Monday, 31 January 2011


The Friends of the Queslett Nature Reserve held another successful litter pick on Saturday. Over 20 black bags of rubbish were removed from the site.
Members also joined with the Police to ask users of the reserve if they new anything about the resent attack on a dog and its owner in the reserve.
On the down side it has been noticed that some dog owners instead of taking their dogs mess home with them are getting it up with plastic bags and throwing the mess in the bags into near by bushes. The bags obviously do not bio degrade so this habit is making the situation worse. You can see how unpleasant this could be for young children playing in the bushes in the better weather.
Dog owner please clean up after your dogs and take it away with you.
Along with the FQNR I am calling on the Council to provide more litter bins in the area. There needs to be some more either in the reserve or in roads approaching the reserve (suitably sited) and these bins need to be regularly emptied.

If you would like to become a member of the FQNR please ring 360 6486


It was with great sadness that I learnt of the death of Les Phillips. Les was a lovely quiet but determined man who cared deeply for his local community.
Les was an active member of the Kingstanding /Perry Barr Pensioners Convention and the South Oscott neighbourhood Watch. Les did not care for titles like Big New society but simply was interested in trying to help local residents.
I will miss Les like many others and he's family have my deepest sympathy.

Saturday, 29 January 2011


Oscott Ring and Ride users are being asked to help decide the best way of overcoming a shortfall in funding for the coming year.
West Midlands council tax payers have paid £12.1 million towards the cost of running Ring and Ride this year but the service will now have to find £900,000 because of planned cuts to the service.

There may be a seven per cent cut in grant due the financial pressures on the seven West Midlands district councils following cuts to their funding by the government over the next three years, plus dramatic cost increases in items like fuel due to the governments policies.

West Midlands Special Needs Transport bosses, (the charity which provides the service), and transport authority Centro, which funds Ring and Ride on behalf of the district councils, are now asking residents in areas like Oscott who use the door-to-door transport service to help decide how to make those savings.

More than 30,000 Ring and Ride users Across the West Midlands are being sent a questionnaire asking them to vote for one of two options:
+ Making an eight per cent reduction in the number of trips being run which could see the withdrawal of some services in the evenings and/or other times of the day.
+ Introducing charges in the form of either:
An annual membership fee of £36 – the equivalent of 69p a week or
A single trip fare of 60p (£1.20 for a return trip)

So it is make your mind up time its cuts which ever way you look at it and areas like Oscott where there are a lot of elderly residents will feel the brunt of it, however please fill out your form and send it back

Friday, 28 January 2011


UNICEF has made Oscott Manor School an ambassador school for their organisation. The school in Kingstanding will be the first Special School in the West Midlands to be awarded the honour of the prestigious level 2 “Rights and Respecting” Award by UNICEF.
Oscott Manor School were acknowledged for their innovative and ground breaking practices by UNICEF after embarking on the journey for this award in 2007. The school has rooted the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into the policies, planning, practices as well as ethos, values and curriculum of the school. The Ambassador status has allowed for the school to create links with a partner school in Zimbabwe, hosting visits and building on the foundations of their practices.
This is a magnificent achievement and I am sure residents in the area will be proud of the school.


There has been yet another accident on the Aldridge Road. This morning ambulances and the police were called out when 2 cars collided on the Aldridge Road near Paper Mill End.
The Council continually fail to recognise the Aldridge Road between the Boars Head and the Metropolitan college needs road safety measures to be introduced.
I am not talking about road humps, but other measures such as road markings,signage, pedestrian refuges and a traffic light which would all help the situation. The Council instead of rejecting residents petitions out of hand like they have done in the past, should be dealing with the situation.
On a foot note this accident has happened next to a site which the Planning committee (with the exception of my self) has agree ed that a container base with units can go. We may in the future have articulated lorries entering and exiting a site on this busy road with a bend in it. Not the best prospect I can think of.
I am continuing to press the Council to take action and have asked the Police to have a community speed watch event on the Aldridge Road in the near future.

