Friday, 31 October 2014


 I always do my best to try and answer the difficult questions put to me even by those who do not give their names with that in mind this is the update regarding the Nova court Junction traffic lights.

In 2004, in determining the planning appeal relating to the residential development of St Margaret’s Hospital on Queslett Road, Great Barr, the Planning Inspector agreed the “scope of issues” to be addressed within the associated s278 Agreement. Of relevance to the enquiry made by by myself regarding the junction of Booths Lane with Queslett Road (Nova Court) is item 1 which reads:
“A scheme will be developed to deal with the transfer of traffic along Booths Lane arising from the proposed traffic signal junction.  This could include improvements to the junction of Booths Lane with Queslett Road (such as signalisation, if required, depending on the volume of traffic transferring to the junction) and also measures to deter rat running along Booths Lane.”
Developer funding secured by the above clause was received in 2006. The Agreement specified that the funding was available for a period of 5 years from deposit. 
During 2009, officers considered the potential for the introduction of traffic signals at the junction of Booths Lane with Queslett Road (Nova Court), which included discussion with officers from Sandwell MBC. This review concluded that for a variety of reasons, (including road traffic accident statistics, scheme cost and delay to traffic) the introduction of traffic signals could not be justified or supported. 

In August 2010 a proposal to modify the junction of Booths Lane with Queslett Road (Nova Court) was developed and approved.  
 Sandwell MBC used a contribution from Birmingham funded by the Nether Hall Park development to deliver the local improvement works at the junction.  This included carriageway resurfacing and changes at the left and right turn exits from Queslett Road due to the intense pressure a number of residents and I put on to try and get something done..  Sandwell also introduced the permanent variable message sign on Queslett Road facing east bound traffic.

The Transportation Services (Development Control Team) are currently following my regular requests, considering a formal planning application submitted by Taylor Wimpey regarding the proposed residential development on land at Booths lane and Sandy Lane and and any potential traffic issues
.I  am calling for the Queslett Road Junction to be looked at again.

 The only assurance I can give is even after all this time I have not given up trying on behalf of residents,to get  some for of traffic light system for this junction.


I have been along to see how the Burford Road new fencing work is progressing. It seems to be moving along at some pace.
Most of the new fencing is now up and the old style palisade fencing which covered part of the Burford Road boundary has now been erected in front of the old concrete panel fencing on the Melverly Road garage boundary to give some added protection there.

I have spoken to a number of local residents who are happy to see the fence go up at last and some have agreed to let me have their memories of the site.

When finished  the fencing will have 2 small gaps with a barrier behind to prevent motor bikes getting on the site but allow pedestrians to.
The fence will be easier to look through which will help security issues when the Police go past.
There will be an inner fence and gate at the Kingstanding entrance to prevent trouble makers hiding in that area when the Police are passing.
 The concrete footings which attract anti social behaviour will be removed and the concrete fencing on the Melverly garage side of the field will as indicated be secured by palisade fencing to help stop anyone climbing over the wall there.

Work is expected to finish in a few weeks.?


Fireworks Spectacular 2014

5th November - Pype Hayes Park
For a great night out at the best and safest FREE firework display in Birmingham, grab your coat, gloves and scarf and join us at Pype Hayes Park. This year the theme is First World War Commemorations for the 20 minute fireworks display.
Wilson’s Funfair will bring rides galore, with one of the largest one day funfairs in the country. Free Radio return to the event with music and competitions between 6.00pm – 8.00pm.
Free parking will be at the Fort Shopping Centre. A free shuttle bus service will commence at 5.00 pm and the last bus will leave the park at 10.30pm. Limited parking for disabled visitors only is available at the park via Chester Road gate. All parking is AA signed.
Traffic Restrictions will be in place around the park from 5.00pm.
• 5.00 pm Gates open
• 5.00 pm Shuttle bus service starts from The Fort Shopping Centre
• 8.00 pm Firework Display
• 10.00pm Event Closes
• 10.30pm Last bus from the Bagot Arms to Fort Shopping Centre

Buses to Pype Hayes Park: from  Oscott  No. 28, 


Play it safe Bonfire night and at the run up to it?

