Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Although there has been some rain recently a lot of the reserve is still dry and there is a fire hazard in the making if fires are lit on the reserve for any reason.
We should also remember that the reserve is an old in fill site and gas may still be underground and seeping out.
Park Rangers are now aware some cooking fires have been lit recently and will speak to anyone attempting to cook on the reserve explaining the problems.
Monday, 27 February 2012
Following a number of complaints about the poor state of the pavements on Hawthorn Road some work is at last being carried out.
Sadly it is no where near enough however and I will continue to try and get Amey to take further action.
Sadly despite pressure being put on them by local residents and my self, Amey have deemed it sufficient only to carry out some minor carriage way joint sealing work in Southgate Road.
This is yet another let down for the residents of this road. The carriage way needs resurfacing in the same way as the neighbouring Templeton Road and Dunedin Road have been.
The pavements in Southgate Road are also just as bad as they were in Dunedin Road and Templeton Road and there is no sign of the pavement being resurfaced.
It looks like yet another cost cutting exercise by the Council.
I will continue to carry on the battle to get Southgate Road and the other Roads in Oscott with concrete carriage ways, for that matter, upgraded to a decent standard.
Also see October 26th post
Friday, 24 February 2012
Composting is easier than you think!
Cheapest Feb 2012 is £15 see the link below.
Composting is an environmentally friendly way of getting rid of organic waste from your kitchen and garden, giving you a completely natural, peat free, compost to dig back into your garden. By composting your own food and garden waste at home you will be doing your bit to stop climate change as food/garden waste generates methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) when sent to landfill.
After 9 -12 months, depending on how much you put into your compost bin, you will have a rich, totally organic compost to put back onto your garden.
You can buy a compost bin in 2 different sizes to suit your garden
To find out more or to order go to www.birmingham.getcomposting.com or ring 0845 130 6090
You can put into your compost bin:
- Fruit and vegetable peelings (potato peelings, apple cores, banana skins etc)
- Egg shells
- Tea bags
- Cut flowers
- Coffee grounds
- Sawdust from small animals' bedding (e.g: hamster, guinea pig)
- Shredded paper and card
- Inners from kitchen/toilet rolls
- Grass cuttings
- Plant and bush trimmings
- Weeds (although it is not recommended you put in weeds such as bindweed)
- Vacuum cleaner dust
- Twigs (not too large)
- Straw and hay
- Egg boxes
- Feathers, fur and hair
- Ash (so long as it is wood based)
I have asked the Council to consider subsidising the compost bins to encourage more people to start using compost bins. It may be difficult at the moment but the Council should consider it in the future.
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
GEORGE HOUGH CHAIR OF THE OSCOTT DISABILITY GROUP ZIG ZAGING HE'S WAY PAST BROKEN UP FRONTAGES ON THE HAWTHORN ROAD
Sadly there are a number of shops disappearing from the Hawthorn Road shopping Centre at the moment mainly due to the poor economic situation I fear.
Many other shops are staying and battling the current recession. We can see however there is a need for the right shops and those like Heron and Tescoe's are proving the point.
We should all try and support our local shops and buy what we can from them, however if some of the traders on Hawthorn Road were to look at repairing their frontages where they are breaking up it might help them to retain elderly or disabled shoppers.
I have asked the Council to remind some of these traders that it is up to them to ensure their frontages are safe for shoppers to use. Many are doing this already but others must make an effort.
Local campaigner Tristan Chatfield is working hard in he's attempt to become a Local Councillor for Oscott.
Residents know only too well we are in tough times due to the world economic problems and the lack of money available these days for some of the most basic things.
The councils instance in cutting so many important services so deeply and so quickly without thought for the repercussions is not helping.
This is why it is so important why residents in wards like Oscott have a strong team to represent them.
I am sure if elected given he's extensive knowledge of the area Tristan will do well and fight for Oscott residents and this is why I am happy to support he's efforts.