Latest news
I have just been informed the accident was the result of ice on the road caused by a leaking man hole cover. This in no way alters my view that road safety measures should be introduced, but it does concern me that Seven Trent and Council engineers have not dealt with the problem of water at this location as I have been informed it has been complained about in the past.

Thursday, 27 January 2011


Just one example of the signs I had to report for being left behind after the job had been completed weeks before
One of the down sides regarding repairs and improvements which are taking place at last in some roads in Oscott is the mess some of the roads are being left in.

I am going out monitoring many of the roads which are having carriage way repairs and finding when the contractors have left they are leavings signs, sand bags, cones and so on to litter the area, for some time after the work has finished.
This is not good enough and I am chasing up the local street inspector to get many such signs and cones removed.
I am also keeping an eye on the standard of resurfacing work that is being carried out and have spotted a few problems. What we don't want is another Burnham Road fiasco where I had to report pot holes appearing as soon as the work was done, which resulted in the new surface being relayed.

If you have come across this problem please contact me on 360 6486


Why are our streets being updgaded in Oscott is a question I have been asked recently and the summary below is the best answer i can come up with at the moment.

Amey ( a private contractor) is responsible for improving and maintaining Birmingham Highways infrastructure, including 2,500km of road network, nearly 100,000 street lights, as well as over 850 highway structures and bridges across the city.
By working in partnership with Birmingham City Council, Amey will be delivering a step change of improvements to the city’s highways network over the first five years (2010-2015) to remove any backlog of work and increase standards.
The contract has a 25 year service delivery period which includes the improvement and repair of roads in Birmingham, maintenance of footways, bridges, street lighting and traffic signals as well as the upkeep of street scenery such as safety barriers, seats and trees.
Amey will maintain the infrastructure at this improved standard for a further 20 years.

PFI stands for Private Finance Initiative was the brain child of the former Labour Government it is when private and public sectors come together to deliver public services. The council defines what work it wants carried out and the service provider, in this case Amey, determines how that service is provided and financed. The council receives PFI credits from the Government and Amey raises private funds to deliver the improvements required. This £2.7bn highways maintenance and management PFI is the biggest local government highways sector PFI in the UK and has attracted over £600.million from the Treasury.

Sadly for a few years now the Birmingham Council,s administration has neglected many of our roads in Oscott and this is a way through the former governments intervention and help this sitation can now be addressed at last.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011


BIRMINGHAM’S five Citizens Advice Bureau offices are set to close their doors next month after seeing its £600,000 council funding cut.
Offices in the city centre, Kingstanding, Handsworth,Tysley and Northfield will close on February 11 unless the charity can raise £50,000 per month to stay open.
It means that well over 50,000 people who last year called on the service for free debt councelling, benefits help and other advice will be left without a free open-door CAB service.
The closure of the Kingstanding office will have a major effect on many vulnerable residents in the Oscott Area.
Both Councillor Dring and I are determined unlike some other Councillors to continue to hold Councillor Surgeries where residents can come and discuss their problems with us face to face.
But the Cab is desperately needed in this area.

The Government talks about helping create a big society and then our Council does its best to demolish it by removing its building blocks like the CAB and other voluntary groups.
Regardless of political allegiances we should all try and resist this proposal by the Council.


After numerous petitions presented to the Council on behalf of local residents by Councillor Barabara Dring and my self over the years, the Councils Transportation department has finally agreed to introduce a 30mph speed limit across the whole of the Kingstanding Road.
Both Councillor Dring and I have tried to persuade the Council that it is confusing to have a dual carriage way like the Kingstanding Road have 2 different speed limits as it does at the moment.
Driver have understandable for years been confused about this and not sure which speed limit was in place. This new measure should help slow down the traffic along this road.

Saturday, 22 January 2011


Age Concern took over the lease of the Old Oscott Community Centre last year and promised to make improvements to the building.
I am pleased to say that having visited the centre a number of times work is well under way. Many internal improvements are being carried out. The old tiny meeting room has been expended and made more habitable by the introduction New windows. Old storage rooms are being turned into waiting rooms and a reception.
The work being undertook will make this centre a good venue for the elderly in particular, to meet. What a great shame it is however that Age Concern now faces cuts in its funding from the Council.

