Tuesday, 21 October 2014

COURTENAY ROAD TO BE RESURFACED AT LAST



 After many complaints made on behalf of Courtenay Road residents I am pleased to see Amey have agreed to resurface Courtenay Road


What’s Happening, Where and When?

What:              Courtenay Road Carriageway Maintenance
Where:            Birdbrook Road to Goodeway Road
When:             Expected start during week ending 21/11/2014
How long:      Approx. 5 days between the hours of 0800hrs to 1800hrs
(for updated start / finish dates see yellow signs at either end of the road)

Parking and Property Access

A road closure will be in place and access to your property will be restricted. Amey must ask that vehicles are not parked on the road during the works. Vehicles obstructing their works will be removed by the City Council and a charge levied for release.  Amey understand that vehicle access may be essential for some medical / personal reasons.  If you need to get a vehicle to your property during these works please ask Amey personnel on site or call 0121 303 6644 (Option 2).  Pedestrian access will be maintained at all times.

Works Information

The condition of the existing road has been assessed and localised carriageway surfacing will be taking place.

The opening description in this letter says where the works will be taking place as Amey do not always include the whole road length. 

Amey apologise for any inconvenience caused as a result of this necessary road maintenance and will will endeavour to complete the work with as little disruption as possible. Thank you for your patience whilst Amey work to improve your Road                                    

Friday, 17 October 2014

BIRCHFIELD FLOODING SOME ANSWERS



Amey have now answered some of my questions regarding the recent flooding in the Birchfield Road underpass which left many Oscott residents struggling to get to work and back for hours on end.

A34 Flooding – SOME ANWSERS

Q1. Why did it apparently take 8 hours between the West Midlands Police closing the underpass and Amey turning up?

Amey were notified of flooding on the A34 at Birchfield underpass at 20:35 on the 13th October 2014, and we attended immediately, and subsequently closed the road. We are not aware of such a significant passage of time between initial Police involvement and Amey’s response.

Q2. Why were West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service not called out to deal with the flooding, the gridlock around the area caused by this surely constituted a potential threat to life?

Amey were in contact with both West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service (WMFRS) and the City Council’s Emergency Planning Team through the incident. Amey’s senior operations team held discussions with WMFRS during the day and established that although the incident was causing significant disruption to traffic it did not pose a threat to life or endangering property. This situation was reviewed at 1730 on the 14th October 2014, when it became clear the water may take longer to clear, and a fire appliance was dispatched from Aston Fire Station. They attended site at 1930 (as it was still deemed a non-emergency incident) however by this time the static pumps were in operation again.

It should be noted Amey have made it clear to WMFRS that they are willing to pay for costs incurred in attending site.

Q3. Where were West Midlands Police and Amey traffic engineers to manually control the traffic and traffic signals to help ease congestion?

Birmingham Highways (Amey working in partnership with Birmingham City Council) operate an Urban Traffic Control System from the Control Centre in 1 Lancaster Circus. This enables us to manually alter and control traffic signal timings across the strategic routes. Having been made aware of the incident at the start of the shift on the 14th the Urban Traffic Control Centre began manual intervention via the Urban Traffic Control System at 07:15, and continued through until the incident ceased at 21:15.

Q4. Why wasn't parking prohibited outside Greggs and the other shops on Birchfield Road, which as a consequence all traffic had to squeeze into one lane?

Unfortunately such short term restrictions are not effective, and in accordance with the applicable regulations would not have been enforceable.

Q5. You seem convinced by what Amey have said, namely faulty pump or failed power to the pump. There is a suggestion that it was the flood water that caused the power outage that meant the pump failed, has that not been considered?

The exact cause of the pump failure has now been identified as an interruption in the Distribution Network Operator’s (otherwise known as the Western Power Distribution, the local electricity company) supply. This was confirmed at 1730.

Obviously the volume and depth of water made accessing the pumping station impossible until the water level dropped. Until this time any potential identification of the issue or issues was speculation, one avenue being explored through the day was that flooding had damaged the electrical circuits, but this has since been proved incorrect.

Q6. What action was taken to inform the traveling public of the incident?

Traffic and Travel media were made aware of the road closure in the early morning of Tuesday 14th October and these reports were being distributed throughout the rush hour on local radio. Throughout the incident, media statements and updates were provided to local print, broadcast and online media channels. In addition to this, ahead of the afternoon rush hour, a communications strategy was implemented which included scheduling media interviews and issuing travel advice bulletins to Business Improvement Districts, major employment centres and other stakeholders so that the messages could be distributed to employees planning their journeys home.

