Minutes of NHW meetings

 

The meeting began with a brief welcome introduction from GS to those attending followed by a summary of the criminal activity recorded between 1st November 2014 and 23rd March 2015 supplied to us by the local PCSO; Ade Richards.

 

 

The crimes recoded included a firearms incident at the beginning of this period, where the victim is not co-operating with police, and the people involved are not from the local area. Additionally, there was one incident of criminal damage to a motor vehicle, one stolen bicycle, one motor vehicle taken without consent; one assault, one robbery where a person has been arrested and charged and finally, two people were arrested for carrying a knife. There is a link from the Warwards Lane NHW website to a postcode based search engine that enables householders to review the recorded crime levels in this area but our advice is not to place too much store by what can only ever be a non-specific summary. Please continue to report all suspicious activity to the police by dialling ‘101’ unless there is a threat of immediate danger involved in which case dial ‘999’. When speaking to police, please request their full name and serial number, to ensure the incident is recorded as if this isn’t done, any possible or actual crime never happened, and it distorts the picture of crime levels locally

 

PR then went onto explain that these figures indicate that the level of recorded crime along Darris Road, Park Corner and Warwards Lane is quite low although there are a number of scams being tried locally revolving around e-mails purporting to be from a bank or building society wanting to have access to your PC to upgrade its security which results in money and passwords being stolen. Another favourite is for the HMRC (Inland Revenue) stating that there is a repayment of overpaid tax due and another popular one involves persons claiming to be from the police who need to secure your accounts with local couriers for which credit and debit card details are requested. This is an estimated £30m business in the West Midlands alone so be aware at all times and do not take things at face value!

 

GS repeated the annual message to all home occupiers about making sure our property is kept secure at all times, particularly during the Spring and Summer months where the weather is hotter and doors and windows may be left open to reduce the temperature inside to a comfortable level. This does increase the risk of danger from forgetfulness when going out as these same doors and windows may be left open and it also makes homes more vulnerable to opportunist thieves and/or distraction burglaries as well. Cars and sheds are the other two pieces of property that become more prone to having items stolen out of them in much the same kind of circumstances, as windows are lowered to keep the car cool prior to travelling, and shed doors likewise when barbecues and chairs are taken out. Please be aware as the message may be repetitive but if it prevents even one theft it achieves a positive result.

 

PR provided an outline of the police action that is being taken at the Chapel Lane and Bristol Road junction because of drivers jumping the traffic lights. Prosecutions and warnings are and have been handed out to offending drivers so please be aware and avoid being one of those being fined. At the police tasking meeting on 23rd March 2015, the police disclosed that burglaries in Bournbrook increase by around 60% between May and July each year due to unlocked doors, gates and windows, so they will be making a reduction in this crime item one of their major objectives. They will also be looking at the driving behaviour around the new junction layout at the end of Warwards Lane and the Pershore Road over the course of the next month and report back their findings at the next police tasking meeting. Details of when and where these take place, can again, be found on the link from the Warwards lane NHW website. Some residents pointed out that high rise vans parked outside B and B Electrical Limited can obscure oncoming traffic along Ribblesdale Road when attempting to cross this road heading towards the hairdressers and newsagents. Attachments regarding this new junction are enclosed for those who did not receive a survey or the letter from Birmingham City Council dated 18th February 2015 that arrived the day after the work had been completed!

 

GS and PR both confirmed that Article 4 has been on the statute books since 30th November last year and we understand that several houses in the vicinity which have been converted by a number of building firms and individuals are being targeted by the City Council once they have finalised their paperwork. If any house conversion begins that you become aware of, please let the City Council know, or tell us, as we want to ensure that all planning applications are approved prior to the commencement of any work, as it becomes harder to rectify matters with ‘cowboy’ practices once a structure is complete. We do know that enforcement notices have been issued against Britannia Property Services, who have carried out such practices along our street, resulting in several homeowners leaving the street due to the aggravation this caused! Councillor Karen McCarthy has confirmed this in an e-mail to the NHW and residents of Gristhorpe Road have received letters confirming that several unauthorised structures built by Britannia Property Services are torn down and put back to how they were before. There are some houses along Warwards Lane that will be handled in the same way very shortly

 

The application to renew the car scrap yard at 1137, Pershore Road (application number 2015/00452/PA) has been rejected despite the two storey extension having already been built as this project would have backed onto house numbers 24 through 30, Warwards Lane, and in some instances, the residual car parts has created a health and safety hazard to these and other local residents. NOTE -: We will be writing to those people who are NHW members with the suggestion that they take photographs of the problem area(s) and send them onto us and we will submit the concerns to the City Council which they should also do as private individuals as well.

 

 

GS then spent some time confirming our desire to begin recruiting more NHW members as some had moved out of the street and at least one had recently died. We do need more support from the membership for matters like the delivery of newsletters, helping with the litter picks and to contribute to articles for the website and so forth. We appreciate the support of the regulars but there are many dozens of households who are members that have never participated in these or attended any of the NHW meetings we hold three times a year. A good example of NHW membership co-operation was given in asking how many residents who knew (and we accept the City Council did not fulfil its obligation to inform residents of the scrap yard) actually responded to this planning application? It should not just be down to those who are immediately adjacent but also those nearby.

 

 

The penultimate agenda item was covered by PR and related to the recent litter pick on 21st March where we were supported by Councillor Brigid Jones and two Birmingham University student wardens in addition to half a dozen or so of the ‘usual suspects’. At the present time, the streets are cleaned most weeks and we have a regular recycling collection every two weeks in addition to the general waste collections that remain weekly.  We do need to ensure that where practicable, plastic items are crushed and cardboard boxes likewise to prevent overspills being left on the pavement as seems to a quite regular occurrence. Your support in doing so will be appreciated. There may be cutbacks in this level of waste collection and recycling which would mean more litter picks being organised to make up the level of cleanliness the work of a few create for the majority!

 

The AOB items related to the ongoing problem of dogs fouling the streets, particularly around the park, for which we are awaiting some warning posters and the suggestion to consider an alternative night for holding the NHW meetings as some residents regularly work late on Thursday evening and are unable to attend. We asked for comments on this proposal and the consensus was that changing the day would probably gain no more attendees overall as some regulars might not be able to make another night anyway. We do appreciate the dilemma and have asked the question democratically of those persons at the meeting.

 

The meeting then closed.