Friday, 21 January 2011


I have to report that there has been a vicious attack on a dog and its owner while they were in the Queslett Nature Reserve recently.
The dogs in question, one a white English bull terrier type and the other a multi coloured Bull or pit terrier, severely bit a dog and its owner as they were walking in the reserve.

This has resulted in the owner having to pay over one thousand pounds in vet bills and his dog is still in agony.
The owners of the dogs which attacked were both young white men one with light ginger hair? are believed to use the surrounding area regularly.

I would ask anyone with information to contact the police on 0345 113 5000.

There was apparently no attempt by the dog owners to stop the attack.
Please take care when using the reserve, these sort of attacks must be stopped and owners made to be responsible for their dogs.
The Police are continuing to investigate this attack and there may have been a less severe but similar incident a few weeks ago on the Beeches estate?.

Friends of the Queslett Nature Reserve will be asked to talk to users of the reserve on Saturday, 29th to see if any one remembers seeing the attack and has any information and also to reassure reserve users that an attack like the one which has taken place is very rare.

Thursday, 20 January 2011


Over the next 4 years many of the roads in Oscott with have new pavement's,carriage ways resurfaced and street lighting upgrades. This will be carried out by Amey the Councils highways partner.

I have know doubt there may be some who will try and persuad residents "they have got this done" I wont be one of those.
Like other Oscott Councillors I have badgered and cajolled the Highways department to carry out countless repairs and upgrades on our streets, over the years, with some successes and some failers.

Like other councillors i have and will have an input into how repairs and upgrades are under taken to our pavement, carriage ways and street lights, but it has to be said, what is being done over the next few years has been a long time coming and all the Councillors and residents in the area, who have complained over those years have played their part in making this happen. Certainly no one person can justifiably take the credit.


I have been informed by the Transportation department that following my request
(the matter having been drawn to my attention by a local resident) the speed indicator installed near the junction of Kettlehouse Road and Bandywood Road, is being inspected for accuracy.


There will be a litter pick taking place at the Queslett Nature Reserve on Saturday 29th January. Those who are interested in helping the wild life in the reserve and the environment should meet up at the Ashworth Road Entrance. (please do not park to close to the entrance and respect local residents parking).
We will be meeting at 11.45 please come prepared to roll your sleeves up and get dirty. Be prepared for the weather.

Black bags and litter pickers will be issued but if you have your own please bring them.
For further information please ring 360 6486 and keep an eye on the Friends of the Queslett Nature Reserve blog. (see link)


It now looks as if guard railings may be fitted at the corner of Dyas Road and Aldridge Road after all as the Transportation department are re considering the matter . If I am successful! I am sure you will read all about it in some ones leaflet when they claim any credit near the elections. But remember yet again you read it on here first.
Lets hope for the sake of those children who cross the road near that junction all goes well.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011


Many youngsters are worried about the future of the 610 Community Centre

At a meeting of today’s Oscott Ward Advisory Board we learnt more about the Governments proposed cuts for the Oscott area.
For example The Oscott Clockwork School Cluster is to go.

For those who do not know about this cluster, In September 2006, 8 schools in the North West of Birmingham joined together to launch 'Clockwork' the Oscott extended provision cluster.

Originally known as the Oscott Extended School Cluster, Clockwork was formed in response to a request by the Local Authority for all schools in Birmingham to become part of a local 'cluster' of schools. The aim was that these clusters of schools linked to local agencies, businesses, voluntary groups and communities, and would work together to improve the lives of children, young people and families living and learning in the cluster area.
Our cluster schools include:
Cardinal Wiseman Catholic Technology College
Glenmead Primary School
Goodway Nursery School
Great Barr Primary School
Great Barr Secondary School
Greenholm Primary School
Maryvale Catholic Primary School
Oscott Manor School (Formally Kingstanding School)
They have done a wonderful job over the years.

We also learnt that the Government have cut the Cardinale WiseMan New School Build project
If this was not enough we now know that government cuts to the Fire Service will mean the loss of 16 out of the 40 staff at the College Road Fire Station.These are just the start of government cuts which will effect the Oscott area.

