Sunday, March 06, 2016

Neighbourhood Plan

On Thursday March 10th the neighbourhood plan project for our area is being launched. 7pm at the Alexander Stadium.

The map shows the area that will be covered.

The project will last for about three years and will see local people drawing up planning rules for our area. At the end there will be a referendum for the whole community to approve it.

The steering group behind it, led by Cllr Jon Hunt, has come up with several themes.

These include:
tackling groundwater and flooding
our local centres - eg Tower Hilll, Thornbridge Avenue
local design
green spaces and open spaces

But first of all we need to give it a name and Thursday's meeting will vote on this!

Here is a Facebook poll we are running on the best name

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Lodging a formal complaint when the council lets you down?

One of the results of the wheelie bin fiasco is that some residents have tried to use the council's complaints process to get their concerns deal with. One incident in particular led to Jon Hunt tabling the following written question...



"Effective Complaints Process"


Dropped kerb delays

Quite a few residents have been affected by long delays in the drop kerb installation service. Some have paid large sums of money and waited for months for nothing to happen. Jon Hunt tabled a written question on this last week and got the following answer:



“What action is taken when no service is provided”


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Ward committee

This week's ward committee will be devoted to a discussion on what the £300,000 from the Booths Lane housing development should be spent on. The idea is to enhance local facilities (but we've got to share it with Oscott ward).

As a result the meeting is moving from its normal venue.

 Please note it will be on Thursday March 12th at 7pm at Beeches Evangelical Church, corner of Beeches Road/Thornbridge Avenue. 

Bring your ideas! 

We are mainly thinking of how Turnberry Park and the amenities at Trehurst Avenue can be improved.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Worried about wheelies?

Cllr Jon Hunt - wondering if they'll be making
 these residents have wheelie bins
Worried about wheelies? The officer in charge of the project Kevin Mitchell is coming to the ward committee next Thursday 22nd to answer questions. It's at Perry Hall Methodist Church, Rocky Lane at 7pm

We're putting more regular updates and bits of chat on our Facebook page so see if you can bookmark it or 'like' it:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tower Hill question



Jon Hunt tabled a question to Cabinet member Cllr Tahir Ali on Tuesday about the problems at the Tower Hill junction and the reason why a 30mph zone has been rejected here. The answer speaks for itself. There is no recognition that the measures taken have not stopped the illegal u-turns:



Road safety


Could the Cabinet Member indicate if he has definitely ruled out consideration of a 30mph zone on the Walsall Road in the vicinity of Tower Hill, as requested in a residents’ petition of autumn 2012, noting the evidence of strong pedestrian use of the road at this point and that alternative attempts to tweak road safety at this junction seem to have proved counterproductive?


Speed limits on all principal roads are reviewed periodically to determine the appropriate speed limit for traffic. This assessment includes analysis of various factors including measured speeds and accident history.

The A34 route along Walsall Road was assessed in 2011 as part of a city-wide review of speed limits. This particular length of Walsall Road around was assessed again this year following safety concerns being raised. On both occasions when weighed against the criteria governing the setting of speed limits, the professional assessment has been that 40mph is the appropriate speed limit. As part of the latter assessment, the view of West Midlands Police as the enforcement authority was sought and they agreed with the assessment.

The other changes recently made at the junction were primarily to prevent a specific safety issue where drivers were illegally u-turning and near misses were being reported on a pedestrian crossing as a result. Those changes remove that conflict and whilst I understand it may have resulted slight increases in traffic queuing in peak times for one particular manoeuvre (turning right in to Beeches Road), I believe in terms of pedestrian safety this has been a positive change.

Last posting on this topic - July

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Swimming pool at scrutiny

Finally the swimming pool petition has had its day at committee - at the city council's districts and public engagement  scrutiny committee yesterday.

City head of sport Steve Hollinsworth tabled a report on the proposals for the pool and Cllr Jon Hunt, chair of Friends of Beeches Pool, explained the background and how the petition came to be, and asked a series of questions. Jon pointed out the pool had been built originally in Great Barr because of a public campaign - and that in fact it serves a large cachment area from Great Barr to Aston and including 18 schools.
There was also an impassioned speech from the floor from one of our campaigners Allan Ball, who stressed the lifesaving benefits of swimming.
Committee members stressed that a petition of 10,000 signatures should not be ignored and promised to keep an eye on future progress.
Steve explained that Beeches Pool would go into the "future framework contract" with a number of other pools, probably across the north of the city. A report confirming the contract is set to go to city cabinet later this month.
Under the deal, which is similar to the one in place in Harborne, contractors will have to provide minimum opening hours, maximum fees, full repairs and protection of clubs and their times.
 Jon Hunt asked four questions:
1/ There had been problems at Harborne with the swimming club and these partly centred on the right of the club to run its own learn to swim programmes.
2/ Was there a risk the pool could be moth-balled if the contractor decided the repair bill was too high or something happened requiring major repairs?
3/ Was there a risk the pool could be moth-balled if the contractor decided it could not make enough money?
4/ What would be done about involving the community, especially given the huge amount of good will revealed by the campaign to save the pool?
 Steve replied.
1/ Yes Harborne and the swimming club had not worked out. There are a series of meetings planned with the ASA and the clubs about future arrangements over the next few weeks. It appears they are looking for a deal on learn to swim meaning the pools themselves undertake the basic learn to swim - but at some point children can transfer to the swimming clubs for advanced coaching.
2/ The contractors are liable under the contract to keep the pools in good repair for the 15 years of the contract It was recognised there could be significant costs at Beeches and these were being offset by the new builds and other capital investment in the other pools in the area.
3/ Under the contract, the contractors would have to keep the pool open.
In response to 2 and 3, Steve said the contractors would face financial penalties if they decided they could no longer run a pool.
"They cannot withdraw from the site without our permission. It would be a significant contract change."
The council believes that private contractors are much better able to market facilities and encourage use than the council. 
4/ Steve promised future public involvement, saying that pools would have user groups and management boards.
There was also a contribution from Oscott councillor Keith Linnecor and some discussion about getting investment from "planning gain", for instance from the site of the former Booths Lane golf course.
You can watch the full discussion here:

More Flashbacks to the campaign last winter:
Karen Hamilton, Jon Hunt and Allan Ball on the first day of campaigning

Friday, August 22, 2014

Swimming pool campaign - official response

Breaking news: this is the report that will go to a scrutiny committee on the 2nd in response to our petition. It's mainly positive - seems like good news. Cllr Jon Hunt will be attending to speak for the campaign.

The report includes the following: "The specification includes: -
 Minimum opening hours
 The protection of clubs and their times
 Maximum fees and charges
 Full repairing lease."


" The Leisure Framework is on target to deliver new packages of facilities by April 2015,
including the management of Beeches Pool, to provide the council with a sustainable
leisure service for the future.
In addition to the new builds it is anticipated that contractors will also invest in the existing
facility stock to make them more welcoming and cost effective to operate over the life of
the contract; resulting in an improved customer experience for residents."

What questions should be asked?

Beeches Pool Scrutiny report (This will give you the download for a pdf file from the city council website)