Minutes of NHW meetings

The meeting of Thursday 17th November 2016 opened with those attending, including Councillor Karen McCarthy, being welcomed for the last of our NHW meetings for 2016.

The police provided us with some details for the preceding quarter of incidents on or near to our three streets which will be incorporated into the NHW website once we are into next year and all incidents recorded against the particular categories shown under www.police.uk

The figures provided showed there were three incidents in Darris Road and the same number around Woodside (park Corner) although these may well be park-related as the reorded incidents are noyt GPS pin-point accuracy, hence the phrase the police use; 'on or near to'. The incidents in darris Road were all criminal damage and those in Woodside comprised of one criminal damage and two public order offences.

The month of August recorded more incidents, three along Warwards Lane (two burglaries and one criminal damage) and six around Woodside (across anti-social behaviour, burglary, theft and vehicle crime). There was no breakdown provided. September, menatime, recorded one burglary in Warwards Lane and two assaults around Woodside under the police category of violence and sexual offences.

During October, there were two incidents of items stolen from vehicles, a stolen pedal cycle and one of criminal dmage to a vehicle. We believe two of these were related to the incident repoorted in the newsletter where a child's car seat was stolen from an unsecured car. There was also one burglary in Milner Road. This evidences the need to be as vigilant as we can in reporting suspicious activity or actual criminal behaviour.

We should not rely on others to do this for us, as unrecorded crime/suspicious activity, may worsen the trend of incidents along our streets. Nearby Bournbrook continues to produce very high incidences of burglary of laptops and other electronic equipment because of the predominance of students living there who are not always appreciative of security when living away from home.

Reporting incidents of a non-life threatening nature can be done by telephoning '101' and those which are more urgent, on '999'. Potential scams, particularly from door to door 'salespeople' are still occurring and it would improve the neighbourliness of the three streets if elderly neighbours were 'looked out for' by the rest of us. An effective NHW membership supports the aim of near zero crime.

We have been made aware of recent occupation of the park behind the St. Mary's hospice building on Raddlebarn Road by a group of 'Travellers' by one of our NHW members and this apparently occurred a number of times. Cllr McCarthy gave an update on how the police are required to respond proportionately under existing statute to these kind of 'invasions'. They are however undertaking a pilot scheme to apply a general injunction against using parks without permission.

Essentially, this means that rather than excluding specific groups, it is particular activities within the bounds of specific areas to which these injunctions will apply. This was done to counter the mass biker gangs that plague our streets intermittently and what it does is to reduce the resources and time required to collect information to identify offenders that adds to frustrations of the more law abiding waiting for relief. The City Council are also looking to create official travelling sites that groups can be directed to as well.

Policing continues to be undertaken on a constituency rather than a ward basis, and policing resources will be utilised in the areas with higher crime, hence why reporting matters to them is key. It is disappointing that we rarely see them at our NHW meetings, which hopefully is reflective of the safer nature of our three streets, although we continue to receive information from them as necessary.

The West Midlands police are recruiting new officers, and one of our former PCSO's; Ade Richardson, underwent training last year, as some may recall. Cllr McCarthy advised us that we are due to get a new police sergeant for our area; Alia Galvin, so we will look to maintain contact with her and the other officers and PCSO's. Please continue to raise any concerns about the level of policing through us.

The City Council recently wrote to local households regarding the program to apply a 20mph speed limit along many surrounding roads, including Warwards Lane, with a view to improving safety within pedestrianised areas and thereby attract more shops into Stirchley high street. Respondents can always write to the relevant department, obtainable form our NHW website, as well as replying via e-mail.

The embankment alongside of the Park Corner development is now going to be cut back by the Council parks team by springtime of next year. We raised a general point about cutting all street facing hedges and bushes to within the property boundaries, and whilst this has been done for the most part, we are looking to get full compliance by the same time frame of Spring next year. Doing so will make the street look better which tends to lower the likelihood of crime.

We also mentioned that your NHW have been taking further steps to reduce the number of 'For Sale' and 'to Let' signs along our streets long after properties have become occupied and we are finding that more local estate agents are being responsive to doing this, as again, it makes our streets tidier and look occupied. The uneven steps leading up from warwards Lane to park Corner are also likely to be attended to on health and safety grounds.

We also referenced the level of responses to local planning applications like the one for the proposed MOT testing station/scrpyard for 1135/1137, Pershore Road and the Lidl one at the existing 'Fitness First' venue opposite the Pershore Road end of Warwards Lane. Once the deadlins for comments passes, should there be insufficient objections, these proposals will go ahead, and no amount of complaining 'after the fact' wioll rectify the matter. We are also asking people to complete a response to the plans to license HMO's.

The contact e-mail for this is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we have asked Cllr McCarthy to obtain the correspondence address to allow those not on-line to respond as well. Essentially, the Community Partnership for Selly Oak (CP4SO) has provided a number of key phrases that everyone can use some or all to include in their reply to both national and additional icensing of Homes of Multiple Occupancy that your NHW would endorse to have happen.  

Please take a few minutes to send your responses, separately for both the netional and Selly Oak area, to ensure we get enough support here to get this action taken and enable the Council to take firmer action against the 'rogue' landlords who create some of the monstrosities we see even in our own streets! The consultation deadline for the national HMO registration is 13th December 2016 and for the local one, it is 31st December 2016.

The date for our next 'Big Clean Up' is Saturday 19th December 2016 starting at 10.00am outside 'Park Auto Sales' at the Raddlebarn Road end of Warwards Lane. The wheelie bins definitely seem to have reduced the rat population, so long as the lids are secured, and the key benefit is also that cleaner streets generally have less crime. We also have noticed some 'fly-tipping' of furniture from one particular house and have contacted the authorities regarding this. 

There was no AOB and the meeting then closed so that we could try 'Three Horseshoes' public house.