Thursday, 27 October 2016


For some weeks now I have been asking the Parks department to take action to deal with some aggressively growing Japanese knot weed in the Queslett Nature Reserve. It was beginning to move ominously close to nearby housing ( where it may have come from in the past?)

I was recently informed intensive spaying had took place to try and kill it off. Today thanks to being asked to a photo shoot to help promote the Friends of the Queslett Nature Reserve I managed to get time to inspect some of the work undertaken along with some of the FQNR team.

With its red stems and deep green leaves, it is a pretty enough plant however Japanese knotweed's beauty belies the fact it has become the scourge of British homeowners and parks. It is not a native plant but was introduce about 200 years ago to parks and gardens and just spread and spread.

It grows at a ridiculous rate, is near-impossible to get rid of. It can be dug out ( and this may years to do to get anywhere) but legislation means it has to be disposed of correctly. It can be sprayed but experts doing this is the best way forward.
I am just pleased the Parks department carried out my request for action and hope their spraying does the job.


It was a real privilege to pay a visit again to the Beeches Gold Centre Beeches Road.
To see the work being done by such dedicated staff is just amazing.

Those attending the centre are adults with mental health learning disabilities such as early to late dementia. All are referred via Social services.

The range of activities on offer include crafts ( they were making X mas card to be sold later) snooker, dance, foot ball, fishing and various trips.

There are life skills being taught  such  as life cooking,, laying tables and other basic domestic skills.
The range of food on offer is first class the whole establishment is clean and well cared for.

The centre gives careers some badly needed rest for a few hours.

For those of us who have been a carrer will know what is like to leave a loved one, even for just an hour, but those who leave someone at this centre have nothing to worry about.
I met most of those who were using the centre the day I was there and they were all happy, active and content.
When I visit a centre like this and meet such wonderful people who fight everyday the challenge of their disability It helps put many of the problems I see in perspective.

To find out more about this centre ring 464 3123

Tuesday, 25 October 2016


I was glad to be on hand again today to take in some further Hedge Hog Homes.
With the help of the dedicated friends of the Queslett Nature Reserve with the Guidance of Park rangers we will be staking down these homes and locating them in suitable locations within the reserve to help promote the health and well being of these fast disappearing mammals.


Horse Chess nut trees appear to be a bit like Marmite,  Oscott residents either love them or hate them.

It has to be said, many in the area are over grown and at this time of year they cause real problems with their leaves, conker shells and branches strewn on the pavement as trip hazards. They can also shade out many gardens given their size, leaving residents unable to grow grass or other plants in front gardens.

On the other hand many residents love the splendour and elegance of these trees and the way the trees turn colour in the autumn. Of cause generations of children have loved if allowed to by the health and safety brigade to play conkers.

Sadly there may not be an opportunity even if you want to  see these trees as a combination of insects and decease is fast decimating these trees.

Our conker trees are under attack by 'alien' invaders! you may notice whitish patches on the leaves of horse chestnut trees?  By the middle of summer, the whitish patches die and turn brown.  Sometimes whole trees turn brown, and it looks like autumn has come early.

The damage is caused by a tiny 'alien' species of leaf-mining moth, which is invading the UK.  For biologists, an 'alien' is a species not naturally found in an area or habitat.  The moth’s caterpillars eat the leaves from the inside.  Infected trees are weakened, and produce smaller conkers.

Luckily, there is help at hand. Some of the leaf-mining moths are killed by birds that prey upon the caterpillars. Others are killed by natural pest controllers, in the form of tiny insects.  These insects lay their eggs inside the caterpillars of the leaf-mining moths, and when the eggs hatch, the larvae slowly eat the caterpillars, eventually killing them. However many trees are too fatally weakened and succumb to other decease's.

I had hoped that some Conker trees could have be planted in some of out open spaces but sadly I have been informed this cannot happen due to the trees being so badly effected.

What will happen to the Conker trees? some will be please to see the back of them and other sad to see them disappear. Only time will tell. I will ask the relevant department to keep an eye on the situation.