The great Barr Leisure Centre roof leaves a lot to be desired. When it rains the users of the Centre are now forced to use a side door as rain water literally cascades over the edge of the main entrance.
A number of elderly residents as well as children use this facility and the current situation is not good enough which is why I am pressing the Council to take action.
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a system that is being adopted by library authorities across the country.
What happens is each book is fitted with an RFID tag which contains all of the information about that title and this tag is read by the self service machine. This method is already operating at the Central Library and some others in the city.
Perry Common Library like a number of others is now due to have one of these systems installed.
Please note however It will take a while for the machines to become operational as all of the books at each library will need to have RFID tags fitted and those tags then need to be activated, so it may take anything between 6 months and a year for this work to be completed.
When you use the system you will simply place your books for loan in the machine along with your card and the machine will register the titles and issue them to your card card. At the end of the transaction it prints out a list of the books and the date they need to be returned.
I have requested that once in operation we should have staff a member instructing people on its use but it is fairly self explanatory as there is an on screen video instructing users on its operation. However there may be some people especially the elderly who need assistance.
Using this new technology should help us in our aim to keep all our libraries open and retain as many staff as possible,
Once again there are parking problems in roads near the Metropolitan College Aldridge Road.
Hopefully however on the completion of the building work which is going on, the Beeches Road car park will be back in action and will help ease the parking problems in the area.
The Beeches road side of the colleges car park is been used by those doing construction work on the college at the moment.
I will be asking the college to do what they can to ensure any remaining work is done asap.
Counciillor Barbara Dring with the unanimous backing of the local police and myself has found an extra pot of funding (2k) which is being made available by the Police, for youth inititiatives across the city.
This 2k which is part of a bigger pot of money for the Oscott area (won in competition from across the city) will be given to the 610 Community Centre to help fund activities for young people.
I know youngsters in the Oscott area will make good use of this money.
Monday, 20 February 2012
Sadly they have now informed me that given their experiment with the 628 and their monitoring of passengers using it, they are not prepared to reintroduce a service to the One Stop.
The amount of passenger using the service did not increase and fulfill the required numbers.
It looks like a case of passengers just not using this bus service enough. I would suggest any passengers who still strongly disagree with National Express write to them C/o National Express 51 Bordsley Green Birmingham B9 4BZ.
In the mean time I will be asking Centro if they can approach any other bus company regarding taking up the option.
I would also remind residents that to ensure they keep any bus route it is a case of use it or lose it so please try and use those bus routes we still have.
Saturday, 18 February 2012
With this in mind I am working with the Local Council District officers to bring together as many of our primary schools as possible to discus issues like those above in a holistic way.
What happens in the vicinity may well have an effect on other schools near by. Parking is an example that comes to mind.
If this idea comes off and I hope Schools and their Governors will be interested.
I would like to see informal meetings with reps from all the schools take place from time to time together with the Police and Council officers.
I will let you know if any progress is made.
There are a number of roads Hawthorn Road for example where uneven pavements result in puddles forming and not draining away for some time.
In some cases like one I had to get sorted out in Kingstanding Road, it turned out to be a drain problem, however in many cases it is uneven carriage ways and pavements.
Amey and the Council must take this problem more seriously and I will do what I can to ensure they do.
The road will now, at least 3 years before it was originally planned! , see work to upgrade the street lights, start within weeks.
It has taken many years but at last the City as a whole is beginning to see the benefit of long term street light upgrading.
The last governments street improvements financial support initiates are paying off.
However there are still a number of teething problems regarding some of the work which is being done and I am doing what I can to help residents overcome a number of problems with the way the work is being carried out.
Friday, 17 February 2012
The mystery of the missing green verge mounted No Parking signs has deepens.
Amey have admitted they have not officially taken out or removed any of these signs and do not have any in there yards. Council Chiefs have informed me they have no objection to these signs and yet many have disappeared.
