Minutes of NHW meetings

The meeting began with a brief introduction from GS to welcome those NHW members attending and to reiterate the need for people to report all suspicious activity using the 101 number unless there is a threat to life or property when 999 should be used instead. 


The police working shift patterns prevented PCSO Ade Richardson from being in attendance but he did supply us with an update on the level of reported crime across our three areas. There were two incidents of criminal damage to motor vehicles and one theft of diesel fuel from a garage. Both Brigid Jones and Karen McCarthy, two of our local councillors were in attendance and contributed information on the agenda points raised. 


PR went on to mention the continuing menace of Internet-based scams that are targetting people with claims around their bank accounts and computers being compromised. Locally, it is estimated that these cost the West Midlands £30m a years, and this is likely to be a conservative estimate. Unecessary building repairs is another favourite trick, particularly roof repairs, and if you have a vulnerable neighbour, please try to look out for them.


GS then outlined our visit to the police safe house located in Brownhills on 15th June 2015 where we received information on safety and security products that were useful in the home. Given the value of what many of us possess, it is surprising how very little many of us spend on even basic improvements, and this is what opportunist burglars look for; the easier target! A separate e-mail will be sent to NHW members detailing some of the products to consider, all of which, can be ordered at cost through the police; http://whatsonwalsall.co.uk/whatson_focus.asp?showid=4634&genreName=na&showName=Police-Safe-House-Visits--Brownhills


PR confirmed that NHW membership fees have become due from 1st July 2015, and all those present duly paid the £5.00/household annual subscription, that goes towards paper and inks to produce the information we provide to the street through the newsletters and police reports that we deliver to those persons who don't have e-mail. We spend a great deal of time chasing people for monies that are due that detracts from our recruitment time.


GS then spent some time presenting an update on the impact of Article 4 that became law on 30th November 2014. Any house conversion, and there is another planned for 141, Milner Road, at the junction with Warwards Lane, we and the City Council need to know so that a check can be made to see what the planning application allows for, as any for three or more renting persons of an unrelated group, could be in breach of this legislation.


The planning application for this property is -: 2015/04359/PA and relates to a the erection of a single storey rear extension, which we understand will replace the two pre-existing garages, and potentially overlook properties across the other side of the road on Warwards Lane itself. We asked that NHW members register their thoughts on this alteration within the next week before the deadline. Everyone along our three areas should support their neighbours even where they may not be directly affected. 


We also discussed the planning issues arising from the submissions for a scrapyard at 1137, Pershore Road, which backs onto 24 - 28, Warwards Lane and the MOT testing station at 1139 - 53, Pershore Road that affects 30 - 38, Warwards Lane. These were recorded by BJ and KM who will ook into how these have progressed albeit the scrapyard application was overturned but might be re-submitted.


Within the last week or so, representatives of several City Council organisations toured the Bournebrook area looking at the HMO issue, specifically around its impact on the cleanliness of the heavily student populated areas like Tiverton Road, as many of the landlords do not undertake regular health and safety checks and/or maintenace reviews putting not only the tenants but local residents in danger from electricity, gas and water services failures. A report is being prepared on the subject.


GS reminded everyone about the forthcoming litter pick on Saturday 4th July 2015, starting at 10.00am outside Park Auto Sales, which is intended to improve the appearance of our streets. Several overgrown hedgerows have in fact been pruned, for which we would thank those who have taken the trouble to do this, albeit there are more than half a dozen that require a good trim and we are posting direct requests to occupiers on this very subject.


PR confirmed that negotiations are still taking place between the Council Parks Department and the Park Corner building contractor regarding how best to landscape the embankment bordering with Warwards Lane. An NHW member has previously suggested a relatively inexpensive means of doing so but we must wait on the eoutcome of this review. Fly-tipping is still evident along our streets and we need to look out for those who dump rubbish at other people's addresses as well!


Final observations were made from amongst the group including an action plan on the overgrown hedgerows remaining to the City Council and evidence of fines levied against some businesses on Milner Road for fly-tipping. An Environmental Health Officer will be contacting the occupants of one house on Warwards Lane due to the general untidiness of the rear garden area in particular as this has implications in creating rat infestations and other health issues. 


The meeting then closed.