Roger Harmer

Liberal Democrat Councillor working for Acocks Green

Friends of Fox Hollies Park

July 19th, 2014 by rogerharmer
1 Comment

Many people have commented to me about how neglected Fox Hollies Park has looked recently. Litter is a major problem and Westley Brook is poorly maintained, often flowing over the bridge when there is a lot of rain. Anti social behaviour can be a problem at times and the lighting was recently badly damaged (now repaired).

A group of residents, supported by the police and council officers are trying to turn things round. The aim is to set up a Friends of Fox Hollies Park group – to organise activities in the park, which will encourage it to be used as it should be, as a valuable resource for the community, and to keep it cleaner than it sometimes has been. We may also be able to look at bidding for extra facilities.

Its early days but a number of things are being planned:

* The Park will participate in the Active Parks and Park Lives schemes, with support from Birmingham Open Spaces Forum. This should bring a number of keep fit activities to the park including Tai Chi and a range of fun games and sports for people to get involved in.

* A monthly litter pick is being organised – the next one starts at 11am on Saturday 26th July at the car park by the play area off Gospel Lane.

* The police are doing their best to deal with the problem of motor bikes being ridden (and sometimes burned) in the Park. They can’t be there all the time so if you see it going on, or have any information about this problem please let them know on 101 (non urgent issues) or 999 (urgent issues), or you can contact me and I’ll forward the information to them. The police are also being very supportive in helping to get the ‘Friends Of’ group going and I’m very grateful for their efforts.

If you want to get involved in any way, please let me know and I can pass your details on. This is a great initiative and I’ll be giving it all the support I can.


Acocks Green unemployment falls by 139 in past 3 months

July 18th, 2014 by rogerharmer

Last month, unemployment fell significantly for the third month in a row in Acocks Green. In June the unadjusted claimant count fell by 47 (making a three month fall of 139) to 828, which is 286 down on a year ago. The level of youth claimants was up 1 to 202; hopefully no more than a pause for breath after its recent sharp fall. The number of long term unemployed fell by 13 to 323.

Across Birmingham, the seasonally adjusted claimant count fell by 938 to 37,021, a claimant rate of 7.7%. Across the city the long term claimant numbers fell by 335 and the number of youth claimants fell by 420.

Nationally, the total unemployment levels fell by 121,000 to 2.12m (a rate of 6.5%) in the three months to April. Employment grew by 254,000 in the same three months to 30.64m, a new peak for the economy and 929,000 up on a year ago.

Acocks Green Crime Update

July 17th, 2014 by rogerharmer

I attended the Acocks Green Tier 2 Tasking Meeting this morning, which was chaired by PC Ian Upston.

Total Crime in Acocks Green has fallen by 1.5% year to date. Within this figure burglary fell 2.9%, vehicle crime fell 26.7%, criminal damage fell 3.7%, robbery fell 30.8% and business crime fell 14.2%. All encouraging news.

However, there was a rise in theft (other) – mainly theft of property, such as hanging baskets, garden furniture and ornaments from gardens. Police ask people to be careful with items in gardens and if possible secure them. Even a simple cable tie may well save your hanging basket as the thieves prefer to avoid taking tools with them if they can.

The Dispersal Order in the Stockfield Estate is working well with no incidents reported in recent weeks. The police also continue to give close attention to the Gospel Estate with – as previously reported here - particular attention given to anti social behaviour from users of quad bikes and stolen motorbikes.

House of Play & Education Summer Fun

July 8th, 2014 by rogerharmer

Here are the latest details of the House of Play and Education’s play schemes – lots going on this summer!                                                                       Special_Needs__PlayschemeSummer_Activities_Poster











Strike may delay Thursday’s Rubbish Collection

July 6th, 2014 by rogerharmer

The collection of your refuse – along with street cleansing and other Council services – may be affected by national industrial action on Thursday (10th July).

If Thursday is your normal refuse collection day, the Council ask that you put your rubbish and recycling out as normal. If it is not collected on Thursday, they ask that you leave it out and they promise it will be collected by the end of the weekend.

There is no need to report a missed collection – unless of course it isn’t collected by the end of the weekend.

If your collection day is Friday, your collection should take place as normal.

Action on Quad Bikes in the Gospel Estate

July 2nd, 2014 by rogerharmer
1 Comment

The anti-social use of Quad Bikes has been a problem plaguing areas of Acocks Green, in particular the Gospel Estate, for some time. It causes significant distress and annoyance to a large number of local residents. A couple of weeks ago I met with PC Wallace and PCSO Coxhead for a discussion on how to tackle the problem. It was good to hear the determination of our local police team to get on top of the issue.

They now some positive news to report. They ran a traffic operation on Sunday on the Gospel Estate. This involved two police off road bikes and two traffic cars. They successfully recovered a stolen bike (unfortunately the riders got away) and also a number of fixed penalties were issued to quad bike riders. Following the operation they only had one phone call in relation to antisocial bike riding as opposed to sometimes 6 or 7, so it definitely made a difference in the community.

I have no doubt that further operations will be needed, but it is good to be able to report that action is being taken to address residents’ concerns about this important issue.

