Saturday, 29 March 2008


I have been asked on a number of occasions what the Friends of the Queslett Nature Reserve do?
I hope the brief introduction below may help with that enquiry?


Our main aim is to improve the Queslett Nature Reserve for the wild life and those who use the reserve.
Members should respect the wildlife and the environment in the Queslett Nature Reserve.
Members should be careful not to disturb the wild life in the QNR
Members are encouraged to do what they can to increase the membership of the F.Q.N.R.
Members should be considerate of other members and the general public.
Members should work with their committee and the Birmingham Council Leisure Services department to improve the QNR.
No pruning, construction work or any similar occurrence should take place without the permission of the relevant Birmingham City Council officer.
Any member seeing an unlawful act such as vandalism, should report the matter to the Parks department or the Police as necessary. We are the eyes and ears of the reserve and act as a Reserve watch.
Members have no additional authority where the QNR is concerned.
Any fund raising or publicity regarding the FQNR must be undertaken with the agreement of the Executive Committee and be cleared by the Chair
Members should also consider the surrounding area’s environmental needs (including the near by Aldridge Road Recreation Ground )
The FOQNR is a voluntary organisation.
When working in the Queslett Nature Reserve the safety of you and those around you is of paramount concern please take care at all times.

When attending outdoor events at the Queslett Nature Reserve please come prepared for the weather

LOCATION The Queslett Nature Reserve is located off Old Horns Crescent where it has an entrance (near the ASDA superstore) and has another main entrance in Ashworth Road. There are 2 other entrances off Booths Lane at present.
Please Note the nearest W.C for public use is in the ASDA Superstore Old Horns Crescent.

Useful contact No
Police -emergencies 999
Police -general enquires / reports 0845 113 5000
Parks -department 464 8728 / Park Patrols 464 7810
Oscott Ward Support Officer- Mike Trevor- 464 1869
Chair FQNR - Councillor Keith Linnecor 360 6486.

(See also past articles about the FOQNR on this blog.)

Latest news!
It is hoped that over the next month or so the FOQNR will have its own Webb site designed. I will let you have the details when I have them.
The FOQNR would like to thank the BOSF for their help in funding a number of activities on the QNR.

Friday, 28 March 2008


Over a year ago following consultations with the Oscott North Neighbourhood Forum and myself, the Transportation department (with funds from the Oscott Ward) agreed to introduce some safety features, to the pavement near the HSB bank Kettlehouse Road.
Bollards, a bench and some litter bins were introduced to the pavement to help stop vehicles driving over it and thus endangering pedestrians. It was also agreed to introduce some cycle racks, as they had the added value of encouraging residents to use their bikes.
Unfortunately I had to ask the Transportation department to stop work on erecting these racks, as they were being put completely in the wrong place. I was however assured by Christmas they would be erected in the right place. I was then told it would be by the end of December and then again by the end of the financial year. This just goes to show what a dithering Transportation department we now have, as there is still no sign of these cycle racks.
It is not rocket science to erect a cycle rack surely?. Luckily there has been no serious accidents yet as a result of the Transportation's lack of action. I just hope they now get on with it and get the job done.
As part of the same consultations it was agreed to reduce the size of the taxi racks in Kettlehouse Road to allow more limited time parking.

Thursday, 27 March 2008


The latest hidden cost cutting exercise the Council are contemplating, is to charge those of us unlucky enough to need to contact their Call Centres, premium phone call rates. By the time you have gone from one option to another trying to get to the person you want to speak to, in the future you may find it would have been cheaper to go in and see them by taxi.


The report to the Planning Committee re Highfield House in Hall Green which has been much criticised in the press recently, clearly showed that there was no Planning grounds to prevent the developers gaining permission, for their proposals regarding Highfield House.
If the Committee had agreed on emotional or Political grounds, not to allow this planning proposal, the decision would clearly have been appealed by the developers and their appeal would have been granted by the independent inspector on legal grounds.
It was also very sad to see how this property, a grade 2 listed building has been allowed to go to rack and ruin through lack of interest by all concerned and it is surprising that now it is to go there is renewed interest in the building.?
All this said I have contacted both Councillor Whitby(Con) and Councillor Hassall (Lib) the Leader of the Council and Cabinet member for Leisure Services respectively and asked if the Council could look in the long term, to make arrangements to purchase this property, in order for it to be saved for the city, as I think it deserves another chance. I am still awaiting a response. Perhaps they can swop some of the Council land they are so keen to sell off, with the developer?

