEPs debated the Brexit extension.
One of the things we learned from our visit to the European Committee of the Regions is that every region in the EU has local representatives, who help shape EU policies by working with MEPs to develop a closer relationship with local councils. They even vote on stuff! Our local representatives are Councillors Albert Bore (Birmingham) & Linda Robertson (Wychavon). Who knew that before? Suffice to say I will be asking Albert many more questions.
The sad thing that came up over and over again is how little is taught in UK schools about European history and that the EU was created as and still is a peace project. It’s like our history stopped at 1945.
Transport for West Midlands have launched a consultation into proposals to relieve congestion on the no 50 bus route including A435 Moseley & Alcester Roads between the city centre and Moseley. The proposals include widening the road on the stretch past Moseley Road baths between Brighton/Taunton Road and Haden Way to create a bus lane in to city. This would however result in the narrowing of pavements and loss of four mature trees. Another proposal is to widen the bus lane entering Moseley village and to remove the pedestrian refuge at the Salisbury Road / St Mary’s Row junction crossing from Boots to the village green. I’m all for more efficient bus travel but I cannot see how either of these proposals will make the A435 less congested, less polluted, discourage car use, discourage parking in bus lanes or improve the public realm for cyclists or pedestrians. I made a video showing where the bus lane will be.
You can see the full proposals and make your comments here The consultation closes on 22nd November
I helped launch the Enjoy Kings Heath new charity ‘ Kings Heath Helping the Homeless’ yesterday at the street festival. It’s an alternative giving scheme similar to MAGC – Moseley Alternative Giving Campaign of which I’m also on the panel. So we will work closely together to help homeless and vulnerable people in Moseley & King Heath. Look out for collecting boxes appearing in shops, pubs & supermarkets in Kings Heath and please consider giving money there rather than directly to people who are begging.
I am so incredibly proud to be selected as Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Birmingham Hall Green
I passionately believe that as a country we are safer, stronger and better off inside the EU, working hand in hand with our friends and neighbours, with the deal we already have. Birmingham Hall Green voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU. And yet our current MP voted and campaigned to leave the EU, and despite a few words and some votes in the right places designed to placate, he has done nothing to even try to understand what the majority of us feel, our concerns and worries and our desire for unity and peace. He takes no interest in his constituency except where it will win him votes, he took sides with people who are actively promoting hate against a minority group and did not even bother to try to understand the full issues of what is going on or acknowledge the worries of the people who feel their hard won rights are being undermined and put at risk.
I cannot sit by and let him take the votes of his constituents for granted as he has done in the last two elections.
Having lived, worked and volunteered in the area for most of my life I feel I am in a good place to understand and tackle the very many issues that matter to people, such as local policing, crime, fly-tipping, pollution, poor levels of recycling and dirty streets, and to take on injustices that prevent people succeeding in life such as the housing crisis, lack of funding for schools, inequality, prejudice and racism.
“If elected I will be highly visible, hands-on, local, accountable and contactable and when someone needs help or advice I will be there for them because it doesn’t matter who they are, or what their politics are, everyone matters and we can always find common ground.
As your candidate in Birmingham Hall Green I will:
Continue to campaign relentlessly for the UK to remain in the EU with the deal we already have.
Fight for our environment by preventing waste, increasing re-use and recycling, expanding renewable energy and cutting air pollution.
Make our neighbourhoods safe and clean places to live by tackling crime, championing neighbourhood policing and holding our police to account, supporting the vulnerable and homeless and working closely with community and business groups.
Our thoughts are with the police traffic officer who was brutally attacked in Moseley yesterday. This is the sort of news that as a former police officer makes me feel cold with shock. A huge well done to his colleagues who managed to catch and apprehend the attacker. Thinking of the officer, his family and colleagues today and wishing him a full recovery. It was also very shocking for the residents in the area in which it happened, some were involved as witnesses. I understand the dealings with the police at the scene have been very good. Izzy & the Moseley Lib Dem team.
Last night I spoke in front of over 1000 people who braved the pouring rain to come to the People’s Vote rally at the University of Birmingham.
