Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Perry Hall Park "row"

The users of this lovely park are up in arms about a request from the cricket league to take on more pitches.

A local campaign has been launched and it's great to see that people care.

However we need to make clear that this is not an agreed council plan. Several years ago when a strategy for the parks was agreed we made it clear that in our view the cricket should stay the west side of the river and the east side should continue to be enhanced for general leisure. Under park warden Jez Lilley there have been some terrific improvements and a lot of work by volunteers also.

Ray Hassall is cabinet member for leisure and he confirmed to the Ward Advisory Board on Monday night that he has put a block on any cricket pitches returning to what is known as the "air field", a large green south of Rocky Lane where people used to fly model planes and where football pitches are located. The site was used for cricket five years ago when work was under way on the River Tame and we had a bit of a battle to get it reinstated. (A classic example was two years ago when some cricketers hijacked it on Carnival Day causing major traffic chaos).

So we support the bulk of the aims of the campaigners but wish to make it clear that this is not an agreed plan! Our position as ward councillors has not changed - the Park is a Park, not just a Playing Field! Here's a link to their site.

* More park news. On May 30th the Friends of Perry Hall Park are planning an open day to celebrate the work they have done. There's a plan for a local history exhibition. They're having one or two problems with red-tape which need to be resolved and Ray has offered to help ensure that no jobsworth gets in the way!

Link back to winter pictures of the park.


Betty said...

Even if there are no plans to provide cricket pitches on the 'airfield' there are still far too many on the west side of the river.
It is almost impossible for local residents to use this park at the weekend because of the huge numbers of cricketers there. Car parking is a problem as is congestion in neighbouring roads.
Some dog-walkers have been threatened by cricketers. The amount of rubbish left behind after matches has to be seen to be believed.
I suggest it is time to reduce the number of pitches on the west side of the river and give the park back to the neighbourhood.

Angie said...

great that there isn't going to be an expansion, great that they were prevented from using the other side of the river, thanks for all of that.
However they still have far too many pitches on the other side of the river. They have by far the best land too. The airfield has ONE very old goal post and lots of potholes. Why do local residents, kids especially get 2nd best.
talking to local residents whilst taking the petition round, many have said that the park on Sunday is now a no go area for them.
This is due to excess traffic, the mess, dangers from the hard balls, intolerance of dogs by cricketers and little spare land to use.
Please, please campaign to reduce the amount of pitches and improve on facilities for local residents.
It seems to be what 99% of people in this area want.

Angie said...

One more thing..
Does anyone know the number of pitches that have been in use every year for the last 10 years? I know cricket has been played there for a long time but it seems that in recent years it has taken over. It would be interesting to see when this increase began and by how much each year.
Also can we pleae have the goal posts by Cherry Orchard put back up? Now that they've been removed the cricketers play here as well. This is yet another good piece of land that has been lost to them.

norman said...

why does there need to be so many pitches? And why were the residents and users of the park not consulted?

Pat said...

Surely it is a good thing that our local youngsters want to use the park, rather than being out and about causing mischief. Their desire for healthy exercise should be encouraged by making more park facilities available to them. After all, the cricket league are only there twice a week, our young people are local.

Betty said...

I have been collecting signatures for the petition and everyone I have asked has been very eager to sign. Many people have told me that they no longer walk in the park at the weekend because of the cricketers.
I have told them about the meeting in Rocky Lane Methodist church on May 11th and many of them said they will come.
I hope we will get some answers to our questions at the meeting.

Jessica said...

I am a 13 year old girl and used to enjoy trips down to the park to play with family and friends. Now it's not possible for me to do that as there is a limited amount of land left which is open to all members of the community. Infact i don't even feel like going back to the park I onced love because i know i'll just be turned away. I hope this issue gets resolved soon so the community can get its muched loved park back which we haven't had recently. I will be attending the meeting on May 11th to show my support regarding the subject.

Betty said...