I was pleased to see so many Oscott Community Leaders come along to the informal meeting I set up for them to meet with me.
It is important to listen to as many views as possible and to try and keep as many people as possible updated with various developments.
Sadly not all the leaders could stay throughout the meeting put it shows how busy these people are trying to look after those they represent.
I will certainly pass on their various views and concerns and hope they are listened to.
I was very pleased that again many informed me they found the meeting I held more understandable than some they are asked to attend.

Thursday, 20 October 2016


I was pleased to note the speed which the new paths (or upgrades) are being put down out at in the Queslett Nature Reserve.

It will seem strange at first but as they weather in it will begin to look more natural. They will certainly aid those walking (or running) in the reserve and should help ease the drainage issues that were causing issues for some. The new paths will also enable some less abled members of the community better access to the reserve.
They will also help create fire breaks. As we know grass fire can cause such damage to sites like this reserve and can be dangerous for visitors and wild like alike.

Other works are to be undertaken, the installation of new logs to sit on, litter bins and the creation of a small open space near the end of the lake. and new information boards are to be put up.

The FQNR environmental Group volunteers are also working hard behind the scenes with their habitat and wild life improvements as well as their regular clean ups.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016


It is always nice to be asked to speak at the Oscott Elderly residents group but I enjoyed playing second fiddle today while listening to an interesting talk about how to avoid scams by a trading Standards Officer.

I was certainly a well attended meeting today and light refreshments and a chance to win on a
raffle were well received.

The Oscott Elderly Residents group Chair Maureen Byrne has told me she and her group are always ready to welcome new member and you can ask for details at the 610 Community Centre Kingstanding Road


Despite rumour mongering to the contrary in the past the 2 Oscott Libraries are to be kept open partly due to the battle put up by Oscott Councillors. ( We also fought foe the Tower hill library in the Perry Barr ward.)

Sadly they will have reduced hours but unlike some Community Libraries the proposals are they will remain open.
It is a great shame that huge cuts in government funding to Local Councils like Birmingham have put so many libraries under threat.

The 2 libraries in Oscott the Kingstanding Library ( which recently had its children's section upgraded) and the Perry Common library cater not only for Oscott residents but due to their location also a large number of Kingstanding residents as well. These libraries have a very important role to do in the Oscott area.

I would also like to thank all those residents who have helped us to fight to keep our libraries open in Oscott and remind resident we have saved the libraries but if we are to regain more opening hour in the future we all need to try and use our libraries more. Any Community Groups who think they may be able to support our Libraries should have a chat with the appropriate senior Librarian.


It was good to be out and about again with the Oscott volunteer Grot spot team ( and no it was not even election time!) for those who do not know we do go out as a team through the year when we can.

Yesterday we were in Darledale Avenue and I would like to thank those who came along.

Monday, 17 October 2016


Following pressure from the 3 Oscott Councillors, (Barbara Dring , Tristan Chatfield and my self) the Transportation department have had a re think about the possibility of introducing a Zebra Crossing on Dyas Road near the Island junction with Old Oscott Lane.

Previous thoughts to introduce a pedestrian refuge have been withdrawn following my insistence that consultation with NX and Centro take place, when it was realized it would be difficult to maneuver buses around the refuges.

The case notes for the new proposal are being examined and put to the various bodies for consultation.
This scheme has my full support as I have been working on this issue without making any promises for some considerable time.
I would also like to thank Brian Brookes and other residents who helped me collect signatures' on a petition last year.

The original prosal was for a pedestrian refuge to be places as indicated by the out line below.


While thinking of celebrating on Bon Fire Night by having a bonfire, don't forget to check for hibernating hedge hogs.
Also remember to keep pets indoors and out of harms way.


Saturday, 15 October 2016


It was a pleasure to be with a small but dedicated group of people who care so much about the Queslett Nature Reserve today.

These volunteers are hard working volunteers who give up their time to try and improve the reserve.

