Saturday, May 30, 2009

Perry Hall Park open day

Today the friends of Perry Hall Park held an open day in the park.

This was a chance to show off some of the progress made recently in this park under the supervision of park warden Jez Lilley. The park was set up by a group of young people who are becoming junior park wardens.
The first picture shows the friends, the second the Swan Rescue Centre and the third the Historical Society which had a fascinating exhibition on the history of Perry Hall.

The fourth is Norman Ball, popularly known as the "moatman", the hard-working volunteer who has landscaped the moat over a number of years. Norman is shown in the park's new welcome garden.

We launched a petition at this event calling for the retention of the park warden's post. The warden has made a big difference to the park in recent years, working with community groups and establishing the Friends and enabling bids for various funds.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

TowerHill success

Some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that our campaign to restrict opening hours at the new Clifton Cinema restaurant has been successful. Planners have refused permission for it to stay open, offering dancing and drink until 2.30am.

Throughout we've stressed we welcome the conversion of this historic cinema building and the investors that the Chinese businesspeople are putting into it. But opening in the early hours was too much and we had to resist it.

The bad news is that they have a right of appeal - and sometimes that can lead to things going pear-shaped.

For instance, close to this site, we were celebrating two years ago when permission was refused for a phone mast and base station outside the Co-op cinema. We were astonished and dismayed when this self-same structure was installed.

Upon inquiry, it emerged the phone company had quietly gone to a government inspector to appeal and won. Outrageous! The structure isn't as bad as we feared but our original arguments stand - that it's clutter in a shopping area which has just been renovated with new bus stops and public access.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rain stops play...

Sadly the big event planned for this weekend in Great Barr is going to be postponed because of the dreadful weather forecast.

The event is the Cars in the Park, to be held in Turnberry Park, Great Barr. This is an ambitious fun day organised by the Booths Farm Neighbourhood Forum and was to include a parade of classic cars and motorbikes on Sunday 17th.

The weather forecasts suggest rain every day between now and Sunday. It could be wrong but stopping the event now prevents thousands of pounds being lost through a wash-out and keeps cancellation costs to a minimum.

It is now hoped to run the event on Sunday June 21st.

Although not many people will have heard of Turnberry Park (it runs alongside the M6 and access is from an entrance facing Calshot School or via a path from Trehurst Avenue), it used to hold big neighbourhood watch fun days.

So we've been pleased to support the reinvigorated Neighbourhood Forum in organising this event - which, we hope will eventually be great fun - and the Perry Barr Ward Committee has voted to approve substantial funding.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

All change

The council's annual meeting takes place on Tuesday and it looks as though the three councillors may have changing roles.

Karen Hamilton is being nominated as chair of the highways and transportation scrutiny committee. If successful, she will effectively be number 2 in the highways department.

Jon Hunt continues as Lib Dem group leader on the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority and will be nominated to continue as chair of the children and education scrutiny committee.

Ray Hassall will be joining the public protection committee after stepping down as cabinet member for the leisure department.

It's worth recording some of Ray's achievements over the three years he has held his post. Quite a lot of work has impacted on Perry Barr with its two major parks and the Alexander Stadium and sometimes he has faced criticism for being responsible for major decisions. However his knowledge of the department is going to continue to be invaluable to local people, precisely because we have so many issues.

Ray brought the half-marathon to Birmingham, setting a great example by taking part himself.

He's been involved in hard negotiations to bring top Olympics teams to Birmingham for 2012. It's no secret we are talking about the US Track Team.

He got park wardens back in the parks - look at the impact Jez Lilley has had on Perry Hall Park.

Talk to him and he can reel off a long list of what he's been involved with!