There is an article in this week's Great Barr Observer which, apart from them calling the cricket teams 'local' (they are not) is quite accurate.

Interesting to see in the article that a Council spokesman says that they 'try to respond to demand and are mindful of the needs of all users of our parks - from cricketers to footballers and dog walkers. Our aim is to strike the right balance. If the demand is there from clubs to use facilities then we try and meet that demand'.

What about the demand from local people? The right balance is certainly NOT being struck! It is time for us to call a halt to the takeover of our park by clubs and make some demands of our own!

I am sure that we can count on the support of our three local councillors and get the number of cricket pitches reduced.

See you at the meeting,

Betty said...

In just over two weeks we have had over 40 comments in our 'Your Comments' page on the website I think you will agree that this shows the strength of public feeling on the number of cricket pitches in the park.

Jamie F said...


I play for a team that plays in the league that plays on Saturday. Its been around for over 100 years. As a team member i can only tell you how frustrating it is to have to pay and play on a pitch that has already been used - i am not talking about a pitch used by little kids, more where a full game has already been played on by adults. As far as i am aware, the league has not asked anybody to stop kids from playing on the pitches during the week, and in fact i think local schools do use the facility - i think the objection from the league is to adults playing organised football or cricket on the square. Obviously, there are no problems with football being played on the outfield.

I think its time that everybody drew a breath - i don't believe the cricket league want to deprive any other users from using this site, and it is only during the summer months that cricket is played at the weekends, starting around 1pm, on one side of the park - the rest of the park is empty. If the flying area side is overgrown, then its up to the city to spend some money and cut the grass - and at one time i think there were pitches on this side as well, and so if they were good for cricket the area should be good for other sports.

Just my two cents.

betty said...

Further to Jamie F's comment,
While it is good to read that the cricket league do not want to deprive other users from using the site, that is effectively what they are doing.

(I am presuming here that all the teams using the pitches belong to the same league, perhaps someone could let me know if this is not the case)

As a group, we are not against cricket being played in the park. It makes sense that pitches are kept in good order for teams which have paid the Council to use them. But it does not make sense for there to be thirteen pitches!

Jamie says that during the summer months cricket is played at the weekends starting around 1pm on one side of the park, and the rest of the park is empty.

There are reasons for the park not being well-used by members of the public who are not involved in cricket.

The west side of the river, where all the pitches are, is virtually a 'no-go' area due to abuse from many of the cricketers who object to dogs being walked along the path by the river. We have had many reports of dog-owners being shouted at by cricketers and their families just for walking the dogs on the path.

There is also the problem on men urinating openly in public. I know there are no toilets in the park, but surely this is unacceptable? If you were out for a walk with your children would you really want them to see this sort of behaviour from adults? If the proposed toilet block near the compound (Perry Avenue entrance) goes ahead, are these men really going to walk all the way over to use them? The portable toilets which have been used in the past were often vandalised and tipped over, spilling chemicals onto the grass.

On Monday mornings the amount of rubbish left behind by cricketers and their families has to be seen to be believed. This is a problem which local users of the playing fields have complained about for years.

Visitors who come to the playing fields by car will have great difficulty parking because all the available car-parking space is taken up by cricketers.

As I said, we are not against cricket being played, but we want the number of pitches reduced to a more reasonable number. It might also be a good idea for the pitches not to be in the 'bowl' (the area just over the bridges) as this is where members of the local community like to walk.

Anonymous said...

I am a captain of a saturday afternoon team and I would like to make a couple of points.

Firstly all home teams are heavily fined if rubbish is found by there pitch.

The reason that so Manygames are played here is because the council have pressured teams to play at one location to save money on pitch preperation and forced our hand by providing diobolical facilities at other locations.

I have not witnessed any abuse given given to other users of the park who do not walk across the pitch. Dogs have provided much amusement to our afternoons as they regularly urinate on our stumps. No abuse has been given.