Wednesday, 26 March 2008


Hands up those who have been consulted about the latest master piece from Centro, i.e. the Transforming Bus Travel in the West Midlands consultation paper?
Not many I am sure!
Don’t get me wrong the document is not all bad but there are number of issues which should concern bus users in this document.
For example Net work coverage. There is a proposal to modernise the bus coverage/ network in the West Midlands and this could result in a dramatic reduction in the current bus network. This is called “Modernising” by the way. What it means in reality, can be seen by the users of the 376 and 655 for example. Longer walks to bus stops for the Elderly and School Children for a start. Buses not going where people need them to go and so on.
The main considerations will be the main bus corridors and what the powers deem to be where bus users will use buses instead of their cars. There is no concern shown in my view for those with no alternative forms of transport and car users in many cases will park on the side roads next to the main bus corridors. There is also no strategy for using Estate interconnecting buses either.
There is a lot of talk about affordability! In the document, well in that case why the huge hype in bus fares late last year?
There is also talk about consultation, yet the intention is to end the consultation period in early April before most residents have even seen the document and there are no proposals to attend Ward Committees for example. As you would expect I have asked that this be urgently reconsidered and that real consultation takes place with residents across the West Midlands before the Tory controlled WMPTA use their rubber stamp.

Monday, 24 March 2008


I was saddened to read that the Birmingham City Council are to hike up the car entrance fee to Sutton Park by 50%.£1 to £1.50 on sundays when charging applies). I was not really surprised however, as it is clearly another of those hidden cuts or increases we all know are happening across the Council. This 50% increase hark back to the inflation rates we all knew so well in the eighties.

Saturday, 22 March 2008


Despite falling snow, the Friends of the Queslett Nature Reserve got on with the job of planting the last of the trees along the reserves boundary today (22nd March). This work was badly needed as it should help the wild life in the reserve in the future and allay some of the detrimental effects of the awful decision, to allow the other side of Booths Lane to be developed.

There are now proposals to plant wild flowers in May and there are a number of other projects are in the pipe line. If you would like to help improve the envioment and wild life in the area why not join the FOQNR. Please ring 360 6486 for details.

Thursday, 20 March 2008


It seems incredible but did you know the Birmingham City Council now spends 90 million, yes 90 million pounds on Business Consultants. You may ask what these consultants all do?. I am beginning to believe they consult with each other on what they should consult about and very little else?

What makes this figure even more staggering for me is when I am told the Council only spend £690.000 on repairing paths and pavements throughout Birmingham. No wonder our pavements are in such a poor condition.


This is where your money goes!
Have you ever wondered why the Council are cutting your local services? Here’s one reason.
The crazy Birmingham Council coalition has squandered over £425,000 on repairing Sutton Coldfield Town Hall’s clock and tower!
When you think this money could have replaced hundreds of old fashioned street lights or ensured hundreds of disabled pensioners could have had much needed adaptations too their homes its makes you think what on earth is going on. It would have been cheaper to have bought the residents of Sutton Coldfield a watch each.

Saturday, 15 March 2008


ASDA Queslett Road have been granted planning permission to erect a new 2035 square metre mezzanine floor car park. This will be placed above approximately half their current car park and will add over a 100 new car parking spaces.
There were certainly mixed feelings when it came to this planning application. While clearly new car spaces are needed, there will be a increase in traffic in the area as a result.
However to help ease this problem a new traffic light system will be introduced to the Queslett Road entrance. Other benefits will be that trolleys will, due to the introduction of a new barrier scheme, not be able to leave the ASDA grounds. Bus users will also still be able to access the site from the near by bus stops, there will be arrangements for cycle storage and the upper floor car park will be locked at night. The new car park will be smaller than the one previously requested and thus less visible to local residents.

Monday, 10 March 2008


Most pensioners in the Oscott area have probably already applied for their free nation wide bus pass, but if you have not, or if you know someone who has not, then its not to late to apply.
There may be a delay but if you ring 0845 303 6760 you should still be able to apply for the new national free pensioners bus pass. Why not make the most of this Government initiative and enjoy free bus travel throughout England.

Sunday, 9 March 2008


It was really good to see Saturday's (8th March) Oscott Have Your Say Day was so well attended .
Dozens of Oscott residents popped along to see the display unit during the course of the day at the Hawthorn Road and Kingstanding Circle. Most took the opportunity to tell Councillor's John Cotton, Barbara Dring and myself what they thought of what is happening in the Oscott area. I certainly had a number of residents views to think about.

