Minutes of NHW meetings

Our most recent regular NHW meeting took place at the New Dogpool Hotel at 7.00pm. Brigid Jones, the newly elected Labour councillor for our ward was in attendance and undertook a brief outline of her background as a former student of Birmingham University and appointed only a few weeks previously. The key factors for the area she foresaw was the Selly Oak bypass and the sizeable student population for which the Council budgets are heavily geared towards.

Apologies were received from PCSO Adrian Richards who was unable to attend due to being unable to change his shift pattern.

NHW members attending were then invited to raise questions that they had regarding Stirchley and our street in particular. Of particular concern is the poor parking arrangements along the main high street that creates traffic congestion where deliveries are being made routinely throughout the day. Traffic wardens do not appear to be much in evidence so prosecution of persons flouting the highway bye laws is slim.

Several other matters were mentioned as well, not only as regards, the appointment of an environmental warden for this area but also the tiled surfaces of the speed bumps that are now breaking up along the length of Warwards Lane causing chips top be flung up scratching vehicle paintwork and making distractingly loud noises on occasion. These items were duly noted by our councillor.

The former Woodside care home has been vacant for many months now and there appear to be no obvious plans to redevelop the site and whilst it has remained boarded up, there is a risk of arsonists or squatters occupying the building although contractors have been seen on site. The Warwards Lane side hedgerow is becoming unsightly so we have asked if this can be trimmed to an optimum size?

Further road cleanliness issues were mentioned as well amongst which was a request for an update on the progress of the experiment of rubbish collection one day and street sweeping the following day? This is being trialled in other areas in the city, and was expected to be introduced in this area in time for the return of the students. This makes more sense in terms of effort and effect!

Another aspect of the general level of street cleanliness relates to the City Council practice of undertaking to use the 'mini-sweepers' for the roadside early in the morning (7.30am) prior to parked cars leaving the street. As a result small amounts of the street actually get swept. We are on the periphery of Bournbrook and suffer some of their problems without being given the same level of attention.

One of our rubbish bins was taken from the street when some work was being carried out a little while ago and it has not been replaced since and the obvious question was to establish when it would be replaced? And perhaps, some more added as ours is a particularly long street and a major thoroughfare between the Bristol Road South and the Pershore Road when all is said and done.

It was also queried as to who is responsible for the monitoring and implementing of the parking restrictions in Raddlebarn Road between Warwards Lane and Heeley Rd.? Why are these restrictions not being applied? This problem also causes serious hold ups in Stirchley high street and ties in with the poor parking that blocks the road, particulalry the 45 and 47 buses that come and go to Cotteridge.

There were a few other points too. A suggestion was proposed that a warning sign that flashed excessive speeding perpetrators be installed in our street. Alternative proposals included a temporary camera or even a zebra crossing. Taxis collecting and delivering people were responsible for a fair amount of traffic congestion and sometimes noise in the early hours of the morning.

With our PCSO being committed elsewhere, we spelled out the actual level of recorded crimes and these in a six month period numbered no more than a dozen so we do need to ensure that all incidents are reported, accepting that stolen property, in many cases will never be returned but in not reporting these instances, the resourcing of the police will be distorted in favour of other roads that do.

There were six incidents of criminal damage to vehicles, one pedal cycle stolen, one house burglary, a shed break-in, a theft of lead from a building and a theft of property from a motor vehicle. Over six months, That is relatively low so unless the incidents to the contrary exist and are reported, our police resourcing will be lower than other roads! There is no escaping this basic economic fact.

It is a vicious circle! Incidentally, a man has been charged in connectiion with some of the infrequent but aggravating car wing mirror damage and cyclists using pavements illegally are now being fined as a consequence of persons reporting these events so it can work in our favour. Tasking meetings are available to all NHW subscribers to influence the priorities that local police will undertake.

The Crimestopper number is always shown on the quarterly NHW newsletter for our street. It is 0345-113-5000. We have noticed an improving trend in terms of persons assisting in some of the NHW activities like the street cleaning and now, the speed watches, so long may this continue. Whilst Gary and I are happy to participate in these as well, up until this year, it's been a two trick pony.

We have been in regular correspondence with Steve McCabe, our local MP and the police about the chicane at the Pershore Road end of our street and we can evidence that there are strong feelings about what needs to be done to prevent the idiots who use the wrong side of the road to gain 'easier' access to Umberslade Road. One suggestion has been proposed already but no others to date.  I will make an observation here which was not mentioned at the NHW meeting because the proposal had not been distributed. Please remember that the proposal is genuine and well thought out and, for people's comments, but unless and until these have been compared with other proposals such as box junctions or a proper three way island, these should always be constructive.  That said, there were more responders either in favour of what has been proposed or acknowledging that it was well thought out and I have passed on my thanks to the person whose idea it was. Where people have alternative views, we'd be interested to hear what response they have had from approaches they have made to any of the parties, be they political or economic, in their endeavours.

We will keep you posted of developments. everyone who attended the meeting commented on the improved cleanliness of the street following the 'Big Clean Up' on 2nd July 2011 and by all accounts, the refuse collected was quickly taken away. Reference was made again to the success of the Royal Wedding party and that we should try to organise a similar non-event related one each year.

Yearly subscriptions are now due. £5.00 for each household is the cost and hopefully you will feel the price is justified by the results and the information that you receive from your NHW team.
Everyone was thanked for attending.
The meeting closed.