I spoke about why I just had to get involved and why I am so determined to keep campaigning.
‘Because I’ve come to realise there is so much more at stake than in or out. This is about US as a country. We are being manipulated by people who don’t care about the harm THEY will do to business, to the vulnerable, to ALL OF US. These people are fanatics with no real plan, but they’re all right Jack. They will be cushioned against the impact of the brick wall they will surely hit.
I will do everything I can to halt us on this undemocratic path to disaster that an imposed no deal Brexit would be. Nobody voted to make ourselves poorer, less safe, less influential in the world. The democratic answer to the mess we are in is to go back to the people in a Peoples Vote and to show that the best deal is the one we already have’.
I’m absolutely appalled and disgusted, but sadly not surprised:
Hall Green MP Roger Godsiff is seen in this video making a statement in which he unequivocally supports people who are openly stoking up tension between the Muslim and LGBT community, people who are endorsing and spreading homophobic lies and misinformation, who have caused fear and distress to staff and parents and nearby residents of one of our local schools, who have rejected all attempts made to mediate and reassure and who are causing hours and hours of unnecessary police and council time to be spent preventing a breach of the peace and public order offences.
If that wasn’t enough at the same surgery Roger Godsiff went onto belittle a female Labour Councillor who had come in support of members of his constituency and then casually dismissed the concerns of other constituents who had come to talk to him about how they were being made to feel by these ongoing and increasingly intimidating protests. He says he has examined both sides, but then admitted he has the books the school uses in his office but hasn’t bothered to read them.
In these volatile times of rising intolerance and increased hate crimes, when 800 children in Birmingham have called Childline about homophobic bullying, when women are beaten up by teenagers, when people are abused for talking in another language, we need MP’s who are open, honest, visible, compassionate & understanding, but who will also challenge and stand up against hate of all kinds and use their position to make positive forward looking changes, not take us back to the past where discrimination was lawful and hate crime was ignored.
Roger is more than a dinosaur, by pandering to people who want to pick and choose between hard won equality rights to suit their own beliefs he is failing his many constituents in favour of the few.
He does not represent the people of Hall Green and it is time for him to move on.
A recent appeal from EU in Brum to extend the deadline for EU citizens from 24 member states, to allow them to return form UC/1 in time to vote in the Euro elections, sadly fell on deaf ears within our government, despite the efforts of a few supportive MP’s.
As expected, thousands of non-British EU voters from 24 countries were turned away from the European election polling booths in the UK on 23rd May, including many from Birmingham.
Some people simply didn’t know about the form (in some cases the council told them incorrectly they were registered and could therefore vote). Some didn’t receive their form in a timely manner because councils (including Birmingham) were too slow sending them out. Some completed the form but their local council didn’t receive it in time. Some completed the form and returned it on time, but their local council failed to process it in time. Some fell foul of administrative mistakes made by their local council. Whatever the reason, people turned up at polling stations expecting to vote and found their name crossed out
Meanwhile in other European countries, British citizens were denied a UK postal vote because their local council sent out voting forms by the slowest possible method, which meant they did not arrive sufficiently early that they could be returned on time.
Since the government’s inadequate preparation for the European elections would appear to be in contravention of European law, The 3 Million, a group that campaigns on behalf of non-British EU citizens, is investigating legal action. They are seeking evidence, so if you were affected by this disenfranchisement you can help them by sending information through their website DeniedMyVote
Whether you were directly affected or not, please spread the word.
Also, please add your name to a government petition created by EU in Brum, calling for a public inquiry:
Again, please spread the word. They are already more than half way to getting a response from government. 100,000 signatures will ensure it is debated in Parliament.
The requirement for an EU citizen to complete an extra declaration that they will not vote in their country of origin varies between member states with the UK easily being the most bureaucratic. Citizens from Eire, Malta & Cyprus do not need to do it at all. Non German EU citizens voting in Germany are not required to fill in a form but are given a warning they commit an offence if they vote twice. Non Dutch EU citizens voting in the Netherlands fill in a form once when they first register to vote.
