Local issues

Cllr Sam Burden – Labour’s candidate for the 2015 Birmingham City Council local elections

Hall Green parade SGB

Cllr Sam Burden has been selected to stand as Labour’s candidate in the 2015 local elections by Hall Green Branch Labour Party.

Sam was the first Labour councillor elected in Hall Green for over 60 years in 2011.

Sam said “It has been a privilege to serve the people of Hall Green over the last four years and to work alongside Barry Bowles and Kerry Jenkins our other local councillors.

The last four years have been tough for Hall Green and Birmingham due to the Lib-DemTory cuts but we have fought hard for Hall Green and the local people.

Labour has a vision for Birmingham as a vibrant dynamic city.  Since Labour took control in 2012 we have seen the introduction of the living wage, devolution of local services, huge investment in cycling and the roll out of wheely bins to name just a few headlines.

In Hall Green top priority remains Hall Green library.  We have also supported youth work, seen the opening of Newey Park and run numerous campaigns to look after the area and retain its local character.”

Summer Reading Scheme – awards at Hall Green Library

This morning I presented awards to 30 children at Hall Green library following their completion of the summer reading scheme. The scheme requires local children to read and write reviews for 6 books during the summer holidays. Cllr Kerry Jenkins and Cllr Barry Bowles have attended similar ceremonies during this week.

280 children in the local area took part in the scheme following Community Chest funding that we agreed earlier this year and this year’s theme was the Mythical Maze.

Today’s awards ceremony was a good occasion in which children and parents took real pride.

May I offer congratulations to children, parents and especially thank library staff for their efforts in making this happen.


Birmingham Cycling Revolution – Hall Green to Birmingham by bike via the canals!

I am half marathon training and took the opportunity to run the cycle route by the canal from Hall Green starting at Green Road ford and going via Ackers along the Great Union Canal and eventually to Brindley Place, a distance of some 6.5 or so miles.
Here are a few thoughts on the journey!
– the new cycle  routes look great with the sand coloured top, from Blackberry way towards Ackers
– the journey is fascinating but more suited to Sunday afternoon than daily commute as its not that direct
– canal paths are quite narrow in parts and geared towards a more leisurely journey due to the danger of meeting oncoming traffic!
– there are a few obstacles for cyclists and the path is quite winding in places, there is a mini slope at Ackers and then a steep set of steps. There  are also lots of bridges which are very attractive but not that easy to navigate on a bike and hard to run over!
– it was also a bit lonely – i saw only four or five other people on the Canal between Ackers and Birmingham (two of whom nearly had a heart attack as they didn’t see me coming!) a distance of circa two miles ish. I suggest if you try this route you travel with a companion.
All in all this is a great way to see some new parts to Birmingham and certainly down to Ackers the cycle route has really improved.  Past here however there is lots of work to do if this is to become  a regular cycling route.
How we do need a direct, cyclist friendly, road based route to the city centre as well.
The path under construction from Green Road.

Sam Burden opposes 183 Cole Valley Road planning application for car sales business

Planning Committee on 18 September 2014 and if you missed it you can catch up on the council webcast library. http://www.birmingham.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/147122

The planning application for 183 Cole Valley Road for an online car sales business, which was being recommended for acceptance by the planning officer has been deferred. This decision followed representations made by Cllr Sam Burden on behalf of local residents and representations made by Kerry Jenkins based on knowledge of the local area and concerns that the District Engineer had not reported back following resident consultation.

Hall Green turns RED

The results of the local elections held on Thursday 22 May were fantastic for Labour in Hall Green and resulted in a third Labour councillor. Kerry Jenkins, being elected to represent the residents of Hall Green.

You can listen to the declaration and acceptance speech below:



















We’ll bring science and industry together to boost jobs of the future with a new University Enterprise Zone at the city’s heart.


We’ll create a Birmingham Apprenticeship Agency by bringing businesses and colleges together to double the number of apprentices over the next 18 months.