Amey believe men posing as council officials have taken these signs out possibly for their metal value however I have notices a lot of the new stile taller posts saying no parking on grass verges have been put in where green signs have gone and some residents have seen men in official uniforms taking the signs?
So where are these green signs. I am am doing my best to keep the powers that be on the trail of these signs which belong to the Council tax payer OR TO PUT IT ANOTHER WAY YOU AND ME.
If you can help with this mystery and want to let me know formally or in confidence please give me a ring on 360 6486
Tuesday, 14 February 2012
After years of trying to improve the road safety around Glenmead School and Sundridge School I am pleased to see the Transportation department has noted concerns about the issue.
The Transportation depart is now going to, following consultation with these schools and local residents intend to introduce Traffic regulation Orders (Limited no parking with times indicated) near the entrances to these schools.
For the Glenmead school this would mean on the Aldridge Road (School side only near the school) and a section of Glenmead Road. (on the same side as the school only, near the entrance) The no stopping period would be Mon- Fri 8am to 5pm
The Sundridge TRO,s would be introduced to part of the Queslett Road Slip road near the school entrance.
Other schools in the area will also see some additional TRO's in place in the coming months./
If you have any concerns about this matter please email me. Keith.Linnecor@birmingham.gov.uk or leave a message on 303 2039.
It is time the Birmingham City Council along with its private street works contractor Amey, took more responsibility for the Grass verges in the area.
Many of the verges have been destroyed and after consultation with residents they need to be either repaired or replaced.
Some of these verges are not only un- sightly but in places a dangerous hazard to the elderly.
I am currently trying to persuade Amey to repair a number of grass verges in the area and will continue to put pressure on them to take action.
Monday, 13 February 2012
There appears to have been a spate of thefts of the green metal NO PARKING ON THE GRASS SIGNS in the Oscott area. Residents have complained these signs have gone missing and Amey the Street Contractors know nothing about what has happened to them.
One resident has informed her sign was taken by a man wearing a yellow Birmingham City Council vest.
Amey have informed me like all Birmingham City Council workers they had ID which can be inspected.
If you see anyone taking and metals signs ,drains and so on if possible take a note of any registration numbers or other useful details. This may be useful if it is found later to be a rogue scrap dealer. Also if in doubt and if you have not been informed about a sign being taken from out side you home ask for the contractor ID or ring the Council to check. 303 9900.
Saturday, 11 February 2012
Despite the very cold wintry conditions Oscott ward campaigner Tristan Chatfield has been out and about meeting local residents and community leaders.
Tristan told me the other day "I have worked in this area for years and already know a lot of people however with such a large area to cover I feel it is important I meet as many people as I can. "
Too cold and icy in fact for a number of older residents in the area to get about safely.
If you know any elderly neighbours or friends who may be struggling to get out why not ask how they are and offer to fetch them a bit of shopping when you get your own?
Also remind them to keep themselves warm. It only takes a minute to check that an elderly friend is ok. If they need any help or advice they can contact Age UK who have a number of trained members who may be able to offer help and assistance. Tel 358 0309
Councillor Barbara Dring ( 360 6486) holds the following surgeries
1st Thursday in the month 3pm Perry Common Library
1st Wednesday in the month 7pm 610 Community Centre Kingstanding Road
Councillor Keith Linnecor ( 360 6486) holds surgeries
on Saturday mornings 10.30am at the 610 community Centre.
Home visits can be arranged for those with genuine mobility difficulties.
Please note - there may be times when we can not attend the above surgeries do to urgent commitments else where. Please ring to confirm when possible, before attending.
Friday, 10 February 2012
The Oscott Elderly Residents Group is just one small voluntary group who apply for Oscott Community Chest funding.
The countdown to the dead line to make a application for funding from the Oscott Community Chest is now on. Dead line day is April the 9th
The Community Chest fund is a small fund given to wards across the city to give them the opportunity to have some flexibility in order to help the local community.
