Thursday, July 28, 2022

Welcome to Perry Barr!

Welcome to Perry Barr!
If you are coming for the Commonwealth Games, please just don't think of the Alexander Stadium as a venue to which you travel by shuttle bus.

Think of it as sitting in a living, breathing, established community. Unlike other Games, which tend to be held on brownfield sites, these Games are using a stadium that was built some time ago in a local park on the edge of Birmingham. It's now been rebuilt, bigger and better.

Take a look around our area. Amidst all the gloss, you may spot some of the problems that blight a large city such as Birmingham, flytipping, litter, uncollected bins.

You'll also see a green suburb, which last year residents voted to designate a "Garden Surburb." It was mostly built in the 1930s to provide homes and gardens for the working people of Birmingham, just like garden cities.

And it has two terrific parks. We are sorry that when you arrive at the Stadium you don't get a better taste of Perry Park. It's a shame that the coach park where you are delivered was once grassland used for community football. After (or before) your visit, cross the Walsall Road and walk five minutes down Perry Avenue to Perry Hall Park. There have been a few community events here for the Games, including the last stage of the baton relay this morning. Its community wildlife garden (behind the keeper's hut) was named the runner up community project in this year's first ever Barr in Bloom competition and is largely developed by a volunteer named Norman Ball.

The park has some amazing features, including the moat which once surrounded a large country house. Hopefully today the litter will have been picked out of the moat. 

  Welcome to Perry Barr and when you walk around the area give a smile and a thank you to local residents. They have put up with a great deal in the preparation for the Games because Perry Barr was not in any way a brownfield site. Very often city leaders failed to listen to their advice. You may indeed hear in some quarters grand talk about "regeneration". This applies to a small area of land near the station which used to be the home of Birmingham City University, which moved to the city centre.

We wish local people had been heeded more in the project. There was once some interesting and useful modernist, concrete structures here, close to the station (which was a monstrosity before its rebuilding) with grass and trees and real parkland. Sadly all you will see is a bit of artificial grass.

You can find out more about our activities as local councillors at our Facebook page. You may see how difficult holding a big event is for a local community, how the authorities struggle with their commitment to keep cars away and ended up ticketing and penalising the local people instead of protecting them from excess parking. So please don't drive here!

As local councillors, we are proud our community is at the centre of the Games and that we are welcoming the world here. Thousands of local residents have responded to an invitation to attend the dress rehearsal's for today's opening ceremony and have had a great time.

Barr in Bloom was held for the first time this year with funding from the Games and organised by the 3Bs (Beeches, Booths and Barr) Neighbourhood Planning Forum. It celebrated great local gardens and groups of people who work to keep our area great. The cupwinners were the Beeches Litterpickers who go out every Sunday morning picking up litter.

The presentation of the prizes was the first community event to be held at the stadium, earlier this month.

A week ago or so there was a carnival atmosphere at Perry Hall Park when school and dance groups gathered to celebrate the heritage of the Caribbean. And then there is this sculptured log you can find if you follow the wooded stream that links to the moat.

But do look around further. At Tower Hill, up the hill of the Walsall Road, you will find a new community garden, developed by local residents as part of Barr in Bloom. But you will also see the tumbledown local library which remains unregenerated and untouched by the so-called regeneration. So when you hear talk of Legacy and Regeneration, understand that there is new housing down the road but the existing community doesn't even get its library rebuilt. 

Have a great time at the Games! 
(We are sure you will) Get to know the local people. If it's sunny they will be out and about - although sadly not many will be in Perry Park, which appears to have been locked down for the Games. We heard a story of a famous athlete who visited the stadium and said: "You know I came here for years training and didn't even know there was a park here." We are hoping for and have been promised better after the Games, real investment in the park. We've been promised that the children's play facilities that were removed will be bigger and better. Alongside the local community, we will be holding the powers to be to account for this.

We have spoken about these things at the City Council. We'd have liked the Birmingham Commonwealth Games to be the start of a new era in which Games are undertaken as part of communities, are affordable to all countries and not just placed in self-contained, newly built Games Parks. The London Olympics ten years ago was amazing - but it shouldn't be the only way to do Games.

Cllrs Jon Hunt and Morriam Jan

Saturday, October 03, 2020

Josh's Flyover campaign

Local campaigner Josh Bunting is working with Jon and Morriam on a new campaign to get the roadworks at Perry Barr stopped - to spare our area from gridlock this winter.

You can find the petition here:

This is what the petition says:

The new development in Perry Barr is not now being used for the Commonwealth Games. In addition everyone is desperate to get back to work after the pandemic.

These are two big reasons for not going ahead with demolition of the Perry Barr Flyover this winter. Lane restrictions on the A34 and traffic lights at Birchfield Island are already caused gridlock, even before flyover demolition is attempted.

We call for work to be suspended on the Perry Barr Regeneration Project while an independent review is conducted of its costs, purpose and benefits. There is no urgency now that the project is not needed for the Commonwealth Games. Indeed the council should not risk having unfinished road schemes in 2022.

For the last two years the local community has been asking how traffic will move during demolition of the flyover - and even now the answer is just to find other routes. Perry Barr is a crucial bottleneck on the way into Birmingham and asking thousands of drivers to find other routes will simply gridlock the  inadequate local road network.

The review should examine the evidence of the impact of the project on crucial bus routes, such as the 997, and ask why better ways of delivering improvements have not been found.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Gerry Jerome standing for parliament

Gerry Jerome is to be the Liberal Democrat candidate for Perry Barr in the 12th December general election, it has been announced.

Gerry runs an IT business and lives in Birmingham. In his earlier life he was a Liberal Democrat councillor and knows all about standing up for local people.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Don't demolish the flyover!

Jon raised the alarm in June about proposals to demolish the Perry Barr flyover being considered as part of the work around the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

This would see a huge traffic light junction created at Perry Barr. Planners seem to think this is the simplest thing to do so solve the problems in this area. The problem is the work will cause huge traffic congestion and then afterwards all cars will queue in multiple lanes outside the new Perry Barr station. So then we would need another Clean Air Zone.

It would also cause huge upset just when good work is being done to build the athletes' village and rebuild the station.

So far more than 1,000 people have signed an on-line petition to keep the flyover. You can find it here:

You will find more regular updates on our work on our Facebook page:

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Funeral of the late Ray Hassall

We can confirm the arrangements for Ray Hassall's funeral this Friday (12th May). The funeral is at Aston Parish Church, Witton Lane, Birmingham B6 6QA at 1230pm. The church is large - but we are expecting a few people so please be seated in good time. Aston Villa have kindly agreed to provide parking in the Holte End Car Park (turn right up Trinity Road, facing the church and then right into the car park). The wake will be at the Alexander Stadium. Doors will open at 1.45pm - with light refreshments served) and we are expecting the funeral cortege to arrive about 2.30pm following a private ceremony at the Perry Barr Crem. There is plenty of parking at the Stadium and there will be plenty of room to mingle, sit in silence and remember Ray or view photos of his life. All are welcome to the funeral and the stadium to give our Ray a great send-off!


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”