We’ll work to get 10,000 more Brummies off the minimum wage of £6.31 and on  to a living wage of at least £7.65.


We’ll create a Birmingham Child Poverty Commission to help the city’s schools, social care, health services and employers break the poverty that blights the lives of a third of our children.


We will always put victims first and tackle anti-social behaviour.  We will campaign to put police back on the beat.  Thousands are blighted by drug addiction and the crime that feeds it.  We will work with the NHS and the police, in a fighting partnership, to clean up addicts and take out their suppliers.


We’ll build 70,000 more houses over two decades and tackle rogue landlords to improve the quality of rented homes.


We’ll replace old leisure facilities with a £36m investment in leisure centres and work with residents to manage parks and open spaces.


Only Labour will protect rights at work such as 4 weeks paid holiday and time-off for Mums and Dads when their children are born.  The Tories and UKIP want to end these rights.


Labour has got Birmingham moving again. More businesses opened their doors here, last year, than anywhere else outside London. We won more investment than anywhere else with the biggest Enterprise Zone in Britain. Our Youth Jobs Fund is getting young people back to work. Specialist school teaching is starting to give young people the skills they need for work. Now we want to go further: ¦ investing in jobs of the future; ¦ boosting apprenticeships; ¦ stepping up the fight for a Living Wage and the fight against child poverty; ¦ investing in new leisure centres and green spaces; ¦ driving out crime and drugs; ¦ building more homes for local people and driving out rogue landlords. This Tory-Lib Dem government has got it in for us. They’ve cut Birmingham’s budget twice as hard as the UK average – while giving Britain’s millionaires a tax cut. Only Labour is campaigning for energy bills to be frozen until 2017, free childcare for 25 hours a week for 3-4 year olds, a 10p rate of tax for the low-paid and a small firms business rate cut. Only Labour can make the difference; for Birmingham and for Britain.

Kerry Jenkins – our candidate on 22 May 2014

Q&A with our candidate on 22 May 2014 – Kerry Jenkins003

How long have you lived in Hall Green?

I have lived in Hall Green District since I was a child but moved into the Ward around 26 years ago.

Tell us something about your personal circumstances. Are you married and have kids?

Yes I’m married to a chef! I have four kids ranging from 13 t31. I am also lucky enough to have 6 grandchildren.

You are qualified as a Social Worker and have worked in the Youth Work related sector for many years. Why and what interested you in that field?

I returned to education as a mature student to undertake my degree in 1990. At that time I had three kids and the youngest was four. I have always been passionate about challenging inequality and believe that young people have a right to participate in decisions that affect them; that their voices should be heard and that they should be supported to campaign on issues they believe in.

Why do you love living in Hall Green?

I think we are very lucky to live in such a great Ward. We have great schools, a diverse community, good local small businesses and good transport links. And the trees! What isn’t there to love?

When did you think that you could represent your fellow citizens as a councillor in the biggest council in Europe?

It’s something I have been thinking about for some time but I only really got active in my local party about two and a half years ago. I believe that local government can only be as vibrant, effective and relevant as the people who are elected to run it. Councils made up of diverse individuals make better informed decisions and better represent their communities. I think I can add to this diversity, bringing my broad range of skills, life experience and knowledge as a councillor both within the bigger council and on a local level.

Why did you think that Labour was a place that would make you feel at home?

There was no other party in the running…I believe that Labour is the only political party that truly represents the interests of ordinary people, a party of social justice and one that believes in strong community and strong values.

What are your hobbies and interests outside all of this campaigning?

I try to keep fit and enjoy spin classes and yoga. I don’t get a lot of spare time but I like to read and am contemplating having a go at patchwork. Watch this space…

Are you a dog or cat person?

Impossible choice as I have one of each.

Do you think that community organisations play an important part in Hall Green?

