Thursday, September 17, 2009

Speedway result

Planning committee today deferred a decision on speedway at Perry Barr for one year "minded to approve" and with a request to the officers to come up with appropriate conditions.

This is a wise decision very much in line with the submissions from the local councillors and many local residents, who wanted to see noise problems resolved before permanent permission is given.

The committee made it clear they want to ensure that the reduced noise exhaust systems are being introduced into speedway. Members were also supportive of our suggestion that other measures need to be taken.

The issue has generated a lot of heat and misrepresentation in the last few days as emotions have run high in some quarters.

Here is the text of what Jon Hunt said the planning committee this morning:

"Mr chairman, committee members,

Most residents are happy to live with speedway and let fans enjoy it. They just want something done about the noise. I am here to advocate solutions.

Unlike the old Perry Barr speedway, which was banked, this track is open in several directions. In addition the River Tame is flanked by factories and acts as an echo chamber creating some weird acoustic effects.

Reduced noise from the bikes would be welcome and I hope very much would work - but we also need specific measures to close boundaries of the track.

Tall fencing would be good and what about some tall, leafy trees?

Speedway says it wants to be good neighbours and many of its fans tell me it’s a community activity. We need to see it invest in good neighbourliness, not run down the residents affected by the problem as NIMBYs. Please don’t denigrate the genuine concerns of residents who have been to see me about this on a regular basis over the last three years."

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Volunteers spent Saturday planting new flower beds in the moat area of Perry Hall Park and working on clearing and tidying up the stream through the "Chinese garden".

Volunteers, police, park staff and local councillors all worked together in the latest stage of the enhancement of this park.

Second picture shows Cllr Jon Hunt planting a bed all on his own and the third picture shows some of the thousands of goldfish that now inhabit the moat.

Sadly work on enhancing another of our parks, Turnberry Park, is being blighted by the vandals who are flytipping large amounts of rubbish in its woodland. Details to follow.

Speedway decision on Thursday

The application for permanent planning permission for the Speedway at Perry Barr is to go to the planning committee on Thursday.

The current recommendation to the committee, from the city's planning officers, is to refuse the application.

That is because the council's environmental protection department have advised there is no way of guaranteeing that the noise can be controlled. They argue that the reduction of 10db promised through new exhaust systems cannot be enforced if it does not go ahead and concur with local residents and businesses that the current level of noise is not tolerable.They also confirm what we have been saying - that the planning decision is the best point to settle problems of noise.

In addition there have been heavyweight submissisions from Birmingham City University as well as many from local residents.

Speedway have apparently collected more than 500 signatures of support, including some from residents around the track.

When the return of Speedway was given temporary permission three years ago, the planning committee overruled the advice of officers to refuse it.

We have proposed that a sound proofed high fence be erected on the west side of the site, which adjoins the River Tame. We believe if sound-proofed fences can be used on the motorway they can also be used by the Speedway. The Speedway have told us that this would cost them at least £40,000.

Both Speedway and the environmental protection department agree that they don't think a fence will work.

We say it is a shame it was not tried, when we suggested it a couple of years ago. We've walked the site and note the noise is hitting the south-west corner of Nash Square most, where it is coming up the line of the river, past the factory buildings that lie between Nash Square and the stadium. On the west side of the track there are no buildings to block the noise and that may explain why there are so many complaints from roads lying the other side of the Walsall Road. As this is an industrial site, a high barrier would not be obtrusive.

Directly north of Nash Square a new FE college is to be built. That will almost certainly have evening sessions and could experience the same problems as BCU complains of.

Otherwise, if the decision goes to a straight reject or approve on Thursday, without any attempt at finding a workable solution, there will be a great many people upset.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cricket review

Review of community cricket in Birmingham announced.

Here is the Birmingham Post report - a useful update on the controversies over the summer over Perry Hall Park.

"Council to review grass roots cricket

A Birmingham-wide review of grass roots cricket is being launched in a bid to build on the huge enthusiasm for the game following England’s Ashes success this summer......."