A number of youngsters who use the 610 Community centre also came along to tell us about their concerns about the possible reduction of funding for the 610 Community Centre and youth provision across the City. The Oscott Councillors and members of the board were able to give them our full support.


There will be a chance for the public to find out more about phase 2 of the Metropolitan College's plans to renovate and improve the collage. This will include introducing at least another 50 car spaces on site during the summer period. This meeting will take place as part of the Oscott Ward Committee (Chaired by Councillor Barbara Dring). The meeting will take place at the 610 Community Centre, Kingstanding Road. It will start at 7pm on January 26th.
Senior college officials will be on hand to explain their proposals and answer any concerns you may have.
I am pleased to be able to say the college have made a number of useful proposals at a series of meeting I have had with them. I will encourage the college to carry our the necessary work asap.
For more information please contact me on 360 6486.

See also Nov 13th post

Tuesday, 18 January 2011


A local resident has informed me there has been another car crash in Kettlehouse Road recently, despite the new speed indicator signs. This is very sad news. However as I have indicated on other posts on this blog I have not given up trying to get the current Council Administration too improve the Road safety of Kettlehouse Road and Bandywood Road. Speed indicator while being helpful are not the be all and end all when it comes to safe guarding this road.

In fact as recently as Thursday 25th November last year with the support of Councillor Barbara Dring,( the only other Oscott Councillor who turned up) at the Perry Barr Constituency meeting help at the Old Oscott Community Centre, I expressed my disappointment that the Council had rejected a petition calling for further road safety measures in Kettlehouse Road. I also insisted the matter be kept on the agenda as can be seen in the minutes of that meeting.

Following this latest accident I have been in touch once again with senior Transportation engineers and the Councillor with cabinet responsibility for Street Services (the man who hold the purse string) Councilor Timothy Huxtable (con) asking them to review the situation urgently.
I have also been informed that there is some doubts about the correct calibration of the speed indicator sign in Kettlehouse Road and I have asked this to be looked at as well.

The battle goes on.

Monday, 17 January 2011


One of the things I have been working closely with the Oscott Residents Disabled Group on, is trying to get local shop keepers and the Council to improve shop frontages in the Oscott area.

Hawthorn Road is a typical example. Although the Council carried a number of pavement improvements some year ago, some Hawthorn Road shop keepers have not improved their frontages and they have deteriorated . These frontages are now uneven and can be a trip hazard even for those who are not disabled.

Many elderly or disabled residents who rely on using wheel or motorised scooter's, often have to put up with a bumpy ride when crossing these uneven frontages.

Along with George Hough the Chair of the ODG I am continuing to try and get the Council to put pressure on some shop keeper in the area, to do the right thing by their elderly and disabled customers.

Saturday, 15 January 2011


The junction at the corner of Dyas Road and Aldridge Road needs widening for the sake of pedestrians and motorists alike. Buses and large vehicles are over riding the pavement as they enter Dyas Road from the Aldridge Road, as can be seen on a regular basis. The pavement and curb stones are also being damaged by large vehicles. It is time the Council took action and I am calling on them to do so before a pedestrian gets injured.

Friday, 14 January 2011


For weeks now I have had to deal with annoyed tenants waiting lengthy spells to have their Central heating boilers repaired.
One poor man had his birthday in early December spoilt due to having no hot water available due to a faulty boiler. This carried on over to Christmas and the New Year, which were also spoilt for the same reason.
I can accept it was a very cold late December and early January and there were a lot of call outs, but the Council repair contractors need to do better.
What made it seem even worse were the delays and misunderstandings due to the Call centre.
This resident now has he's hot water back on thankfully. Councillor John Lines Cabinet member for Housing has also agreed to look into this case to see what went wrong. (but there were a number of others)

Thursday, 13 January 2011


It was with great sadness that I heard of the death (last week) of Mrs Pauline Alder.
Pauline worked tirelessly for the local community as a member of the Oscott Central Neighbourhood Forum, The Neighbourhood Police Initiative, the Oscott Elderly Residents Group and before its axing by the Councils, Housing department for the Oscott Housing Liaison Board. Pauline was one of those rarities today a wonderful caring person who worked with no personal agenda for the local community.