In an emergency reactive situation, it is difficult to influence significant enough behavioural change for this to help mitigate the traffic pressure however substantial efforts were made to help keep both the travelling public and the local media updated with the latest information.

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Thanks again to those who asked the questions about this issue.

 

OLD OAKES MEDICLE CENTRE TO OPEN NEW SHADY LANE CENTRE OCTOBER 20TH

The Oaks Medical Practice is building a new surgery on Shady Lane which will open on October 20th 2014. This is a large, state of the art building which will be able to offer a huge array of medical services.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

WHY NOT USE THE ALDRIDGE ROAD LANDFILL SITE TO SAVE SOME MONEY FOR THE COUNCIL TAX PAYER



The Aldridge Road Land fill site in Oscott has been for many years been fenced off from public use.
The reasons for this are that this site was an unusually deep one and the nature of the terrain means the volatile gases in it will take many years to dissipate.

Having said that its location next to the Queslett Nature Reserve makes it an ideal if secluded location to the benefit of the local wild life.

However the land is expensive to maintain for example currently fire breaks have to be made (hence the cutting back of some vegetation on the site) and to protect the public from itself the land has to have a security presence on it to keep intruders out in case they harm themselves.

In this day and age when the Birmingham City Council has to deal with horrendous cuts in its budget from the central government, money needs to be found to cover costs like the manning this site which is why I am keen to promote the idea of using the site for locating some solar panels on it.

The panels would need to be unobtrusive and not affect other neighbouring residents or any wildlife and they would have to be placed where they would be safe ( naturally a risk assessment would need to be undertaken). This should not be a problem. They are I am also told fairly low maintenance free which would mean little or no extra transport issues for the area.
The current security measures on the site would also help protect any new solar panels from potential vandalism at no extra cost.

The energy obtained from these panels could either be sold into the electric grid or used to help the council’s energy bills thus helping to save the Tax payer money.

Solar panels would help generate income for the Council and be ecologically friendly. I hope this idea will be given serious consideration and I will be supporting any investigation into the possibilities of this idea.

If you have a view on this please email me on Keith.Linnecor@birmingham.gov.uk

OSCOTT NEEDS A FULL TREE SURVEY REVIEW TO BE UNDERTAKEN

It is becoming clear that Amey will not be carrying out major further pruning work on trees in roads like Anstey Road this year.
I an now calling on them to undertake a comprehensive tree survey of the stock of street trees for next year.
There are far to many large forest type trees in Oscott that need to be well pruned or in some cases removed and replaced.
Due to constant requests  71 trees were replaced in Oscott last year which is one of the highest levels in the city but more replacements are needed.
What is now needed is a full survey of all the trees in the Oscott area taking into account their size and health. More tree pruning needs to take place.

 Sadly I have to accept It may be to short notice for this year but I am calling for this work to be undertaken next year.



A34 TRAFFIC DELAYS A34 MULTI AGENCE REVIEW IS NEEDED


Like many residents yesterdays delays on the A34 due to the flooding caused me a lot of delay and the lack of understanding residents had was not good enough. 
Drivers and bus users suffered serious delays with a knock on effect to the local economy. Most of the roads surrounding the Walsall road were badly effected including may in the Oscott ward.

I have been asked questions and have my own questions on what happened as well.

Q1 Why did it apparently take 8 hours between the police closing the underpass and Amey turning up?

Q2 Why were the Fire Service not called out to deal with the flooding, the gridlock around the area caused by this surely constituted a potential threat to life?

Q3 Where were the police and Amey traffic engineers to manually control the traffic and traffic signals to help ease congestion?

Q4 Why wasn't parking prohibited outside Greggs and the other shops on Birchfield Road, which as a consequence all traffic had to squeeze into one lane?

Q5 Re the faulty pump or failed power to the pump. There is a suggestion that it was the flood water that caused the power outage that meant the pump failed, has that not been considered? 


 
Q6 Why was there so little contact with the Perry Barr District office who did not appear to know what was happening until I asked them to find out.



Q7 Are the pumps controlled or monitored remotely or can they be.

Q8 Why were local Councillors in the area not kept informed of what was happening.


Q9 What lessons have been learnt from the incident and will they be implemented.



THANKS TO THOSE WHO PUT FORWARD QUESTIONS


When I get the answers I will be posting them and I am calling for a multi agency review into what happened.