I grant that the lack of toilet facilities will become a problem

Betty said...

It is interesting to read in the above post that cricket teams are heavily fined for leaving rubbish. I have many photos, taken on Monday mornings, showing large amounts of rubbish left behind by cricketers. Where is the money they are being fined going to? It certainly isn't being put back into the park!

I want to make the point again that we are not asking that ALL pitches be removed, only some of them so that there is space for local people to use. The Council should respect the wishes of the local community (over 1,100 people signed our petition) Why doesn't the Cricket league insist that the Council improve facilities at other locations? Mr Aziz, reported in the Mail, said that the cricket league paid "thousands" to the Council to maintain "their" pitches at Perry Hall. Surely this money could be used in other parks?

It is good to read that Anonymous has not witnessed abuse to other park users but I can assure him that it happens regularly. I am glad to see that he is not worried by the dogs being walked, but I have seen the reaction of many cricketers to dogs and they are not all as tolerant as he is.

Anonymous said...

As far as i understand the cricket league does make representations to the city council for pitches in other parks - but there has to be space for this. Also, its in the city's interest to have a dedicated centre of excellence for cricket at perry hall, where it is easier and cheaper to maintain 13 pitches rather than having a number of pitches dispersed all over the city.

In terms of dogs being walked, whilst i personally have no issue with this, it must be remembered that other people do not always like or are as tolerant to dogs. This is particularly true when the dogs (who are off the leash) go up to them, or sniff thier stuff out of curiousity - in these situations it is the responsibility of the dog owner to ensure that thier dog does not do this, i can't blame the dog as it is only acting on its nature. I mean if there was a vicous dog loose in the park, a responsible dog owner would protect thier own dog from harm or getting in the way of this other dog - so whats the difference here. If you know someone may not like your dog, then it is up to to you to stop your dog from bothering that person.

Betty said...

Are you saying that there is no space in other parks, or is the reason for having so many in Perry Hall because the council wants to save money by having them all in one place?

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting, as a neutral observer, of this blog and also the comments page on the playing fields for all website, how today some comments on that website that did not paint the cricketers as demons have now mysteriously dissappeared - i refer specifically to the comments posted by Jamief and Jack, which talked about how there were other users of the park in addition to the cricketers, and how footballers play on the cricket square, and how there was space for all on the site.

Its strange how these are now gone and instead there is a heading posted that requests users to give an email address - surely this should not be applied retrospectively and some comments being removed by the blog owners that offer a different view to the views expressed by others - i thought we lived in a democracy where there was the freedome to express an opinion , without the thought police censoring comments that do not agree with thier dominant world view.

I would urge the local councillors to ensure that all views are represented on what is meant to be a community website - rather than a one sided view that is currently being presented.

On a personal level i am only interested in seeing democracy at work and also to see the views of the whole community (or at least those who follow this issue) be represented - without the orwellian police censuring comments they do not like.

Betty said...

I find it interesting that 'Anonymous' is claiming to be a "neutral observer" when he has posted comments which are far from neutral and are in fact, quite inflammtory.
I have removed his (oh, sorry, "Jamie's" and "Jack's" )
comments from the website because he seems to have some sort of hidden agenda. I set up the website to publicize the campaign to have the number of cricket pitches reduced. That is all there is to it. I am not prepared to enter into discussion any longer with someone who hides behind anonymous identities and implies that there is a sinister reason for our campaign.
Jon, Karen and Ray all know me. Do they know 'Anonymous' (Jamie/Jack)?

Anonymous said...


You tell me what inflamatory comments i have posted!!! I merely called a spade a spade and the fact that the local councillors know you does not mean that you have blank cheque to post any comments that you want to and to control and remove comments that do not agree with your world view - there is an option on this website that enables me to post comments as "annonymous" and i am merely exercising this facility, and i believe i have valid comments and thoughts on the issue (even without the personal endorsement of the local councillors).