For Pauline it was not any new fangled politically motivated " New society" No she just wanted to help people and the local area to improve. Pauline was also a member of the Friends of the Queslett Nature Reserve.
Pauline was quite simply a lovely lady and I and many others will miss her. I would like to express my deepest sympathy to her family.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


Sadly there are still places in the Oscott ward where black bags have not been picked up.

Edith Pope the elderly residents complex in Booths Lane for example.

Despite several phone calls, from myself, Council Chiefs have still not arranged the collection of dozens of black bags.

Rat and rat droppings have now been seen amongst the piles of black bags in an entry at the rear of this complex, much to the alarm of the elderly residents living in Edith Pope House.
***Stop press I have just been informed Thursday 13th 8.20am these bags have been picked up at last. I have been in touch with the department thanking them however I have also asked that other complexes where the elderly live are looked at as well.


I am pleased to announce at long last and following the recently completed work carried out in Sandy Lane and the recently introduced speed indicator sign further down the Aldridge Road near the Great Barr Schools is to have the following road safety work carried out on it.

Replacement of Lighting Columns (16no.) - It has now been agreed these will be installed by Amey in May/June 2011 as part of their upgrading programme and not as part of these works;
which are Traffic Calming – traffic islands pedestrian refuges with associated tactile paving and central hatch markings;
A bus Stop Relocation
New restricted parking bays and disabled parking
Waiting restrictions signs and markings – Single Yellow Lines;
Warning Signs – ‘School Ahead’ signs.
This work should begin on February 14th and will be on the Aldridge Road near the Great Barr School.
After campaigning for so long I am pleased this work is to finally be carried out however sadly the promised safety railing which were going to be put in place near the Aldridge Road / Dyas Road junction is no longer being considered I HOPE THIS DOES NOT PROVE TO BE A COSTLY MISTAKE.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011


I have recieved a number of concerns regarding the Cameron Homes plans for developing Booths Lane, from residents and residents groups, such as the Booths Farm Neighbourhood Forum. (lead spokesman Bob Wild) In summary they are.

Notably, there are more dwellings, 44 as opposed to 36 approved, The line
of the rebuild section of Booths Lane is being moved by only a few metres.
This means that houses will be built on both sides of the new road as
opposed to only one side.

The quality of the houses, although not specified in detail seem to be of
poorer quality in general.

The proposed width of the new section of Booths Lane is far too narrow,
5.4 m.. This may be adequate for a small, "off the road"
development but not for an important through road. If the development were
to be built as described there would be no scope for later widening.

There is insufficient parking proposed. This will result in people
needing to park on Booths lane, making passage even more difficult.

The quality of the houses, although not specified in detail seem to be of
poorer quality in general.

The proposals deviate significantly from the plans approved as outline
planning permission in the Spring of 2008.
The whole road needs to be addressed more thoroughly. Will all of the road be upgraded?

If you have any comments for or against this development please contact me on 360 6486 or send me an email

Saturday, 8 January 2011


I have not always been a great supporter of the idea of an honours list, but seeing Jeanette Hart is to have an MBE makes me think there may be something in it after all.
I have known Jeanette for many years now and know how much work she does to help the local community.
Jeanette was formally on the Committee of the now gone Conservative club, Warren Road and she works tirelessly trying to promote the Hawthorn Road Traders Association, as its secretary.
Her fund raising exploits for things like the Christmas lights on Hawthorn Road are just one of the many examples of her efforts to improve the area. She is also an active member of the Oscott Ward Advisory Board and a fund raiser for the Air Ambulance service amongst other things.
Jeanette has been awarded the MBE for her work in the North Birmingham area for the community. Well done Jeanette.

Friday, 7 January 2011


Checking to see if another grit bin has been filled.