Today we took owner ship of the first batch of bird boxes which will be put up over the coming months as part of a habitat improvement initiative.
Much needed litter picking and light pruning was also carried out.

It was also good to see the progress be made by contractor working to put in the new mid  side lake path.

If you want to help improve the Queslett Nature reserve and its wild life and want to put in some work to do so please email me

Thursday, 13 October 2016


Some light relief at to days long BCC Planning meeting. Thanks to Chair Mike Shape and his gift to me of a little hedge hog ( now named "Sharpie".)

  Another pleasing event later in the meeting was Councillor Peter Douglas Osborne's ( Con) full support for my attempts to get a small Planning sub committee set up to look at  Environmental and wild life* issues in relation to the Planning committee. We have looked at heritage and conservation for years why not the Environment and wild life?

 I do not pretend to be an expert on these subjects* but  I will do what I can to get these issues on the map in Planning terms in Birmingham.


The expected introduction of a Traffic Regulation Order ( yellow lines) to protected the corners of Marshall Grove. Blakeland Road and Anstey Road ( where they meet Greenholm Road near the school) from parked vehicles, have been delayed due to an objection from a resident.

Yellow lines are a legally binding arrangement and there proposed introduction has to go out to public consultation. This can often following an objection lead to a further review of the matter which clearly can cost time and extra expense. However clearly objections must be fully considered.

Sadly while a decision is made regarding the objection, parking on these corners will have to continue to be in the hand of the over stretched Local Police force who have faced cuts in their funding due to central government for some time. They are the enforcement agency.

If yellow lines are introduced the parking issues in question will not be solved automatically but most agree including the Birmingham City Council Transport department that the situation should be better.

I hope parents who drop off and collect their children from Greenholm school will park carefully and away from these junctions for the safety of the children going to school.

We now await the review of the TRO application.

There are no easy solutions to the issue of parking near schools.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016


I would like to say a big thank you to the schools, Fire Brigade, Police Church representatives and Council  Council officer officers who attended today meeting regarding problems with parking and road safety around schools in Oscott which took place today.

Clearly there are no easy solutions but at the meeting which everyone assured me they found useful there was clearly food for thought.

There are a number of initiatives and funding streams being considered and Oscott needs to be there fighting for anything we can get.
 For example banners like the one above and other information and material are available for local schools in Oscott, they simply have to ask for it.
 It may be worth asking your local school to get involved if they are not already.

Some of the possible physical solutions are being taken away for appraisal by the Transportation department and Road safety officers are looking at other issues.

However as I indicated there are no simple solutions to a problems faced by school residents and parents across the country but at least the issue is well on the agenda here in Oscott. Every solution found can often have a detrimental effect somewhere else and has to be considered..

Residents will be part of the feed back and able to discuss the issues at a meeting which should take place in the New Year.


As many residents know through out the winter months I carry out a grit bin patrol to try and get Amey Highways to top up grit bins in the Oscott ward where needed.

I have already started this process and have been advised by Amey Highways all grit bins in the Oscott area should be topped up ready for any bad weather by the end of the month.

From  November  I shall continue checking as many grit bins in Oscott as possible but would ask residents to contact me if a grit bin becomes empty.
Email Keith.Linnecor@Birmingham, or leave me a message on 303 2039)

Sunday, 9 October 2016


Sadly Hedgehogs are in decline.

The Friend of the Queslett Nature Reserve are trying to make the reserves habitat more hedge hog friendly and would ask residents to do their bit by giving up a section of their garden to them.
Please leave a small gap in your fence to allow them to roam from garden to garden and make sure you check any garden bonfires before you light them ( especially at this time of year as Bonfire night approaches.)
What to do if you find a hedgehog that needs help 

If you see a hedgehog out in the daylight, or an injured or sick hedgehog at any time, it is in trouble. A hedgehog 'sun-bathing' or 'staggering' is probably very cold, and hypothermia is setting in. You need to act at once to help the animal.


