Cllr Smith

Emotions running high at HG Ward Meeting

The meeting was chaired by Cllr Burden who informed those in attendance of the extremely sad loss of Cllr Bowles’ wife  and that therefore he would not be in attendance this evening and had tendered his apologies.

The meeting discussed a variety of issues ranging from environmental issues, to community chest applications, with approvals being given to BCC Youth Service, Scouts group and Shire Country Park Friends amongst others. The issues that generated the highest level of debate are outlined below:

The issue of wheelie bins was yet again raised and a brief discussion was held about the forthcoming consultation. The new bins are currently being piloted in Brandwood and Harborne. The full details of the consultation process were as yet unknown but Cllr Burden reported how the introduction of wheelie bins impacted on the retention of weekly collections and the replacement of the fleet due to the financial pressures being experienced. He reiterated the need for residents to fully engage with the consultation process.

Some concern was noted about the suggestion that residents would be charged an annual fee of £35 for a green service once the new bins were introduced and a number of residents suggested that this would lead to fly tipping.

The meeting welcomed Sgt Chris Rigby who gave a brief report back regarding crime statistics. It appeared that although national crime stats had fallen, burglary in Hall Green was up by 11%.

A resident reported on the worrying increase of buildings appearing in people’s gardens and was very concerned that large, brick built buildings were appearing, not as extensions to properties, but being built at the bottom of gardens across Hall Green. He gave the example of a building which had recently received planning permission and informed the meeting that this building was 9 x 7m and 12 feet high, brick built with a tiled roof and a satellite dish. It also was reported that Liberal Democrat Cllr Smith had voted in favour of this build recently.

By far the biggest debate of the evening was in relation to proposals for a playground installation at the open space on Newey Goodman. Residents in attendance from the Newey housing estate opposing the proposals argued that it would result in an increase in anti social behaviour and criminal activity. Emotions ran high from opposing stances. It was reported that in a ward with over 10,000 households, current facilities were totally inadequate, and the only playground in Hall Green was at Marion Way, where the land was unsuitable and the equipment in desperate need of replacement. If the new proposals went through,  the park at Marion Way would also be revamped. A petition with approximately 250 signatures in support of the proposals was handed in. An application for Village Green status was presented.

Feedback from Ward Meeting

All councillors were in attendance at last night’s Ward Meeting, chaired by Cllr Bowles. The meeting discussed a variety of issues ranging from planning applications to the lack of cycle routes in Hall Green but the issues that appeared to generate the highest level of debate are outlined below:

An overview of the cuts being implemented by the current ConDem government to the West Midlands Fire Service and the impact of these cuts to the provision of services across the District was noted. Residents were encouraged to participate in the consultation process regarding these cuts either online at or by requesting a copy of the document from the local fire station by the 4th January 2013. http://www.wmfs.net/content/consultation

The meeting welcomed Sgt Chris Rigby who has taken over from Sgt Tom O’Keefe and who gave a brief report back regarding crime statistics.

Concerns were raised regarding the often dangerous parking outside our schools across the Ward. Cllr Smith reported that despite both herself and Paul Smith spending the last six weeks attempting to attend to the parking problems outside of Hall Green Junior School, these were ongoing. The parking enforcement team had been on site this week and had issued a high number of tickets and it was hoped this would deter this type of behaviour. Cllr Burden and Cllr Bowles agreed that irresponsible parking at this particular school and others across the Ward were putting children’s safety into question, and the main issues seemed to being experienced at St Ambrose Barlow; Lakey Lane; Chilcote and Robin Hood Schools. Sgt Rigby was aware of of these problems and asked that the worst affected schools were identified so that the neighbourhood team could prioritise them for action.

The issue of wheelie bins was raised and a discussion was held about the forthcoming consultation. The full details of the consultation process were as yet unknown but it was thought that this would be launched in the New Year.

Cllr Bowles reported that Birmingham Council had been successful in its bid and had been awarded £29 million from the ConDem coalition government under the Weekly Collection Support Scheme for household refuse. He stated that it was important to note that if the decision was made not to go ahead with the wheelie bin introduction, then this money would be taken back as it could not be used for any other purpose.

Cllr Bowles stated that personally he was neither for or against the idea of the introduction of wheelie bins, he did feel that it was very important that all residents who had a view engaged with the process and input into the consultation.

Cllr Smith made it very clear that she was personally vehemently against the idea of wheelie bins and despite not having details of how any such system would be implemented made suggestions that there would be charges made for cleaning, replacement and perhaps installation. It seems that this is a bit of a theme with Lib Dem Cllrs across the City adopting similar tactics in opposition. http://birminghamlibdems.org.uk/en/article/2012/634630/wheelie-bins-your-verdict-they-re-rubbish

Cllr Burden gave an overview as to the reasons behind the bid and how the introduction of wheelie bins impacted on the retention of weekly collections and the replacement of the fleet due to the financial pressures being experienced. He also noted that it would not be a one hat fits all approach and felt it unhelpful to speculate about how such a system would work until full details were known. He reiterated the need for residents to fully engage with the consultation process.

As an add on to this item, it was noted that the collection timetable over the festive period had now been published and the details were read out to the meeting.

Representatives from WeAreB28 were in attendance and reported that the information regarding collections was on the Forum website www.weareb28.co.uk for those with online access and there was also an option of completing an online survey with regard to wheelie bins for those with a view.

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