The Oscott Ward Advisory Board/ Strategic partnership which is made up of (Chaired by myself) Councillors Graham Green and Barbara Dring, Representatives Community Groups , the Police, Education, Health, youth and Voluntary Groups, look at requests for funding.
These requests are then with the help of Council officers evaluated and discussed.
The WAB then make their recommendation to the Oscott Ward Committee who after ensuring the requests are in order with the Council make the finale decision.
Some examples of what groups or individual can apply for :
Help for groups of pensioners to go on a day out
Help for groups of pensioners to get together and socialise and keep healthy.
Help for Pensioners who have problem gardens.
Help for groups supporting those with disabilities.
Help for groups supporting people with illness or promoting health awareness
Support for a youth club.
Groups helping and supporting young people.
Help for clubs support children's activities. music . sports and so on
Help for groups supporting children of nursery age.
Help for groups supporting young families.
Support for groups who help find people employment.
Support for the Environment, keeping the area clean and so on.
Support for Community safety
Help funding a gating schemes
Help to support community Groups of all sorts
and many other things.
Look out for notices going up in local libraries and so on later this month.
Application forms will be available later this month.
To find out more please ring 360 6486
Wednesday, 8 February 2012
This is the time of year we really need our grit bins to be full.
Amey currently maintain 1260 grit bins across the city during the winter period and Highways Inspectors monitor the condition and salt levels in each bin on a regular basis. (including Oscott)
I have however had to send in a number of complaints to ensure some of the grit bins in the Oscott area are refilled correctly.
This is due to the pressure the contractors are under to fill so many bins so quickly and results in bins being missed or because they are being emptied quicker than expected. This clearly needs to improve.
If you have noticed a grit bin which is now empty please contact me and I will pass on the information to the Transportation department and their contractors.
I am also calling on the Transportation department to consider adding to the number of grit bins in the Oscott area considering the amount of hills there are here.
I have also now been assured 39 out of the 51 Grit bins in Oscott have been secured to try and prevent them being tipped over and I am trying to get the Council to secure the rest if possible.
Every year we have regular reports of accident on the Aldridge Road. Every year many residents feel let down by the Councils Transportation chiefs.
One case for example is that despite calling for the carriage way markings on the Aldridge Road to be repainted (slow down signs and keep clear lines for example) they are left un-done. In the scale of things and bearing in mind the amount of accidents the cost involved would not be that much.
I will continue to press for this work to be done as well as many other much needed safety work on the road.
Saturday, 4 February 2012
Despite it being bitterly cold and trying to snow a brave hearty bunch of the Friends of the Queslett Nature Reserve took part in a training session on the reserve with a senior Parks Ranger (James). The session included pruning in safety and tree maintenance work.
We all found it very worth while despite the cold. Thanks also to Kharlid Mahmood MP for popping along to the start of the session.
The FOQNR hope to hold more such sessions hopefully in better weather conditions latter in the year.
Dont forget the FQNR has its own blog
The Planning Committee is in the overall control of the Conservative/ Liberal Controlled Council.
Its Chair is Peter Douglas Osborne (Conservative).
I am a member of this committee. Councillor Bob Beauchamp ( Conservative councillor for Erdington) also lives in the Oscott Ward.
Friday, 3 February 2012
Every Thursday 7pm
The weekly Senior youth club at St Mark’s Church Centre costs just 50p and is open to young people aged 11-16.
Young people can play table games such as snooker, pool, table tennis, table football and table hockey, board games and cards (no gambling of course!) make arts & crafts, learn cookery skills, play team games or just chat with their friends.
They also encourage our young people to take on some social responsibility and they are able to help run their own tuck shop and cafe or assist in the kitchens when we are offering cookery at family learning sessions.
The club has good links with the local police force who visit regularly in order to build their relationships with the young people who attend, thus helping to reduce anti-social behaviour in your neighbourhood.
Youth Gym & sports
In addition every Friday evening, there is the opportunity to visit Great Barr Leisure Centre. Plese note this is for those aged 11 - 16 who attend Senior Youth Club.