Your group purports to represent residents, and i asked whether it represents "all" resident, including cricketers who live locally and want to play cricket on the site? Is this inflamatory.

Your group and website makes continual reference to the "exclusive" use of the site by the cricketers - i have posted comments that there are more users than the cricketers, including footballers and local schools. I also said that at the weekend there are lots of local users (non-cricketers) who use the park and this can be verified - is this inflamatory.

The sinister reasons for your campaign stems from the fact that there are lots of users (from all communities) who use the park at the weekend - but the vocal minority on your website (who seem to compose of dog walkers in the main) seem to ignore this fact - is this inflamatory. On your group Russ posted "this sunday cricketers didn't bring as many supporters/family with them as they usually do and that made a difference" - and you decided that this comment can stay, but the fact that i pointed out that there were other users who also used the park was seen as inflamatory - strange really as Russ seemed to be pointing out that a lot of asian normally come and use the park (and why shouldn't they). After reading comments like this I merely pointed out that maybe the issue is not with overall usage, but rather WHO is using the park. That is what i was alluding to. Is this inflammatory to correct someone else's prejeudiced tinged view????

Vince pointed out that the cricketes broke branches to mark a pitch for 20/20 cricket - which is completely untrue and jack posted a comment to refute this, and this was deleted yet the original comment stayed. Why? because it doesnt support your groups views and provided you with "supposed" ammunition to beat the cricketers with. How many pitches had such boundaries marked out? I beleive it was only one by the bridge, and your group immediatley attributed this to the cricketers, with no verification at all - why, because your group has an "anti-cricket" bias in it and you only post comments that support this view. is this inflammatory? Any reasonable person can verify this bias by simply looking at the premise behind your groups creation and the comments posted on your website.

Rather than being a group that looks at ways of addressing some of the more valid issues like the overgrown grass in other areas of the park, your group seems hell bent on trying to create conflict with the cricketers rather than looking at widening the use of the site by improving other areas.

If saying all this seems infamatory, then i am sorry to say that is your issue. All i want to do is see someone correcting the misinformation that you are publicising and to try and contain the anti-cricket sentiment that your group is espousing as this is a dangerous road and can lead to a widening of issues that can effect community cohesion.

If you think i am posting inflamatory comments, post them on your group page and let the readers judge. At the time of posting and whilst they were up, no one commented that my comments were inflammatory and this is a defence that you are now using to justify your censureship of views that conflict with your beliefs.

Betty said...

I set up the website to publicize the campaign to have the number of cricket pitches reduced. That is all there is to it. I am not prepared to enter into discussion any longer with someone who hides behind anonymous identities and implies that there is a sinister reason for our campaign.

Anonymous said...


Amazing thing now - you have removed the link to this blog from your website. what are you fearful off - the fact that people may hear another side to the story, the fact that people may read a true account of what is happening at perry hall - and not the half truths and misinformation that is being spread on the playing fields for all website.

As someone once said, Seek the truth and it shall set you free.

I also notice that you didn't take me up on my challenge to repost the comments that you found to be inflamatory...i would say that your failure to do so is tanatamount to an admission that you cannot handle any information being published which runs counter to your groups standpoint.

What are you afraid off, will people desert your campaign when they find out that the reality on the ground is different from what you are painting?

This is my last comment on this, and i would urge all fair minded folk to judge for themselves whether my earlier post here contained anything inflamatory or not.

Betty said...

I set up the website to publicize the campaign to have the number of cricket pitches reduced. That is all there is to it. I am not prepared to enter into discussion any longer with someone who hides behind anonymous identities and implies that there is a sinister reason for our campaign.

Anonymous said...

I posted earlier regarding this issue. I am the captain of one of the teams.

My first suggestion would be to report the found rubbish to the council. Firstly the pitches are number and the league is aware of the teams who were there the previous day. That may help you, with rubbish being left behind.

I would like to point out that pitches used elsewhere on a Saturday will be used for joy riders, drink and drug abuse leaving glass and other unsuitable things lying around.

