Saturday, April 12, 2008


The planning application amendments for the Speedway at Perry Barr were agreed by planning this week.

Residents living around the Speedway track were concerned that shifting some events to Sundays and Bank Holidays would cause disturbance on rest days.

There was as big a battle over this amendment as there was over the original application although, in fact, it won't mean additional races, just some changes of dates. However by the time it was submitted residents had experienced regular events - and quite a few did not like it, including Speedway's immediate neighbour, the City University.

However the real debate is likely to be later this year when Speedway puts in an application for permanent planning permission.

Coincidentally, Jon went round the area with the noise consultants employed by the Speedway on Wednesday night. One concession has been that the Speedway withdrew their request to cease noise monitoring and this was part of regular monitoring.

Jon says: "I learnt a lot from walking round the area during the race and getting information about what was happening at each moment.

"In terms of excessive noise, it peaked at about 85 decibels at the front of the City University. That's above industrial safety levels - although only very briefly. However you can see why the university is objecting so strongly.

"It was also notable that 100 yds away at the student flats quite a few windows were open. Up here the noise is dampened by the stadium and clearly the students aren' t too bothered by it.

"At Nash Square, where residents have suffered particularly, it is not excessively loud - but it is irritating. The noise is like that of a Spitfire diving and that happens 60 times during a match. It is almost certainly caused when the bikes come round a bend at one end of a track where there are no buildings shielding the square from the track.

"There was a similar noise at the Seventh Trap, at the back of Teddington Grove, but it was a little louder.

"I also went into the pits when the bikes were warming up and the noise was deafening. But the pits are sound-protected and the noise doesn't carry far so far as I can tell."

So where does this leave the Speedway?

It's pretty clear that buildings and sound-damping walls make a massive difference. During continuous racing the sound in each direction is intermittent, when the bikes go past gaps in the sound barriers.

So there's a good chance that a complete circle of sound barriers - including, for instance, more advertising hoardings to the south of the site - would make all the difference.

The Speedway say they will put them in if they get permanent planning permission - because that will justify the investment. But if they don't put them in now, and the university and some residents have some bad nights over the summer - especially if it's sunny and still - there will be a battle royal when they come up for renewal.

Jon will be writing to the Speedway reiterating his advice that they put extra sound barriers in now - to show they can work.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Queslett Road safety

Good News today!

Highways are moving ahead with the installation of two speed cameras on the Queslett Road.

Here's the map showing the location of the one in Perry Barr ward - just west of Tyler Grove.

This is progress of a kind. We're still waiting for the installation of the traffic light junction just east of this to enable safe access to the roads off Queslett Road.

Highways confirm that the number of serious accidents on this road makes it a priority for road safety measures. The new traffic lights went in for the St Margarets site about a year ago and although that made many speeders stop they still tend to accelerate once they get away from the lights.

We've given our whole-hearted and instant support to this latest proposal. It will now go to cabinet member Len Gregory for approval, once the Oscott ward councillors have also approved it, and hopefully the cameras will be up in a few weeks.