No person should be denied their democratic right to vote and all effort should be made to enable them to exercise that right.
Citizens of other EU countries who live in the UK can elect to vote for UK MEPs in the European elections on 23rd May. I contacted Birmingham City Council in early April and they assured me that a form UC1 will be sent out by Council Elections Office automatically to EU27 citizens registered to vote in the UK.
The form needs to be completed and returned to the elections office no later than Tuesday 7th May, even if it has been completed previously.
However, as I write Birmingham City Council has been woefully slow in this, with many EU27 citizens not having received anything and others contacted by email only. The local Liberal Democrat Councillors are now chasing the Elections Office to find out what is happening.
So don’t leave it to them. Download the form UC1 and send it to ensure your vote
Failing to engage properly will only lead to more disenfranchisement of EU citizens in the UK. As this Article in the Independent describes, the introduction of extra administrative burden, poorly handled by local authorities resulted in a dramatic decline of EU27 citizens voting in the UK, falling from 1,043,629 registered to vote in 2009 to 327,883 five years later in 2014.
If you are not registered to vote, you have to do so AND return the UC1 form by
It is very worrying that the people behind the Parkfield School protest against the No Outsiders programme are now taking their message to other schools, including Anderton Park School in Moseley and are being encouraged in this by a community neighbourhood forum. They are allegedly intimidating parents into signing a petition to get this approved programme, which is taught as part of the Equality Act, removed. These actions amount to homophobia and need to be challenged. We have been down the route of censoring schools on LGBT+ rights before, and we can never do so again. Equal rights relate to faith, disability, age, gender and sexuality. We cannot pick and choose.
EU in Brum have booked their fifth coach to the Peoples Vote Marchnext Saturday 23rd March. There is a discount of £5 on seats for students, free seats for children and for some adults if anyone is struggling. Buses will depart from the City Centre and from Kings Heath. You can book your places here if you haven’t already.
The meeting point in London is the Achilles statue at 11am. Liberal Democrats will meet outside the Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane
Liberal Democrats have led the fight for remain from the beginning- we will be joining people from all over the UK on Saturday to demand an #exitfrombrexit
Redevelopment of the site to provide 480 no. homes, a hotel (Use Class C1) and flexible business/commercial floor space of 1,480sqm (Use Classes A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, B8 and D1) in 7 new blocks (A to G) ranging from 3 to 26 storeys, together with car parking, landscaping and associated works including an energy centre of 320sqm to provide for combined heat and power and plant to serve the development
“I am writing to you on behalf of thousands of residents in Moseley and Kings Heath who have campaigned and desired for many many years for the Camp Hill railway line to re-open to passenger services and to provide a frequent service commuter rail link into Birmingham City Centre. This topic has been number one in any political hustings for many years! We were always told that the issue stopping it happening was the cost of building the Camp Hill chord – a link to redirect the trains to Moor Street station as New St does not have the capacity for the extra services. In 2013 Moseley Forum was made aware that the land where a developer is now seeking this permission to build was to be sold by Birmingham City Council. They together with other community groups and local councillors objected to the sale on the grounds it could compromise the later building of the Camp Hill chord. However, Birmingham City Council in their wisdom, dismissed the need to protect the route of the link railway line stating they could ‘always compulsorily purchase it back’ at a later date. In September 2018 Transport for West Midlands, West Midlands Rail Executive and Network Rail unveiled initial designs to rebuild stations at Moseley, Kings Heath and Hazelwell with the expectation the line will re-open to allow two passenger services an hour into New Street station, in time for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. This news was received with enormous excitement and anticipation locally but also many calls to West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street to ensure that the construction of the Camp Hill chord would still happen, so the line will in time become a fully functional high frequency train service. He fully acknowledged this call and stated that the opening of the line earlier than expected would not stop later construction of the chords which are now referenced in the Birmingham Development Plan, the Bordesley Area Action Plan, the West Midlands Local Transport Plan, in the proposed enhancements pipeline for the London North Western route and in the long-term strategies of Midlands Connect and West Midlands Rail