Friday, November 23, 2012

Wheelie bins - residents say NO!

Karen Hamilton checks out wheelie bins in Sandwell

So the Labour council has got its grant to introduce wheelie bins and what's going to happen now?

We circulated all households in Perry Barr ward over August and September and received hundreds of replies.

Overwhelmingly, by 10 to 1, residents rejected the council's wheelie bin plans.

In other areas of the city surveys are finding opposition breaks at about 3 to 1. That highlights that our area is uniquely

unsuitable for wheelie bins.

Take Cramlington Road with about 160 households. One side is raised. The households are almost all accessed by quite steep steps. Many of the residents living up these steps are quite elderly. Some householders have carved out small parking bays - but we have seen very few of these with spare space for three wheelie bins.

What about the other side of the road? It's a little flatter and most households have created front drives. Many of these slope down to the houses. You'd think they would be okay for wheelie bins on that side and indeed one or two householders have asked for them. Think again. Most householders squeeze two cars on the front drive. The cars fill up the frontage. They might store bins by their front bay window or their side shed. To get them out, they'll have to move a car off the drive and push them up the slope.

This road is typical of dozens in our ward, especially on that estate but also elsewhere.Take Rocky Lane - 400 houses, some of them perched on top of steep banks. Or Charnwood Road - one side - about 30 houses sits entirely on top of a bank accessed by steep flights of steps.

Then there is the Yew Tree estate in Aston - Village Road and Yew Tree Road in particular. As flat as a pancake. Front doors on the pavement, houses terraced with very, very few side alleys. Every now and again there is a narrow alley leading to a path behind the houses. If they store their bins on the pavements the pavement will be blocked.

Labour came into power and rushed this proposal through without consultation. We are now promised a consultation.

We found no more than two roads in our area where residents might be in favour - and one was a close call. We'll be pushing to ensure every resident is asked whether they can manage the bins. We'll also be pushing to ensure that residents who don't have them don't get a second class service.

Karen Hamilton said: “They’re not suitable for much of this area.Whatever happens the council needs to think again about its plans to impose them on this area.”

Jon Hunt reports survey returns to Council
 Jon Hunt pushed the issue at the council's October meeting. He was surprised to be told that only 5% of households in Birmingham would be exempt. That's 20-25,000 households. Of those we estimate 8,000 in Perry Barr ward would need exemption.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Tower Hill safety campaign updates

Karen Hamilton and Jon Hunt with petition outside Co-op
Karen Hamilton asked transport cabinet member Cllr Tahir Ali about progress on the Tower Hill safety petition at the monthly city council meeting yesterday.

Cllr Ali replied:  "I can confirm that following the recent fatal collision at the junction of Walsall Road and Tower Hill, Highway officers have met with West Midlands Police to assist in the course of the investigation. As is the procedure in these cases, the Police will submit a report to the Coroner’s Court, with their recommendations as to potential road improvements that should be considered in light of the circumstances of the incident.

"Whilst we will need to wait until the outcome of the Coroner’s Inquiry, to understand what recommendations will be brought forward, please be assured that Highways officers are in close contact with both the Police and the Coroner’s Office, to ensure that they have our full assistance in reaching those recommendations."

* Other related developments: The city council yesterday backed a Lib Dem initiative to introduce more 20mph zones in residential areas. Ray Hassall got to speak in the debate.

* We're consulting residents about the 952 bus route. Our suggestion is to reverse the direction around the Beeches and Booths Farm estates so it does not have to stop at the top of Beeches Road. This would also help deal with some of the bottle-neck issues around the route. We've put forward the idea as Centro have announced a review of bus routes in north Birmingham. We understand that operator National Express agrees there are problems. At the moment bus drivers have to pull out from the left hand bus lane on the Walsall Road to get into the right filter for Beeches Road. They are then stuck at a bus stop preventing other right turning traffic getting down Beeches Road.

* Karen also presented more signatures from the petition to the council meeting.