Hall Green

Responding to the Hall Green boundary changes – Responding to the Boundary Commission proposals for Hall Green Ward

Responding to the Hall Green boundary changes 

Given that the proposed new boundaries for wards in Hall Green are just that – proposals – it is very important that every resident and member of the Hall Green community who feels strongly puts in a response. The final decision of the Boundary Commission will not change where you live, but it will change how you are represented, how your local services are shaped and how economic development works for local centres.

However, we believe that the Local Government Boundary Commission  will not appreciate having hundreds of identical responses, so WeAreB28 have created this ‘crib sheet’ of points you can select and add to your own individual points as part of your response. You can draw on any of them or all of them and please add your own thoughts, experiences, feelings. This will help the Boundary Commission to see the various points of view and will lead them to make a more democratic and informed decision.

As stated on the LGBC website “the three main considerations in conducting an electoral review are set out in legislation and are to:

  • Improve electoral equality by equalising the number of electors each councillor represents;
  • Reflect community identity;
  • Provide for effective and convenient local government”

If you have internet access, you can find the consultation webpage (including interactive map) here: http://www.lgbce.org.uk/current-reviews/west-midlands/west-midlands/birmingham

If you would prefer to write a letter, please send your views to the following address:

The Review Officer (Birmingham), Local Government Boundary Commission for England, 14th Floor Milbank Tower, Milbank, London, SW1P 4QP

There is a change.org petition to be signed specifically about the Hall Green boundary changes: http://chn.ge/1T1517z

There is also a change.org petition to be signed on Birmingham Boundary Changes: http://chn.ge/1WqyRSJ

You can email reviews@lgbce.org.uk

Reflect community identity

Point 1 – Hall Green, an area of historic interest

The Boundary Commission’s proposals for Hall Green ward is to split it up into three wards – Hall Green North, Hall Green South and Tyseley.

Hall Green’s origins date back to the 16th century. The first record of Hawe Green dates back to 1562, taking its name from a Medieval family whose moated hall stood at the junction of School Road and Fox Hollies Road.

The modern centre of Hall Green has spread along the Stratford Road. This route is of great antiquity and was mentioned in the Yardley Charter of 972 AD . For 1000 years, people have travelled through Hall Green.  For years, it was the main route into Birmingham.

Although Hall Green as a residential district is a mid-20th-century suburban development, very many residential areas in the north of the ward were built between 1910 and the 1920s. It is very proud of its Arts and Crafts buildings.

The Church of the Ascension is a Grade II* Listed building is over 300 years old dating from 1703. It remains one of the few neo-classical church buildings in the city. The streets around the church form the important Hall Green Conservation Area.

For more details on the Hall Green conservation area, see http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/schoolca

This link  includes a map that indicates the boundaries of the conservation area.

There is an argument that the almshouses and the side of School Road they abut should also be included in the ward.

There has been a Hall Green school for 300 years. There’s been a station in Hall Green for over 100 years. Hall Green United Community Church has existed for nearly 100 years. Hall Green Parade has existed for over 100 years and Sarehole Mill dates back more than 250 years.

With this in mind, a Hall Green ward boundary that does not encompass the whole Hall Green conservation area and the historic buildings mentioned is ripping apart an area with over 300 years of historical importance.

Point 2 – Hall Green – forging a community identity

Recently Hall Green has undergone great demographic changes. For many years, community organisations have been working hard  to forge good community links between the different faiths in the community and the different generations. The number of young people in the ward has grown considerably in the last ten years. It now needs a period of real stability so that the community cohesion of the area can continue to be nurtured and fostered.

The community group WeAreB28 have worked very hard to bridge the divide caused by the Stratford Road and now the Boundary Commission are intending to undo all this good work by creating Hall Green North and South – the divide being the Stratford Road.

Hall Green is composed of residents and community members who enjoy taking an active part in their community, whether the activities being offered by the various religious organisations, the schools, the Library, South & City College, Fircones, a centre providing activities for senior residents,  Beechcraft Tennis & Multi Sports club and  community events such as the Arts Festivals and various community markets as well as the annual Middle Earth Festival.

Point 3 – Hall Green – culture and economy

Hall Green has only one council asset – Hall Green Library – but it is rich in religious community buildings and also has Highfield Hall.

If the ward of Tyseley is created, Hall Green will lose South & City College, Sarehole Mill, Hall Green school, Hall Green station, Hall Green parade, Hall Green Medical Centre and Hall Green United Community church (the former Methodist church). Everyone in Hall Green will be affected by these changes.

There is also a thriving Hall Green Arts organisation.

Provide for effective local government

We have had three councillors representing the Hall Green ward for a long time and they have been of excellent calibre, mainly living in the area and being passionate about it. If one councillor was sick or on holiday, the others would take over. This will be much more difficult if Hall Green is split into single one member wards.