It was clear to me that most residents have seen improvements in the area but a lot are concerned, about the speed that some issues take to sort out. Speeding vehicles, Housing issues and the need for more Street Lighting were highlighted to me for example.

Many residents just cannot understand why the Current Birmingham City Councils administration is so slow in responding to the areas need for improved road safety in some of our roads. The penny pinching antics of the Council when it comes to this issue many feel is very frustrating. Roads such as Birdbrook Road, Old Oscott Lane, Kingstanding Road and Kettlehouse Road were of concern, but there were others aswell.

There is clearly also a need for the Councils Housing department to speed up processing transfer requests and look again how they match up the requirements of tenants. There are a number of tenants stuck in homes which are now to big for them and yet there are families in homes that are to small for example. There is also a growing concern about the way when things go wrong compensation claims are being dealt with.

Many residents would like to see more new Street Lighting in the area and can hardly believe how little funding wards get from the Council (25g) each year to replace street lights. Like their local Councillors it is generally felt this budget should be at least doubled.

I would like to thank all the residents from Oscott and elsewhere for coming along and letting us know their I would also like to thank those who helped out on the display unit on the day. These included Pertemps, the Police and other Council agency workers.

I would especially like to thank Mike Trevor, the Oscott Ward Support Officer, for his efforts in helping to arrange the event and for the help he will be giving John, Barbara and myself in adding the results of the Have Your Say consultation's to the ongoing Oscott Ward Development Plan.

Friday, 7 March 2008


The playing fields in Burford Road are a great asset to the community and Building Futures are doing sterling work there to help keep youngsters off the streets by providing sporting activities.
However when the site is not being used it is open for residents (including youngsters) to enjoy, but this is at a cost. Nieghbours with gardens on the boundary of the field do from time suffer from vandalism to their fences and from anti social behaviour.
To help prevent this, the Oscott Ward Councillors have slowly but surely been able to find funds to help pay for metal palisade fencing to go around the inside boundary where it abuts residents properties.
Unfortunately following a site meeting this year yet again the Education department who are responsible for the field have decided they have no funds for the upkeep of boundary fences. This may sound strange when you hear of the large increase in the Education budget there is, made possible by the government, but there you are!
The one thing you can be sure of is your Oscott Councillors will yet again try and look hard for alternative funding put in place more new fencing.

Thursday, 6 March 2008


Fly tipping in Booths Lane is on the increase again in spite of the fact that there is a CCTV camera located there now. Yet again the rate payer has had to foot the bill to clear rubbish from the site.
I have now called on the Environmental Services department to consider putting up posters informing every one of the cameras presence and to also call upon the land owner to take more action to prevent this fly tipping. The land should have been fenced off properly years ago in my view.
I am now also calling on the authorities to take firm action against anyone caught fly tipping and have also asked the press to consider using this issue as an article condemning fly tipping.
Perhaps naming and shaming may be the way forward? When you consider the Halford Drive Salvage department is within 2 miles of Booths Lane there can be no excuses for fly tipping there!.

Monday, 3 March 2008


At long last the Birmingham City Council lTransportation department look as if they are going to do something about the problems faced by road users on the Queslett Road.
They are now proposing to have 2 Speed cameras installed on the south carriageway of the Queslett Road (between ASDA and the Scott Arms.)
All this comes after constant pressure from local residents like Maureen Byrne, Betty Whitehouse, Nigel Quinn, Brian Brookes amongst others, by means of petitions and letters to the BCC.
Lets just hope they get it right and do not take to long to do it.
For myself after years of campaigning, I will not be satisfied until I actually see the cameras in place and other safety measures being actively considered for the Queslett Road. Lets also hope the forthcoming Local Elections will not mean more of the dubious political tactics employed last year over this issue which may well have resulted in the dalays we have seen regarding the decison to put in speed cameras etc.

Sunday, 2 March 2008


Graffiti is one of those things this Council do not really seem able to get on top of.
Luckily in Oscott Our Environmental Warden Debi Parsons with the aid of her anti graffiti equipment is always on the look out for graffiti in the area so that she can remove it.
However as I know from the time I have been out with her even with graffiti removing equipment it still takes lots of elbow grease to remove the troublesome graffiti from cable boxes and so on.
If you know somewhere in Oscott which needs to have graffiti removed please let me know 360 6486.