Acocks Green Station Lifts Update: Meet the Team Monday 30th June 3.30pm to 6pm

June 24th, 2014 by rogerharmer

Following up my previous post on the construction of the new lifts at Acocks Green Station, as below, the ‘Meet the Team’ session has now been confirmed for 3.30pm to 6pm on Monday 30th June. It will take place in the Booking Hall with representatives from Centro, Network Rail, London Midland and the contractor building the new lifts, J Murphy and Sons. This is a chance to discuss the progress with the lifts project with them and raise any concerns you may have.

If you can’t make the meeting and have any comments, require further information, or wish to contact a member of their team please contact Network Rail on 08457 11 41 41. Please specify that your query relates to Acocks Green station.

Acocks Green Ward Committee Weds 18th June 2014

June 22nd, 2014 by rogerharmer

On Wednesday I attended my first Acocks Green Ward Committee meeting as a member, rather than a member of the public, for a couple of years. The main items discussed were:

1) Trees:  Nick Barton, a tree specialist from Amey, the Council’s contractor, explained their policy regarding the removal of old or diseased street trees. Every street tree is surveyed every 5 years. Acocks Green has just been surveyed and this revealed a total of 51 trees which needed removal (see my post on 5th June). This is from a total of 2,658 street trees in Acocks Green (and 80,000 in Birmingham). They are replaced, in or as close as possible, to the site of the removed tree, with one of 14 varieties of trees. New trees are watered regularly during the growing season for 3 years. I asked for an assurance that, given the large number of trees being removed from Gospel Lane, that these would be replaced in Gospel Lane and this was given.

2) Annual Appointments: These are effectively controlled by the Labour majority on the Committee, so not surprisingly, Stewart Stacey kept his place on the Stockfield Community Association and John O’Shea kept his place on the Acocks Green Business Improvement District Board.

3) Community Chest: Additional grants were allocated as follows:

  • FITCAP – Fox Hollies Football – £3,500 (top up from last allocation)
  • House of Play & Education – Community & Family Worker – £3,528 (top up)
  • Fox Hollies Community Assn – Summer Holiday Play Scheme – £3,000 (deferred from last meeting)
  • Birmingham TUC Centre for the Unemployed – Advice in the Green – £4,050 (new application)
  • Blue Ink Trust – Blue Ink Saturday School – £1,640 – (new application)

4) Planning Applications: The Committee agreed to object to two applications:

  • 2014/03842/PA Outline application, for the erection of 53 dwellings between Knights Road and Tyseley Lane, with the demolition of 23-33 Tyseley Lane and all commercial buildings. We objected on the grounds that there is no provision for public open space in the proposals – a small play area is desperately needed in this area and should be provided as part of the scheme.
  • 2014/04299/PA Application to relax delivery hours to the Lidl Supermarket. These are currently 7.30am to 7pm Mon-Sat, 9.30-4.30 Sun and none on Bank Holidays. They want 6am to 10pm Mon – Sat, 8am to 8pm Sun and Bank Holidays. We suggested a slight relaxation to 7am to 9pm Mon-Sat and 9am to 6pm on Sun and Bank Holidays would be reasonable, but that to go as far a Lidl want would be unacceptable.

5) Date of next meeting: Wednesday 10th September in Acocks Green Library.

Acocks Green Station Lifts Update – Completion Delayed until the Autumn

June 14th, 2014 by rogerharmer
1 Comment

With construction of the new lifts at Acocks Green Station on a seeming go slow, I’ve been in touch with Centro to find out what is going on. They confirm that Network Rail, who are managing the project and Murphys, their contractor, are running behind schedule and completion is not now expected until the autumn. Until recently we were told they would be finished towards the end of the summer.

Centro say the main reason for this is problems in Murphys gaining enough access overnight (when no trains are running) to carry out the piling works and delays in the fabrication of the bridge. They promise to do everything they can to minimise the delays, though I must say I’m not particularly impressed. The design of the bridge and the times when the line is clear of trains must have been known fairly accurately, when the project started. I’ll be keeping a close eye on the continued progress of the project.

Centro will be organising a ‘Meet the Manager’ event at Acocks Green Station, with Network Rail and Murphys. This replaces the meeting that was due to take place in the first week in June. The date is to be confirmed, but is likely to be Monday 30th June, 3-6pm.  I will post again when the date is confirmed.

Unemployment falls further in Acocks Green

June 14th, 2014 by rogerharmer

Unemployment fell significantly in Acocks Green last month. The May unadjusted claimant count fell by 55 (making a two months fall of 92) to 875, the lowest for over 5 years. There was a particularly big fall in youth claimants – down 23 to 201 in the month (making a very welcome two month fall of 38), though the numbers of long term unemployed edged back up by 5 to 336 (leaving them just 2 down on two months ago). While the long term numbers are an area of concern, overall these are excellent figures and continue a trend which has seen a major reduction in our unemployment levels in the past couple of years. Two years ago the claimant unemployment level in Acocks Green was 1,181 – 306 higher than today.

Across Birmingham the seasonally adjusted claimant count fell by 1,102 to 38,092, a claimant rate of 7.9%. While falling, this remains higher than all other major cities in the UK. Across the city the long term claimant numbers fell by 310 and the number of youth claimants fell by 495.

Nationally, the total unemployment levels fell by 161,000 to 2.16m (a rate of 6.6%) in the three months to April. Employment grew by a record 345,000 in the same three months to 30.5m, a new peak for the economy.