Most definitely. I was instrumental in setting up WeAreB28 as I recognised that there was a need for a cohesive approach to signposting and promoting the fantastic work done by many organisations across Hall Green. For many, a lack of accessible resources such as a web presence had resulted in the services being provided remaining hidden from much of the community that they were being provided for. Through WeAreB28 we have been able to act as an umbrella organisation for these organisations and have provided a diverse range of resources and events that have brought together many different parts of our community.

What keeps you awake at night?

The terrible plight of so many living in poverty. My own children, with children of their own are feeling the pressure of rising energy bills, rising food costs coupled with a cut in benefits and child tax credits. The growing inequality of the society we live in is being perpetuated by the ideological attack on those most in need by our current government.

Do you think that the Labour pledges for 2015 have a place in Hall Green?

Most definitely. I applaud Labour’s commitment to help ordinary people in contrast to helping those living in extreme wealth. Labour’s pledge to get rid of the disgraceful bedroom tax, the increases in free child care, the freeze in energy bills and the cuts to business rates will help all sectors of our community.

If you had a magic wand what would you do for Hall Green?

Hard question but I would want to ensure that the essential services for young and old were sufficiently resourced, that our assets were restored to their original beauty and that all living in Hall Green felt part of a real community.

Why should we trust you to deliver what the people of Hall Green want ?

The only way to know what people want is by getting out and talking to people and this is what I have been doing for the past 18 months. Listening to the views of residents is the only way to really identify the needs. This I have done through my campaigning work, through my street stalls and through speaking to people on the doorstep. I believe that if we work together as a community we can achieve great things. This is my community and I will work hard to seek additional resources as well as protecting the services we have.

Birmingham Highways Maintenance and Management Service Guidance

This document is important as it spells out what we should receive in terms of service from AMEY as a result of the 25 year contract given to them by the previous Liberal Democrat/Tory administration. If you do not feel like you are not receiving the service spelt out in this document then please let us know so that we can hold them to account.

AMEY was awarded this lucrative contract to ensure the improvement and repair of our roads, maintenance of our footpaths, bridges, street lighting and traffic signals along with the upkeep of street scenery such as safety barriers, seats and trees.

We do not feel that there is a system in place for accountability and your Labour councillors have demanded that a schedule of work be made available to them. They will do everything in their power to ensure AMEY is held to account over the services they provide.

If you need to report a problem or isuue then please ring the dedicated number – 0121 303 6644 – this call will be logged and this means we can track action taken.

For those of you online then a really useful website is Fix My Street and issues can be recorded here which will then be passed to the council.

We don’t need another supermarket in Hall Green or do we?

Another planning application has been submitted by Aldi for a new store to be built on the disused garage site on Stratford Road/Wycome Road area, just metres away from Waitrose and this is due to be heard at a meeting of the planning committee either in mid September or early October.

Currently, I do have some concerns regarding the proposal and the possible implications it will have not only on our Ward, but on the daily lives of local residents. I have lodged a formal objection to the application and will speak in opposition at the planning meeting.

I do hope that the planners can allay these concerns and am working with local residents, campaigning against this application until that time.  Whatever your views, it is important that you make your voice heard. I would like to give all residents the opportunity to make their views known and there will be a public meeting on Tuesday, 6.30pm at the proposed site, Startford Rd / Wycome Rd jnct so that residents can learn more about the issues and share concerns or views.

Residents of Hall Green Ward are still able to participate in this consultation and if you haven’t done so already, then it is imperative that you share your thoughts. You can view the plans here by quoting reference 2013/05304/PA. They are also available in the Library.

A campaign has more chance of success when it has a strong collective voice. We may not win this fight but we will be heard.

You can help strengthen the campaign by signing the petition 




What do you think?

Roger’s Postcard from Parliament – May/June 2013

Our MP, Roger Godsiff, produces a monthly update on his activities in Parliament. You can read his latest Postcard from Parliament below.

We’re Rebuilding Britain