They have also run occasional trips to local parks and open spaces to engage in activities such as ‘build a bird box’, forest skills, wildlife gardening, mini-raft building etc. They visit free attractions such as the Nature Centre and Coventry Transport museum and offer selected outings to the theatre.
St Mark’s Church Centre,
Bandywood Crescent, (off Bandywood Rd),
Office Hours Mon to Fri 9am - 430pm
Part of the Bandywood Project
The future of Birmingham’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau including the Kingstanding branch looks very uncertain at the moment. Continued rounds of funding cuts to this charity are making things very uncertain for them.
With the increase in unemployment locally and the cut in Council services like Councillors the CAB is facing more and more demands for its services.
I have asked Constituency Council officers to look at what if anything can be done locally as well as asking the Birmingham Council chiefs and the government through our MP to give the CAB more support.
The CAB offers a wonderful service including legal information to Oscott residents and need all the support they can get.
If you would like to support the CAB you can set up a standing order donation - visit www.bcabs.org.uk or call 08444 771 010.
Wednesday, 1 February 2012
Working with Councillor Barbara Dring and Representatives of the Oscott North Neighbourhood Forum I am trying identify entries on the Bandywood Estate that still needs gates.
Over the last few years we have helped to identify entries which were easily accessible and making life easy for thieves to get through to the rear of houses in the area. As a result dozens of these entries on the Bandywood Estate have been and will be gated.
Councillor Dring and I hope to help gate off more of these entries and we call on residents to make sure they are kept locked. We are also hoping to work again with the Oscott HLB to find funding when they are re constituted later this year.
Bag it and bin it better still dispose of it at home.
Following a number of complains from Councillor Barbara Dring and my self I have now been informed that the Councils Animal Welfare Team have agreed to my request too set up a pro active anti dog fouling exercise in the Oscott area. They will be concentrating around local schools.
As ever I would appeal to dog owners to ensure they remove their dogs mess from our streets. Either bag it and take it home or use a litter bin. I know many of you do already but those who do not may face a fine. ( See the stickers on lamposts and bins to find out how much!!)
The unadopted section of Booths Lane ( carriage way) is again becoming dangerous in my view.
I have requested the Highways department get in touch with the owners of the lane and ask them as a matter of urgency to make repairs to safe guard those who use the lane.
Any delays in implementing the developers plans to develop the site should not mean the lane should not be kept in a safe condition.
Sadly I was unable to attend a Police Community meeting held at the Mary Vale Centre recently due to a prior meeting to attend a Transport Users Forum on behalf of the Integrated Transport Authority (Birmingham).
However despite not being able to attend there are a number of issues I am not prepared to drop. I have been in touch with the Police and the Transportation department about a number of issues of a regular basis. I have done this by for example attending on a regular basis the Oscott Police tasking meetings, including as you can see in the photo above right walk abouts in the area.
Although the powers that be have turned down, due to a mixed public consultation reactions a gating proposal for gates to be erected at the Right of way, Templeton Road to Old Oscott hill, I am leading the campaign to have better CCTV camera's installed there.
I have been pressing this point with the Police for some time now.
More needs to be done to help residents who live near this right of way and I will continue to ask the Police and the Councils safety in the community Team, to deal with, the issues they face despite the gates not being allowed.
There are a number of roads in Oscott where I am keeping pressure on the Police and the Transportation department to deal with safety issues.
These include amongst others , Dunedin Road, Old Oscott Hill, Old Oscott Lane, Kettle House Road and the Aldridge Road.
For example I am continuing to call for the Oscott Community Speed Watch volunteers to operate at these locations (and others) as often as possible.
Part time 20mph zones out side schools.
I have a positive response from residents about this idea and I will continue to press the Powers that be to take action and also to relieve parking problems near schools in the Oscott area.
These are just a some samples of issues I am trying to resolve unlike some I am not into making promises I can not keep but I will continue the battle to resolve problems in Oscott if I can.