Executive. Network Rail is currently carrying out development work on the Midlands Rail Hub on behalf of Midlands Connect; a Strategic Outline Business Case is due for submission to the Department for Transport by summer 2019. The Camp Hill chord would allow up to 10 extra trains an hour in and out of Birmingham, that’s 85,000 extra seats a day. This will enable many more passengers into and out of Birmingham so easing pressure on our already congested road system and reducing vehicle emissions both in the centre and suburbs of Birmingham. The Midlands Rail Hub project is being developed by Midlands Connect to significantly increase passenger capacity to and from Birmingham from across the Midlands and the South West. Early analysis suggests the Midlands Rail Hub could bring overall economic benefits of £649 million a year to the region and the country by 2037. Network Rail stated in 2017 that the work that included the Camp Hill chord was worth up to £2billion of economic benefits through unlocking jobs and supporting economic growth and maximising transport connectivity. If this planning application is approved the subsequent development has the potential to block the alignment and construction of the Camp Hill chord preventing the expansion of and long term desired frequency of rail passenger services. This would be a huge blow for the Birmingham and West Midlands community. Economic and environmental drivers will be severely and critically harmed if this planning application is allowed to go ahead in any form that prevents the city from installing the Camp Hill Chord. On behalf of the community of Moseley and Kings Heath I ask Birmingham City Council planning committee, when considering this application, that as a very minimum sufficient land is protected to enable the construction and accommodation of an up and down south/east railway link at Bordesley from the Camp Hill railway line, known as the Camp Hill chord. I also urge the applicants and developers to work with the council, with Network Rail and local rail community groups to protect the future alignments of the proposed Camp Hill chords and to explore mutually beneficial opportunities for both developments to avoid any impediment to the chords’ future construction. Izzy Knowles Moseley Liberal Democrats”
The recent consultation events in Moseley, Kings Heath & Stirchley regarding the re-opening of our train stations to passenger services has caused much excitement that this long fought for project is now finally happening. I have not spoken to one person who doesn’t think it is a good idea.
Having secured the backing of Government and Regional authorities, the West Midlands Rail Executive, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), West Midlands Railway and Network Rail are now working together on the track, signalling and service changes required.
We even had West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling visit for a tour of the Moseley station site and the unveiling of the station designs. In a press release by West Midlands Railway in September Cllr Roger Lawrence, the Chair of West Midlands Rail Executive, said: “The Moseley line is part of the wider investment TfWM is making across our region”
But, the current plans to re-open the stations will result in a maximum of only two trains an hour. This is due to the lack of capacity for trains into New Street Station. In order to develop the line into a fully functioning commuter service, which connects not only to services from New St but also to HS2 when it arrives, we need the Camp Hill chords to be built. This is an extra section of track which would divert the line into Moor Street station and part of integral plans to create a Midlands rail hub so significantly increasing rail use across the region.
This is now all under threat
In 2013 the city’s Labour cabinet, despite representations from opposition and community groups, decided to sell off the piece of land on which the chords would be built. At that time, it would appear they clearly didn’t have any optimism that the project would ever take off like it has. 2013 Press article
Now the inevitable has happened and the land the council sold off has a planning application to build a hotel, housing and retail complex. We understand the West Midlands Rail Executive, Transport for West Midlands, Midlands Connect and other Rail user groups are objecting to the proposed development.
The Camp Hill Chords are critical to the long term resilience and success of the rail network in and around Birmingham, to ensure effective public transport so minimising the need for vehicular traffic and enabling Birmingham to meet it’s emissions targets
Moseley Liberal Democrats are calling for as many people to add their voice by commenting on the planning application Comment online here
The planning application number is 2018/09467/PA
URGENT – We have until 1st March to make comments.
This week our Hall Green MP Roger Godsiff voted with a dozen other Labour MP’s to torpedo the Cooper and Grieve amendments, which would have been a way out of this nationally embarrassing Brexit impasse and also voted for the batshit crazy Brady amendment which kicks the can down the road.
All these things making a hard chaotic crash out Brexit more likely.