I come from South Birmingham to play at the ground. I enjoy it, I like the pitches and was offered an opportunity to move this season and turned it down. I agree that there are to many games played however I would also like to ask which pitches you would like removed. The pitches closest to the river are by far the best. Which is I imagine the preferred dog walkers path.

I would personally would to speak to anyone who as problems, but I would add on a serious note that while wanting pitches used reduced I do not like the aggressive accusations being made. I am a white player, and one of only 4 non Asian teams playing on Saturday and Sunday. Although my team has several Asian players and have no problems with any of them or opponents, I can't envisage anyone having a big problem.

In Asia some countries people encourage children to avoid dogs, understandably wild dogs are dirty and carry potentially lethal disease such as rabies, as is true with one of our players who is petrified when he sees a dog walker and will run to the other end of perry hall much to our amusement.

I feel that your comments in relation to abuse and accusations that there is no room for dog walkers is completely unfounded and you are using these arguing points to strengthen your petition. I for one would intervene if I saw any of these accusations taking place, and the many friends I have from within these leagues would do the same. The umpires would also report bad behavior back to the leagues board.

We are all aware of the size of Perry hall and the fact there is ample room for a man and his dog. as well as cricket

Jon said...

We'll do an update posting on the situation shortly. The three councillors had a site meeting in the park with the managers earlier this week and we have come up with some ideas, which will be reported to Perry Barr ward advisory board on Monday night. In addition the park staff have also taken some steps to defuse the problem.

Betty said...

It's good to read that the three councillors had a meeting in the park this week. What a shame that none of them thought of letting us know what the outcome was.

We are not members of the Ward Advisory Board, so I suppose we will have to wait till the next Ward meeting.

Betty said...

I don't know where the issue of the nationality of cricketers comes into this problem. The reason for our campaign is to have the number of cricket pitches reduced, not to prevent certain nationalities from playing. How difficult is it to understand that?

Some people, who have hidden behind aliases when posting comments here and on our website, have suggested motives behind our campaign which I find extremely offensive.

There are too many cricket pitches in the park. There is no room for local kids and adults to play sports. We want the number of pitches reduced.

Please let me try to make it clear, it is the NUMBER OF PITCHES we want reduced. We are not interested in the nationality of the players.

Jon said...

Betty, I said we would post details shortly. In addition Karen is organising the follow-up meeting you wanted with the parks department. At ward committee there were several issues we said we would pursue immediately - that is what we have done!!


Betty said...


The ward committee was over a month ago. If, as you say, you "pursued the issues immediately" surely there has been time since then to inform us about what is happening?

Angie said...

I was shocked to see that several practice cricket strips have been created,right next to the main paths!! It's so dangerous, I was cycling and twice i had to slam on my brakes to avoid being hit by heavy balls. The cricketers were all wearing protective gear, something which people using the paths won't have!
training pitches are a great idea but not in such perilous positions.
Can you please look into the health and safety aspect of this,
it's an accident waiting to happen.
Also is there any development re the kids football pitch that was mentioned at the ward meeting?

Angie said...

A vast majority of our supporters are people wanting to play sport in this area, The campaign is not about dog walkers as you seem to think.

Obviously, having such a large amount of pitches does impact on local users in a variety of ways (litter, intolerance of dogs, having to see men publicly urinate, parking problems) but our main motivation is that we'd like to see fairer usage of this area.

Betty said...

Loads of rubbish left behind by cricketers this morning. Dave and Jez were not on duty over the weekend so it was all left on the grass.
Photos on

Anonymous said...

Great Photos' Betty.

What about all the rubbish that was on the park side of the bridge (the side closest to Perry Avenue) as you walk towards the cricket pitches. There was loads of rubbish there as well (mainly fast food containers), do you have any pictures of that as well - however i don't know if this could blamed on the cricketers or simply other inconsiderate users.