• Pick up the hedgehog using gloves or an old towel

• Put the hedgehog in a high sided box filled with torn up newspaper, or cover with an old towel

• If the hedgehog feels cold to the touch, put in a bottle filled with hot water and wrap it up in a towel (A plastic pop bottle is ideal)

• Cover or close the box to protect the hedgehog from flies and maggots

• If there is an obvious wound or injury, take the hedgehog to a vet, straight away if possible. Tell the vet you want the hedgehog back if it recovers as it is always best to release recovered hedgehogs back into their territory

If you need further advice contact the West Midland Hedgehog Rescue

For advice on what to do next:

If you find an injured hedgehog or a hedge on distress you can contact the West Midland Hedgehog rescue organization. for  advice.

You can help them to help hedgehogs by donating
• Clean paper pet bedding &puppy training pads
• Old Towels/Bedding
• Old Beanie Hats
(aka hoglet sleeping bags - fleecetype  - no loose knit)
• Dried mealworms
• Feeding Syringes
• Single Use Sterile Needles
• Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel

For more information ring the West Midland Hedge hog Rescue
Tel no  01922 419 532  0r 07837 409 533.

You could also contact you Councillor or MP and ask them to take this issue seriously?

Saturday, 8 October 2016



Oscott Councillors are only to aware of the problems faced by residents living near schools in the ward and the danger many children face when coming and going from school.

These problems can often include having their drives blocked, having to weave through badly parked cars left willy nilly by some parent dropping off or picking up their children. There are also sometimes  problems from abusive parents.

Many schools, along with the Police are trying to do what they can to try and reduce these problems.
Like the Council the Police are stretched to the limit in what they can due to years of cuts from central government and it is vital schools do what they can to help.

With this in mind and knowing while trying to deal with parking problems at one school site there are other forming at another, I have set up meeting  and will be chairing with all the schools in Oscott, who want to genuinely try and help ease the parking situation and the safety of the children who attends schools.

All the school in Oscott have again been asked to send a representative to try and get together with the Police and Council travel safety teams to look at the situation.

 We will be looking at best practice (what different schools are doing to ease parking problems which help the situation.) We will be looking at initiates like walk to school, walking buses, school travel plans and so on. There will also be a Transportation engineer to discuss what is or is not practical physically.

There are clearly no easy answers if there were the problems would not exist but ALL Schools in Oscott will be asked to send someone to attend and we would ask that residents,staff and parents to ensure schools do send someone and urge all the Schools in Oscott to do what they can to help.

We hope to report back to residents at the next Oscott Wards Residents.


You can be assured Councillor Dring, Councillor Chatfield and I are doing what we can to try and find solutions to the parking problems in the Oscott area.

Friday, 7 October 2016


The Perry Barr / Kingstanding pensioners convention which includes Oscott meet every 3rd Monday in the month 10.30am to 11.30am. the venue is the Perry Barr Library.

This is a chance to meet other residents to discus issues of common concerns many of which are raised
with me by the Chair Ken Smith.


I was pleased to help the NPI and Friends Of Queslett Nature Reserve environmental group put up some No dog Fouling signs on the Glenmead Road playing field site.

Hopefully the small minority of dog walkers who don't take their dogs mess home with them will now? There are litter bins near each entrance.  have also asked that the Dog Wardens keep a eye on the area.

Further grass cutting on this site is expected to be done in the coming weeks

Wednesday, 5 October 2016


I would like to thank all those who attended the Oscott Ward meeting today around a hundred people.?

Thanks to the Officers who had the courage to turn up and face difficult question
Also to our MP who managed to pop in and will be having major discussions with top officials about some of the issues that were heard.

But mainly I would like to thank the large number of residents who came and put over their concerns mainly about trees but other issues as well. They gave up their time to try and get over to officers their views.

There are no easy answers but the campaign to have a better tree pruning and replacement program for the Oscott Ward will go on. Also officers will go away and evaluate what they heard in regards to the Burford Road playing field issues.