  • Be careful how you handle fireworks and light them. Read the instructions.
  • Aim Fireworks well away from buildings.
  • Never use petrol or similar substances to help light a bonfire.*
  • Make sure your bonfire is away from buildings and fences.
  • Keep a bucket of water handy
  • If in doubt ask the Fire brigade for advice about holding a Bon fire.event at home*
  •  Let your neighbours know when you are having a bonfire.
  • Keep pets safe and indoors when fire works are being set off.
  • Check your Bon fire for wild animals like Hedge Hogs before you light it.
  • Enjoy the event and play it safe.
Or why not go along to a safe free event like the one a Pype Hays Park.

Thursday, 30 October 2014


Rose (given the circumstances a very apt name) Bowen from Bowman Road has won the best front garden in the Perry Barr District competition.
Having seen her garden she is indeed a very worthy winner and I would like to offer my congratulations to her.
Sadly the Autumn is now taking its toll in regards to her lovely garden but she still has the pictures to show what a spectacular cascade of colour there was in her front garden a few short months ago.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


Today I managed to pop in to see the free art exhibition put on at the 610 community Centre by members of the 610 Art club.

There were some particularly excellent pieces of work on display which were a joy to look at.
The 610 Arts Group meet on Wednesday mornings 10.30 at the 610 Community Centre. If you want to know more pop along and see them


The OERG are holding a quiz as part of their social activity sessions, today and I have been asked to be their quiz master. This activity will start at 1.30pm today and is taking place at the 610 Community Centre. There will be prizes for the winners.
With Chair Maureen Byrne leading the team of hard working organisers it will I am sure be a real success.
This is just one of a varied program of activities they undertake.

They hold regular Tea and biscuit sessions where older resident can go along for a chat and to get to know other members. These take place ever third Wednesday at 11.15 and the venue is the 610 Community Centre.

They also attend a joint drop in session with the Oscott Residents Association, the Oscott Neighbourhood  Police Initiative and the Oscott Disability Group every fourth Saturday at the 610 Community Centre at 10.30am.
At these meeting Oscott  resident can pop in and let the groups know any concerns they have.

For further information please ring 675 2349

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


The Great Barr Group practise have applied for a planning application for a change of use from offices (A1) to a Doctors surgery (D1) including the installation of a new entrance of a single storey detached building to provide a new Pharmacy.

The new doctors practise may help relive the concerns of some local residents who are worried about how the new Booths Lane development will effect the numbers using local medical facilities.

If you have any concerns about this planning application please contact the Planning department and quote the reference number below.

Planning application 2014/07672/PA


Given that extra resources have been put into street cleaning across the city I have asked that roads in Oscott most effected by leaf fall be given extra cleaning.

Many of the streets in Oscott have large forest type trees in them than cause a lot of problems at this time of year due to the excessive amounts of leaves they generate which fall on our roads.
Sadly they often block drains leading to flooding in places. On a brighter note trees also help reduce flooding by the amount of rain water they use.

I am also calling for a comprehensive review of the Oscott street tree pruning program for next year.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014


There will be a Public Meeting at Sutton coldfield Town Hall tomorrow (Thursday 23 October) regarding the proposed changes to services at Good Hope Hospital. the meeting will start at 7pm.

As a regular user of Goodhope hospital myself I am like many Oscott resident very concerned at the prospect of key services being removed from the hospital and placed in either Heartlands Hospital or Solihull Hospital. I also know these quite well and they take some time to get to even by car.
To patients and their visitors time in hospital is distressing  enough without having to make longer journeys then necessary to get there
I have called on the Trust to think again.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


 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


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.


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