Councillor Timothy Huxtable (Con) the Cabinet Member for Transport, has following my urgent request for action re: filling the grit bins in Oscott, now assured me Oscott will be a priority when it comes to getting grit bins filled and hopes most of our bins will be filled by the end of the week.
I will be monitoring this and will certainly let him know of any that I find have not been filled.
You can help by letting me know if you see any grit bins at the end of the weekend which have not been refilled. We need to be be prepared should the bad weather return.
Please give me a ring on 0121 360 6486.

Thursday, 6 January 2011


Another of the may pot holes in Oscott. This one is on Old Oscott Hill

While many Councillors are distracted by other issues, I am still hard at work trying to convince the Current Council Administrations of the need to repair and resurface many of the roads in Oscott.
This winter has already proved to be a real problem regarding the appearance of many pot holes in carriage ways in Oscott. These pot hole are the result of sever frosts and snow and poor maintenance.
They need to be repaired now. It is no good leaving the problem until nearer the the election and putting out leaflets claiming to have them put right.
With this in mind, although I have reported a lot already I would ask you to let me know if there are any they concern you. If you let me have their location I will pass on the details to the relevant department on your behalf.
Tel 360 6486


For the animal lovers amongst you I have been asked to advertise some of the activities of the Cats Protection North Birmingham Branch.

They are having a Homing day event on Saturday 8th January at the friends meeting house, Kenelm Road, Suttoncoldfield.
Free entrance and parking to 12.00 noon.

There will be a selection of rescued cats and kittens on show who need a new home as well as Cats protection items on sale.

For information

Adoptions Line 07830 208 999
Help Line 0845 260 1503


Birdbrook Road – Oscott

The highways department will soon be carrying out roadworks on Birdbrook Road from outside 64 to Aldridge Road. In the first stage, we will rebuilt and reshaped the road using the existing road material. In the second stage, we will surface the road using a new surfacing.

The second stage of the works will occur During the week ending the 14 January 2011 , weather permitting.

They will work Monday to Saturday between 08.00am and 17.00 hours.
Birdbrook Road will be closed to traffic during the work. You will still be able to get to and from your home but access may be restricted at times.Residents will not be able to park in the road during the work.
If you would like more information information Amey / Kiely Bros are carrying out the work on behalf of Birmingham City Council. The company will notify you 24 - 48 hours before work starts and put up "no parking"boards on the road.
There is an Emergency And Out Of Hours Contact Telephone Number
If you experience any difficulties outside normal working hours (8.45am-5.15pm), please telephone us on 0121 303 6644 or Kiely Bros on 0121 772 3800.

This work does need to be done and both Councillor Barbara Dring and I are pressing the Highways department to get this work done as soon as possible, in order to make any inconvenience to residents and shop keepers as small as possible. In my view this work should have been done when other work in the same road was carried out last year. The way they have put this schedule of work together will mean more problems for all concerned including as usual the motorist.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


College Road between the Chester Road and the Aldridge Road is to have a new 30mph speed limit. (subject to final consultation with local residents.) This is a much needed change given the amount of accidents there have been on this road over the years.
I have insisted that 30mph roads signs be erected, if and when this change come into being later this year and also that resident are consulted regarding the matter. Hopefully this new measure will compliment the speed camera which was put in place a few years ago.(for further information please ring 360 6486)
This is one of the few success stories regarding road safety measures in the area but I have not given up trying to get many other sensible road safety measures introduced in the Oscott area.


Now that a lot of the black rubbish bags in the Oscott area have finally been removed the Council needs to deal urgently with the recycling boxes and the filthy state of some of our roads.
I am calling on the leaders of our Coalition Council Administration to ensure this is done as a matter of urgency, as soon as those black bags which still litter some of our streets have been cleared.
They should also in my view, given the mess they have got into with the collection service, not to mention gritting (including not replacing grit in grit boxes) consider some form of rates rebate. It is unlikely I admit but residents deserve this to be at least considered.
The buck must stop with those in charge of our Council services, delays in resolving the situation are not acceptable.
Residents in many cases have no idea what is going on due to being told different things by the authorities and this is clearly not good enough. Mind you if comes to that I do not think those in charge have have much of a clue either.