It was also (nearly?) pleasing to see 2 Councillors from a nearby ward attend, we only just found room to get them in.
 ( For only the 4th time I can remember we had to change to a larger room to get all those at the meeting comfortably seated.

Councillor Barbara Dring had her work cut out but chaired the meeting well as ever and all those with something to say said it.

If anyone would like to know more about the issues discussed at today meeting please contact me.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016


A reminder

The next Oscott ward meeting will take place on Wednesday 5th October.
The venue will be the 610 Community Centre and the time 7pm.
The meeting will be Chaired by Councillor Barbara Dring.

At my request on the agenda will be Amey Highways discussions TREES and other road maintenance issues.

The Burford Playing Field.

Local Police issues

Councillor Tristan Chatfield and I will be in attendance and our MP hopes to be available if possible.

Oscott residents are welcome

Monday, 3 October 2016



Weather permitting wore is due to start at last on improvements to the Queslett nature Reserve.
The improvements will be resurfacing some of the rough paths in the reserve (and creating a new path) to help those less mobile to use the site. The improved paths should also be less likely to be effected by the rain and mud and will be easier to walk on.

There will also be some new log benches, notice boards, more litter bins and the end of the lake will be opened up to create better views and for somewhere to relax.

Later in the year a number of large trees will be removed. These trees will either be deceased or in some cases they will be removed to allow more light in the reserve. They will be replaced by other trees which will be placed strategically through out the reserve as part of woodland and heath maintenance. pre- planned program.

Finally a new emergency gate will be located at the Ashgrove Road end to allow the Emergency Services and the Parks department a second vehicle entrance to the site.

The reserve will still be just that a place where the environment and wild life are the priority but where those using it will have a little more comfort.

I would like to thank all those users of the reserve who have come forward with idea's and naturally the Members of the Friends of the Queslett nature Reserve who have been so involved.


I am still battling to get a number of trees throughout the Oscott ward pruned tor replaced .
However I have just found out following a number of try's, the trees on Corbridge Avenue are now expected to be pruned during Amey Highways,  2016/2017 pruning program which runs from October to March.
Unfortunately they are unable to provide a specific date for when these works are scheduled to take place, as their programmes are subject to regular reviews and it is possible that any specific date may change.
I will needless to say keep a watching brief on this and will keep an eye on their by the end of the 2017 date. I see this as a small step in the right direction.

Sunday, 2 October 2016



Why large old street trees need to be heavily pruned and a sensible long term tree repayment is needed.

In my view

Most resident like street lined trees as they are aesthetically pleasing and help reduce pollutants and carbon dioxide.

 However sadly a number of residents a turning against them because.

Many are overgrown and not pruned enough and are allowed to grow far too big.

Over large tree canopies often block out residents light making it difficult for them to get much needed health giving sunlight when in their gardens.

Tree branches are often touching resident’s home effecting, roof tiles, paint work, guttering and satellite installations.

Large tree roots are affecting residents block paving, walls, pipes and the pavement near their home.

The pavement problems are causing trips and injury.

In some cases health particularly lung infections are caused by access pollen and so on from these overgrown trees.

Due to the shear amount of leaf fall pavements are becoming a trip hazard and drains are becoming blocked which can cause flooding.

Overgrown large trees often have large branches which fall off in light winds and this can damage cars and could even cause accidents.

What is needed is for trees to be more heavily pruned (not pollarded) and replaced slowly and steadily by new trees of a more suitable variety. While new trees are growing they will cost less to maintain.

I would also force big developers who are destroying large amount of trees across the city to pay for suitable plots of land where trees can be planted as replacement for those being lost from private land.

In my view we need those who maintain our trees to do more and those who set the policies regarding trees both locally and nationally to take this matter seriously.

Like many others I care about our street trees but want something done to improve them for the future and this is the reason my campaign to get something done about this issue will go on even though it may not be fashionable in some eyes.

Oscott residents can discuss this subject as part of  the next ward meeting Oct 5th at the 610 Community Centre at 7pm.
Should you agree please contact your own Councillors and MP.