Minutes of NHW meetings

The meeting opened with a brief introduction from PR regarding the review of reported crime along Warwards Lane and the detail of the two fire escape routes from our new venue at Selly Park Baptists church.


 PCSO Ade Richards reported that since his last time, 22nd November 2012, there had been only three incidents involving a break-in to a house, criminal damage to a car and an assault between youths. Neighbouring roads  like Milner Road  were also only recording similarly low levels of crime.

That said, there has been a 'spike' of (house) burglaries in the northern areas of our ward, predominantly (student) bicycles and possessions such as laptops and other theft attractive electrical equipment. There has been, thankfully, a reduction of 50% in burglaries, overall, for our ward.

 The police have identified that car number plates are being stolen more regularly, for use in petrol forecourt theft of fuel attempts, leaving the genuine owner with some explaining to do, when CCTV footage records their car being used, even when this is not the case. PR had his stolen on 3rd February 2013.

 Consequently, should anyone have velcro-based car number plates that are particularly susceptible to this form of theft, please contact your NHW co-ordinators; Paul Rickards and Garry Sayers, and non-returnable headed screws can be supplied, and fitted by your local garage, who may charge for this service!

 BMW cars are being targeted because hardware devices are available fro the Internet which replicate the signals to these vehicles that access their security overrides. Apparently, BMW main dealerships, recognising this issue, are prepared to supply and install upgrades free of charge to owners, but please check.

 Two local drunks, regularly seen comatose around our ward, have been moved out of the area, in one case so as to participate in rehabilitative care with a charitable organisation. WP commented on the 'sight blocking' traffic diversion signs at the Pershore Road end of Warwards Lane, and how this can be improved?

 The advice from PCSO Richards was that they can be adjusted, by an individual, so long as they do not delay or obstruct traffic, and this may have resulted from malicious movement of such safety signs, as two culprits, from outside of our ward have recently been served with anti-social orders for doing this along Dogpool Lane.

 Impatient drivers continue to 'cut through' and around the chicane at the Pershore Road end of Warwards Lane, and it is surprising that nobody, so far, has been hurt. Offending vehicle registration numbers can be taken and passed on but this will only generate a written warning to the driver and 'kept on file'.

 'Speedwatches' have now been officially abandoned by the police, as the police are now using 'Pro-Laser' armed units to monitor and record accurate readings of drivers who break the speed limit, and our NHW can invite them into our area, with a view to enforcing and fining those persons who commit this form of bad driving.

 Guilty parties have a £60.00 fix penalty sent to them at their registered address and the margin of error is an additional 10% of the speed limit + 2mph so anyone travelling along our road above 35mph would be breaking the speed limit and the subject of the above fine being imposed on them. This makes complete sense.

 PR thanked PCSO Richards for his attendance and then proceeded to outline the plans for the development of the NHW website, with the input of our members, and made a personal appeal for interested parties to submit articles and photographs, for publication, as to be successful, it needs to be a living breathing document.

 We will of course continue to print off details of any specific items for those without access to the Internet but this should only be a small proportion of people. The website can also be used as a resource to find useful contact numbers and details of all previous minutes and newsletters, which can be reviewed or printed off, at any time.

 PR then went on to remind the attending NHW members, that with the longer daylight hours arriving, we all needed to be more careful of securing our cars and homes, from opportunist thieves, who know that warmer weather (!), brings increased chances of doors and windows  being left open, to create cool drafts.

 GS then made an appeal for more of our NHW members to support the work that we are trying to do around improving the cleanliness of the street and ensuring we are minimising the risk of criminal damage and theft of our property. Thirteen people attended this meeting, around half the normal number we expect.

 NHW groups are volunteer organisations, and without a more regular number of members assisting us on 'Big Clean Ups' and delivering newsletters and voicing their opinions at meetings, it will not be very democratically based, where only a small minority offer an opinion. PR and GS will begin recruiting again very shortly.

 With over eighty households now members of our NHW group, we would like to think that there is the 'critical mass' to enable a greater variety of people participating in these and other events we try to promote. Essentially, our primary aim is to ensure that we can help others to help themselves and act as a support mechanism.

 PR highlighted, as has been mentioned already on the website, that it will be five years, on 22nd September, since we had our first NHW meeting, and it would be nice to arrange an event for Darris Road and Warwards Lane residents, where they could come and meet their neighbours, in an informal way, later this year.

 Please give this some thought and make any suggestions to us. GS updated everyone on the current position of the replacement Dogpool Lane bridge, which may according to WP's information, be delayed as two of the plates are too large for the river width, and each of these could take up to ten weeks, conservatively, to put right! 

 The contractors have also managed to 'lose' a parapet so if anyone knows somebody with a low loader, with a silenced engine and access to the bridge site, and a large garden to hide this in, please get in touch with us, and we'll pass any information on, so that this sort of thing can be prevented from happening again!

 We will need to approach (remind) the City Engineer that we are looking to have the chicane at the Pershore Road end of Warwards Lane, remodelled, to make the roads running off it, safer and put in place some form of traffic calming, as residents continually make complaints around the manner by which drivers abuse this feature.

 The grand wheelie bin project has now been operating in the university funded streets for Dawlish and Tiverton Roads, and they are also being trialled in the Brandwood and Harborne districts of the city. Councillor Karen McCarthy commented on the view in an article in the 'Daily Mail' edition of 29th March 2013.

 Opinions count. Councils will never listen to hearsay. We have already provided the on-line option in our most recent newsletter, although hard copy questionnaires can be obtained from local libraries, where they are still open (!), or directly from Garry Sayers, who has two dozen or so of these, that he can let people have to complete.

 We then went onto AOB. Please note that since 1st April 2013, bulk collections by the City Council, will be limited to no more than six items, once per year. There is an on-line booking system, that several residents have used, and details of this have been mentioned in previous communications. Not a particularly welcome revision to services!

 Steve McCabe, our local MP, is holding an informal 'surgery' at St. Stephen's Church on Serpentine Road on 18th April 2013, beginning at 7.00pm, with the intention to seek opinion on care of the elderly fro this and generations to come, as costs are rising, and yet we will all require support from the community at some point.

 Please make every effort to attend. We were advised that the area controlled by Birmingham City Council is no longer a smoke-free zone. We were asked by WP to confirm that 71, Warwards Lane has now been advertised for sale and that based on the estate agent's summary, it appears to be mis-represented as a a private residence....   

 The meeting then closed.

 Some of us went to the pub.