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#brumvotes14

2014 Campaign Launch

Our candidate for Hall Green in the 2014 local elections, Kerry Jenkins, was invited to speak at the 2014 Campaign launch held last week. Her key messages were to increase participation by all sections of the community and the need for local representation. She also took the opportunity to thank the many Labour activists and supporters who have assisted in the campaign for a #labourgain in Hall Green.

Lib Dem campaign priorites continue to puzzle

Lots of people in Hall Green have been contacting us about the choice of issues that it seems our local Liberal Democrat Councillor is currently leafleting about.

These leaflets, distributed on behalf of Cllr Paula Smith, focus on a wide range of issues from attacking facilities time for trade union representatives to continued campaigning against additional facilities for children and young people in Hall Green.

It goes without saying that we find this choice of campaign priorities puzzling at a time when there are residents in Hall Green, struggling to make ends meet as a result of the draconian welfare reforms brought in by their coalition buddies in April this year. And at a time when there are 76,000 young people in the West Midlands without employment and when Birmingham has been short changed by £79 million by central government.

Birmingham Labour and Hall Green BLP continue to focus on the issues that matter.

What are your priority issues for Hall Green and for Birmingham?

If you receive any leaflets from Cllr Smith please do let us have a copy of them. You can email them to campaigns@hallgreenlabour.co.uk or request collection using the same email address.

Cllr McKay’s response to our open letter…

Thank you for your letter of 28th February.

I absolutely agree that the views of residents need to be taken into account when decisions are made over how the wheelie bin scheme will operate.  As you may know, we have now started a City-wide consultation with residents around the best way to roll out the wheelie bin scheme.  This will involve an open-access online questionnaire with paper copies available in libraries and neighbourhood offices, and consultation with specific groups, such as tenants, conservation areas, and disability organisations. The survey can be found here: www.opinionresearch.co.uk/birminghamwheeliebins

Based on experience in other local authorities, we estimate that 90-95% of households will be able to use wheelie bins.  The consultation process will help us to understand where exceptions need to be made.  We have already said that the sort of exceptions that we would need to think about include: major problems with rear access; and where the physical features of the homes make such bins impractical.  Also, we will be continuing with assisted collections where people are unable to manage their bins. The results of the consultation will give us much better understanding of these issues, but the central message to send out is that we are very aware that one size does not fit all.

The City-wide consultation will let us shape our policies for the roll-out.  However, this will need to be translated to the household level, prior to roll-out, in every neighbourhood in the City.  That is why we will assess the suitability of every property prior to roll-out, and then write to every householder, opening up the opportunity for a further conversation around suitability.  This will happen before bins are delivered to households.

With respect to the proposed charges for green waste collection, this needs to be set in the context of the scale of the budget cuts the City is facing.  We were forced to cut more than £100m from the budget last month, with hundreds of millions more to come in future years.  If Birmingham only faced the same reductions per head of population as everywhere else, with the pain equally shared across the country, the cuts to services would be far less severe.  But the Government has not chosen to apply this logic, and the people of Birmingham will see their services heavily impacted as a result.

What that inevitably means is that many services in Birmingham will have to either be completely transformed, or stopped altogether.  The garden waste collection service began in 2001 in Birmingham, and was fully rolled out by 2007. However, we can no longer afford to run the service as it currently stands.  At the moment it operates at a large subsidy, and the changes we are introducing will move it towards a cost-recovery basis.  But I do of course totally agree with the general point, these cuts will have consequences, and that is what we are saying again and again to Government.

With all best wishes,

Cllr James McKay
Harborne ward
Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City

Open letter to Cllr James McKay

Dear Cllr McKay,

I am writing to you in my role as Campaigns Co-ordinator for the Hall Green BLP to seek some reassurances and also pass on some concerns that have been raised by some of our party members and residents within the Hall Green Ward.

We are of course aware that as a result of winning government funding, Birmingham Council will be moving towards the introduction of wheelie bins over the next two years. We are also aware that the consultation has begun and will continue for some time, but that a preliminary report will be compiled in two weeks time based on the initial responses.

Although we realise this move to a wheeled bin service will prove beneficial in that it will protect weekly collections and provide funding to upgrade the fleet, we are concerned that the views of all residents are taken into account before decisions are finalised of how such a scheme will operate.

We are therefore seeking assurances from you that serious consideration will be given to potential issues that may arise in respect of problems related to rear access, or where the physical features of the homes make wheelie bins impractical. This will need to be done on a neighbourhood by neighbourhood basis, and in cases where problems are identified, we are asking that the council does not impose wheelie bins on residents who cannot manage them and seeks other ways of supporting residents where such problems might arise such as through the use of assisted collections.

We are aware that the newly adopted Council Budget includes proposals for the introduction of an annual service charge of £35 for green waste recycling from February/March 2014. Residents will be required to ‘opt in’ to this service and will be provided with a 240-litre wheeled bin.

