Minutes of NHW meetings

The meeting opened with PR and GS welcoming everyone who attended including councillors; Brigid Jones and Karen McCarthy, although our PCSO; Thomas O'Dell, was unable to attend due to his shift patterns, but we will continue to push for attendance by the police as this is long overdue. Rob Netherway was unable to attend and gave his apologies. 

GS outlined the regular three month reported crime figures that are provided by the police and which form the basis of the annual crime figures we summarise in the NHW website. During the three month period April to June of this year, there were eighteen recorded crimes along Warwards Lane, including criminal damage to vehicles (several separate incidents), assault and theft and only one burglary. There were no recorded crimes occurring in either Darris Road or Park Corner. Crimes can be reported by e-mail to -: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The point was made that the accuracy of these figures depends not only on how police classify them, but also if they are reported by those affected. There have been intermittent complaints about the length of telephone call hold via '101' and PCSO O'Dell asked that we confirm to our NHW members that crimes can also be reported on-line at https://www.west-midlands.police.uk/incident-report and we would ask anyone using this system to provide feedback on their experiences. (If you are online you can get police warning notices by registering on www.wmnow.co.uk) There does seem to be reluctance to report issues to the police, but if it is not done, policing levels will not reflect the true picture!

The continued hot weather means that there is a tendancy to leave more doors and windows open, so if this be the case, extra vigilance about remembering to secure these is essential, in order to prevent the opportunist thief. Student homes often fall foul of this as several people assume their house mates will do the necessary and then don't. This is also true of other homes of multiple occupancy, and based on frequency, occasionally owned and rented properties as well. Securing valuables left inside a dwelling is also essential to minimise the opportunity to steal items once inside the house.

PR went on to mention that scams continue to be undertaken, primarily on-line, including 'phishing' attacks as well as those performed door-to-door (distraction burglaries) or deception pretending to be official organisations 'in the area' such as the water board or other utility themed companies. Always ask for identification, and if in doubt, telephone the company and ask for sepoarate verification as to the identity and purpose of such individuals. In extreme cases, successful scams can cost thousands of pounds, so do not accept instructioons from people claiming that Microsoft are calling to fix your PC, as one NHW member did on two separate occasions. 

GS then took up the point about his second most favourite topic of the day - speeding - particularly along  Warwards Lane which is why we are looking for volunteers to undertake 'speed watches' on an issue which will almost certinly result in an injury or worse at some point despite the 20mph speed limit. It was suggested to our councillors that large road-based limit signs are put at the bottom and top end of Warwards Lane on both sides of the road as a clearer reminder than the very small signage at present. There are no signs at the bottom end of Pershore Road until the first lamp post. These were taken up and an e-mail sent to Amey, the main City Council contractor, regarding this. 

Tied into security throughout our streets is that of the poor quality of lighting we have that casts a very poor degree of illumination, and as noted above, there are no street lights along the left hand side of Warwards Lane nearest the Pershore Road for three hundred and fifty yards. That is not really acceptable and the councillors noted this observation as well. ttalong our streets. We were also advised of a further 'All Out Day' on 11th July 2018 covering the Bournbrook area of Selly Oak involving the fire service, environmental health, planning department and the police un an attempt to identify rogue landlords operating within this student-heavy area. This has happened over the past few years and both PR and GS have attended at least one. 

PR mentioned that we continue to recruit along the streets for new NHW members as people do leave and move elsewhere and we need to maintain and improve upon the levels of existing membership which is around eighty households out of near to two hundred properties overall. It is important that we all make the effort to engage with our neighbours - and spread the word - as this helps raise the profile of the organisation as we do not always get to speak to every household. In the main, we have a passive membership, although everybody has a responsibility to make issues known, as well as to report them. We have touched on the means to do this already although far from perfect. 

PR then returned to the issues with the enforcement notices served on 119 and 121, Warwards Lane as there did not seem to have been the progress expected from the landlord; Britannia Properties, that was commensurate with the major structural work both these properties underwent going back four years or so. The key point here seems to revolve around the timeline as to when the houses were renovated and/or registered as homes of multiple occupancy and we will be approaching neighbours nearby who may well have informstion about the timeframe over which they recall work being done. Kevan Harrison has been asked to assist here as well. 

There are also two other planning applications affecting our immediate area - the former Dogpool Hotel was mooted as being coonverted into an assylum hostel or bail house, and which appears to be having work undertaken to its exterior and we have asked for an update on what is the outcome of these proposals. The Lidl site has 'gone quiet' whislt they undertake a study (at their own expense) as to why the former (and now vacant) Tesco site on Hazlewell Street could not be used instead. It was mooted that the recent black-out may have derived from work done at a local sub-station that is located on the former Stirchley Bowl site. We also asked for a continued monitoring of the new rules licensing of landlords  

Street cleanliness is GS' number one topic of choice, and once again, a number of properties who retain the plastic bags for the purpose of weekly waste collections (because of the steep stairways down from the front door), did not have this collected. We have continued to report this and raised the issues with the councillors. We suspect part of the issue may be because many people just do not recycle enough which is why they leave additional bags that mean they exceed the number expected and are therefore left. The issue is that these are then often left on the pavement and scavenged on by rats and then the smell becomes more pungent as food rots in the heat.     

We mentioned the Big Clean Up event on Saturday 7th July 2018 at 10 am outside Park Auto Sales which only takes an hour and for which bags, gloves and pickers are required. (Incidentally, Brigid Jones and Rob Netherway attended this, so there is no reason why more NHW members cannot lend a hand, as it is usually the same individuals tidying our street for everyone's benefit!  

There was no AOB and a trip to the pub by PR and GS was deferred until after the end of the World Cup!