This is despite his writing to his overwhelmingly remain supporting constituents to say ‘I do not believe Theresa May’s deal is acceptable to the majority of my constituents and will not be supporting it’ and ‘I will not support proposals to leave the EU without any agreed deal’.
Labour propped up the Tories on immigration the night before (Roger didn’t even bother to vote). And now they’ve propped up the Tories on Brexit again.
Britain deserves a better opposition than this chaotic Labour Party – and the Liberal Democrats will provide it.
If you want to send a message now is the time. Join us to fight against this chaos.
I’ve been a member of the Lib Dems for two years and have found nothing but support, encouragement and unity. We don’t argue, we work together. We are a small force but we punch above our weight when it comes to holding the bigger parties to account, both locally and nationally in a whole range of issues.
Help us to make your voice heard – in Moseley, in Birmingham, in the UK and in Europe
I was not able to attend the engagement event on January 11th but I have received feedback from many residents with concerns. These include the continuing lack of traffic studies and no detailed rationale on why this particular option has been chosen over the other five options that were presented at the meeting on 24th January 2018 (other than it received the highest number of votes from people who happened to attend the meeting).
The council has published a map showing their preferred alternative routes, (see below). They are hoping traffic currently using School Road as a cut through between Moseley & Kings Heath will be forced to use Alcester Road or Springfield Road, Billesley Lane & Wake Green Road.
Although the closure will undoubtedly lead to a reduction of through traffic on School Road between Prospect Road and Valentine Road roundabout, (which is a good thing) it will not prevent drivers meeting each other on the bend. It is also hard to see why into city traffic used to entering School Road from Poplar Road or Ashfield Road, is likely to re-route along the already congested A435, or Springfield Road, rather than cut down Cambridge, Prospect or Greenhill Roads for a quicker route to Billesley Lane. Similarly in the evening, what is to stop traffic travelling out of city to use Oxford Road rather than busy Wake Green Road to reach Billesley Lane. All of these roads are residential side roads with similar problems to School Road. Even Springfield Road & Billesley Lane which are favoured alternative routes are not without traffic problems, with speeding and volume already an issue, frequent accidents at the junctions and even fatalities in the past. These are questions to which no answers have yet been given.
Right from the beginning of this process I have argued that the best possible solution should be the one that addresses the problem, with the least impact on surrounding roads. It is also important that the community is fully consulted and involved in the process, and we are given the fullest information to enable the best possible decision. Without any impact traffic studies to inform and advise us it is hard to make informed comments.
I have now joined a group of residents who are collecting our own data in an attempt to understand the traffic flow and volume of the area at peak times. We will make our findings available to the Council Officers and anyone else who is interested. If you would like to help please let me know.
A resident led petition calling for a full consultation and traffic impact assessments on the original six options, before any preferred scheme is selected, will be presented at the full City Council meeting on 5th February. You can sign it here: Online petition (NB: This is a different petition to the one featured in my previous blog although they make similar representations).
Following representations the council has now published more information about the scheme with a survey where you can make comments – although they confirm this is not a formal consultation – the decision has been made:Council Survey here
I would love to see Moseley (and other parts of Birmingham) become a low traffic neighbourhood. I have long supported Moseley Forum’s vision for a more pedestrian and cyclist friendly Moseley village. I would also like to see an informed engaged community fully involved in the process, which should properly take into account all of the pinch points, accident hot spots and rat runs in the neighbourhood so the very best scheme can be devised and properly communicated for maximum possible success.
I have been knocking doors to gauge peoples opinions on this scheme and how it has been presented so far. I would welcome your feedback.
Happy New Year from Moseley Lib Dems. Going into 2019, as we feel the affect of the uncertainty and roller coaster of current national politics, here’s to the community spirit, camaraderie, openness and neighbourly support that will keep us together. Xxx
Following my last blog on this matter (see post November 1st) I made further representations to the Council Officers, and to Councillor Jenkins, calling for a full consultation to take place and an updated traffic impact statement to be prepared before the experimental scheme is put in place (see copy email I sent below).