Some of our concerns regarding this are similar to those outlined above in relation to the management of such a bin which will require similar reassurances.

We are concerned that many who live in Hall Green, whose glories are their gardens and the trees that are on the public spaces, also have to clean up leaves that block sewers and cause potential problems for pedestrians. It is alas, a fact, that council sweeping is being cut.  These civic minded individuals are doing a public service to their community and should not be penalised for the trees planted many years ago.

It is of concern that many of these services are Internet only facilities and many people in this ward (amongst them keen gardeners and supporters of the environment) do not use the Internet and would never ever dream of posting their personal details on a website. They are concerned and worried and we request that you please examine methods to allay their fears and concerns.

Although we fully support the Council’s commitment to recycling and your personal objective for Birmingham to become one of the leading green cities, we are concerned that as an optional service, many who might wish to take advantage of it may not be able to as quite simply, they may not be in a position to afford the charge.

We are therefore requesting that you reconsider the implementation of such a charge.

If a charge is enforced, we ask that you explore other ways to ensure that all residents can participate in such a scheme despite their financial position.

I am posting this open letter on our website so that all members and viewers of it can comment.

I appreciate these concerns may appear parochial to many but they reflect a concern that the ‘Centre’ may have not appreciated the depth of feeling within this community.

Yours sincerely

Kerry Jenkins,
Campaigns Co-ordinator,
Hall Green BLP

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A community playground for Hall Green?

In November last year, local councillors from all parties, youth workers, community groups, educational representatives of South and City College and constituency officers met at the District Convention to discuss the needs of children and young people in the wider district and in each of the Hall Green Wards. There were a series of talks from Youth and Education officers from Birmingham City Council together with input from the assistant principal of the College, the Chair of Governors from Joseph Chamberlain College and Councillor Tony Kennedy.

All councillors representing the Hall Green Ward and representatives from local community groups and youth service providers discussed how best we could engage children and young people in Hall Green and a clear consensus was reached on the need to ensure that Hall Green had adequate provision and services to meet the needs of the 7,000 children and young people across the Ward, and the need to identify more spaces and places for young people to meet.

Unfortunately, this consensus seems to have been abandoned at this months Ward meeting at which residents from a local housing estate were in attendance solely to oppose the proposals for the installation of much needed playground equipment at Newey Goodman.

The case put forward in opposition was that any installation would result in an increase of anti social behaviour and criminal activity. This is not borne out by research undertaken by the local police neighbourhood team and could not be quantified.

Despite the Liberal Democrat Councillor not adopting a position of opposition at a previous meeting at which these plans were introduced, it now appears that she has decided not to support this proposal for additional provision of services for children and young people in Hall Green.

Consultation that has been undertaken by Hall Green BLP has found real support for these proposals which would give Hall Green a brand new playground with facilities catering for both children and young people.

Currently there is only one small park in Hall Green at Marion Way and despite plans to renovate the park next month, this existing provision is far from  adequate and in comparison to surrounding Wards, it is clear that the children and young people in Hall Green Ward are being short changed and let down in terms of the services and provision available to them.

It is seemingly a natural reaction to oppose change in the first instance but the current opposition to the playground proposals for Newey Goodman appears to be based on little more than ‘nimbyism’ on the one hand and the hope of some political point scoring on the other.

As we face impending reductions in council funded provision of non statutory services across Birmingham this adds up to a very real problem for the children and young people growing up in Hall Green.

The recent launch of the mobile play service was a real step in the right direction, alongside the youth project running at Highfield Hall but these are temporary solutions and do not make up for a lack of permanent playground facilities.

We need to welcome proposals that would result in an increase in services for our children and young people. How can we sit back and refuse our children and young people such provision?

Wherever any new such provision is proposed, it is always going to be in someone’s back yard, and is always going to be opposed by a minority. We need to stand together as a community and see the bigger picture and how we ensure the very best deal for our children and young people. We have the chance of doing this now with a real opportunity to have a  ‘community playground’ in Hall Green, but in order to realise this, we need first to become a real community.

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Play facilities for HG?

Local councillor Barry Bowles has been concerned for some time about the lack of play facilities in Hall Green. After discovering that the Ward, where one in four people are under 16, only had  one small playground, he felt duty bound to try and do something about it.

Currently, the only playground facilities available are in Marion Way, but these facilities are themselves in need of renovation and are vastly inadequate to meet the needs of the 7,000 children and young people that we have living in the Ward.

As Ward Chair, Cllr Bowles has been in discussions with council officers in an attempt to provide more facilities and draft proposals for both a playground and basketball court at Newey Park were presented at a recent Ward meeting.

First look at the plans show that a great deal of time and thought have been put in to produce a creative and well thought out plan for these facilities and a full consultation will be held across Hall Green over the next few months.

If you have any comments or require more information then please complete the form below.

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