Residents have now received a letter from our Councillors regarding the experimental closure:
It is disappointing that no formal consultation will take place
I welcome the proposed drop in engagement event on Friday 11th January and that the matter is now being progressed, but I am disappointed, as are many residents, who have contacted me since, that, despite multiple representations and earlier promises , a more formal consultation has not been conducted to involve the wider community who will be affected by this.
I will ask that the information be made available at other events, for example via Moseley Forum or at the Moseley Exchange as not everyone is going to be in a position to attend on 11th January or have access to the online documents.
I will also continue to call for an up to date traffic impact assessment to take into account the affect on surrounding roads especially near to the schools.
A further concern that needs to be considered is the Council’s proposal to withdraw funding for the remaining School Crossing patrols in Birmingham. This will include patrols at both Moseley and Kings Heath. You can see more about this proposal and comment on it in the recent council budget, which is out for consultation. (See page 41).
I would like to make some representations please and I also have some more questions:
On reading your update I was surprised when you said no formal consultation will take place prior to the experimental order, and instead it would be an ongoing consultation during the implementation of the scheme. Since I communicated your recent update to residents a number of people have expressed their concern to me that they feel this scheme is being pushed through without their having been given the chance to formally comment on the proposals. I believe that the Councillors have also received similar emails.
I have now looked back through previous correspondence and re-read the letter Gill emailed in July which I circulated to some residents at the time (I attach for your info). The letter clearly gives the impression a formal consultation was to be held after the summer holidays. (It also places the closure in a different place which has also caused confusion although Gill did clarify that in a later email). Therefore mixed messages are being sent out here.
I am still very concerned, as I have been since the beginning of this process, that there are many residents who live in roads that will be directly affected, but who are still unaware of the proposal because they don’t use email or social media. Your proposed letter notifying them of the implementation of the experimental scheme will be the first they will be informed of what is happening. I anticipate some will not be very happy at not having been formally consulted, and the scheme being experimental will not appease them.
Therefore I would urge you to please re-consider and conduct a formal consultation scheme prior to the experimental scheme beginning.
Traffic Impact studies:
The scheme is being implemented in order to stop dangerous driving in School Road between Prospect Road and Valentine Road. The main issue is when drivers meet each other head on, due to parked vehicles and the narrow road and vehicles are driven onto the pavement or road rage incidents occur. This is a real problem and I totally support the School Road Traffic Issues residents in their desire to make this road safer.
The proposed scheme to close off part of School Road further down past Greenhill Road will undoubtedly reduce traffic on the entirety of School Road as it will no longer be used as a a convenient alternative route between Kings Heath and Moseley, especially at peak times. Traffic is more likely to be local residents moving in and out of the immediate area. However traffic is still going to be able to travel two ways along that section of School Road. Having stood and watched traffic this evening , even at a quiet time of a weekend the same problem of cars not being able to pass each other is still occurring. What guarantee do we have that there will still not be incidents where cars meet each other on that section of road?
There is also the issue of where the displaced traffic will head at peak times, I would suggest the most likely routes will be Billesley Lane and Oxford Road. These roads are not so narrow as School Road, but have suffered from safety issues in the past, including a fatal accident in Billesley Lane ,before traffic calming measures were put in, so residents are understandably concerned at the impact of an increase of traffic.
Although the proposed scheme of closing School Road will be experimental, the outcome will hopefully be that it does the job and becomes permanent. Otherwise a lot of time and money will have been wasted.
Therefore I urge that an impact study be undertaken before the closure, to measure vehicles traveling along that section of road and to consider the displacement on both the nearest likely commuter roads (Billesley Lane and Oxford Road) and the adjoining residential through roads, (Ashfield, Greenhill, Blenheim, Prospect & Cambridge Roads) This would not only reassure residents but also provide a benchmark to measure against during the experiment.
Other questions I have been asked:
How will the road be closed? Will it be a physical barrier such as bollards or will it be traffic regulation signs? If the former will emergency vehicles have access and how?
When is the experimental order likely to begin? Can we please have a proposed timeline.
Thank you for your time and efforts with getting this right.