Roger Harmer

Liberal Democrat Councillor working for Acocks Green

Unemployment down to 776 in Acocks Green

September 21st, 2014 by rogerharmer

The monthly unadjusted claimant unemployment level in Acocks Green fell by another 24, last month, to 776. This is a rate of 5.9% and represents a fall of 303 over the last year. The number of long term unemployed in the ward now stands at 298 (70 down on the year) and youth unemployment (18-24 year olds) is 193 (95 down on the year). Across Birmingham the unadjusted claimant count is 34,979, which is 922 down on the month and 11,117 down on the year. The seasonally adjusted monthly fall was 1,294 and the rate now stands at 7.2%. While falling, this remains higher than in other cities; for example Nottingham is at 6.3%, Liverpool 6.1%, Leeds 3.8% and Greater London 3.3%. The UK wide figure is 3.0%.

Tackling uncut Basal Growth

September 14th, 2014 by rogerharmer

For some odd reason Amey have failed to cut the basal growth of a number of trees this year. It seems to be the odd one here and there rather than every tree in a road but there are some particularly spectacular – and dangerous examples. Take a look at this one on Leysdown Road:



Its a nasty hazard to pedestrians (especially small children), pets and even cyclists, which will get more dangerous as the nights continue to close in.






Here is another example from Roydon Road:











In all I’ve reported 7 trees to Amey in the Gospel Estate alone, which are badly in need of having their basal growth removed and there may well be more. These are the 7 I’ve reported, but if you know of more, anywhere in Acocks Green Ward, please let me know and I’ll add them to the list for action:

  • Leysdown Road by its junction with Gospel Lane
  • Roydon Road by its junction with Nailstone Crescent
  • o/s 15 Leysdown Road
  • o/s 18 Leysdown Road
  • o/s 182 Tavistock Road
  • o/s 7 Liddon Road
  • o/s 10 Liddon Road.

Vacancy for a Visiting Warden at the Charles Lane Trust

September 13th, 2014 by rogerharmer

There is a vacancy for a Visiting Warden at the Charles Lane Trust (of which I am a Trustee) in Hall Green. The Trust has 12 bungalows for the elderly located at the junction of Fox Hollies Road and School Road. The Visiting Warden needs to be able to work for 10 hours per week (2 hours per day) and is paid at The Living Wage.

Full details including a job description and an application form are available from The Clerk to the Charles Lane Trust email [email protected] or 0121 246 3625.

Acocks Green Ward Committee Weds 10th September 2014

September 13th, 2014 by rogerharmer

Wednesday’s Acocks Green Ward Committee meeting was a relatively well attended event, in part no doubt due to the agenda, but probably also in part due to it being held centrally, in the Library. New attendees included Mushtaq Hussain, who will be the Council’s new Service Lead for Yardley District and Mohammed Irfan who will be looking after Community Chest Applications from now on.

The key agenda items were:

1) An update on the Warwick Road Local Sustainable Transport Funding (LSTF) works. Phil Santos and Jaswant Chahal reported for the Council and Mark Weaver attended on bebalf of Fitzgerald Construction, who have been awarded the contract. Mobilisation of the contract will start on Monday (15th Sept) with the first shovels in the ground likely to be in around mid October and completion by the end of May (depending, in part, on the weather. There will inevitably be disruption, but efforts will be made to minimise it and boards will be put up along the area affected by the works giving emergency numbers to contact if things go wrong. If there are issues you are concerned about, you can also contact me.

2) The Roll out of Wheelie Bins. Kevin Mitchell, Assistant Director of Fleet & Waste Management, gave an update on the roll out of wheelie bins with Noel Delaney from Redfern Road Depot in attendance too. All the homes in the Redfern Road area have now been assessed with 93% assessed as suitable for wheelie bins. Acocks Green’s bins are likely to be delivered in mid to late October with collections starting from them in w/c 24th November. Until then you should keep using the black bag and recycling boxes collection system. A booklet will be delivered with each bin giving more details about the new system, which will include a new collection day for many people.

3) Planning Applications. There weren’t that many controversial planning applications. As noted in my previous post Lidl have had to resubmit their application (which I and the rest of the ward committee and the Acocks Green Focus Group have opposed) to increase their delivery hours due to their cheque with their first application bouncing. Included in the current applications were a note of the discharge of some of the terms and condition with Morrison’s application to build a store on the Spring Road / Shaftmoor Lane site. We wait to see if this is an indication that the  store will be built.

4) Tree on the Green. There was a discussion about Amey’s plans to remove the tree on the Island oppposite the Inn on the Green. They say this is necessary as it is leaning over the road and is therefore a potential hazard to traffic. Many residents are unhappy that a healty landmark tree is to be removed for such reasons. I asked that Nick Brown, Amey’s senior tree officer check the assessment and that the tree is only removed it is a real risk. I am concerned that Amey are being over cautious in their assessments and that it is important that the facts are checked before the tree is taken out. It is also crucial that a replacement tree is planted in the Island. This was agreed by the Ward Committee.

The next meeting of the Ward Committee is on Wednesday 29th October in Acocks Green Baptist Church on Yardley Road.

Lidl’s Planning Application Cheque Bounces!

September 12th, 2014 by rogerharmer

A quick update on the Lidl Planning Application 2014/04299/PA (I’ll write a fuller report on this weeks Acocks Green Ward Committee tomorrow). The application has been resubmitted but its exactly as before and previous comments will stand – see here (item 4). The reason for the resubmission is that the cheque Lidl gave when they submitted their previous application bounced! Red faces all round no doubt. No doubt they have enough money in their bank account this time. I hope the planning officers will take note of the concerns I and many others have expressed and will limit the extension of delivery times to protect the interests of Lidl’s neighbours.

Acocks Green Ward Committee Tonight

September 10th, 2014 by rogerharmer

There is a meeting of the Acocks Green Ward Committee tonight at 7pm at Acocks Green Library. The meeting has the following main issues on the agenda:

1) An update on the Warwick Road Improvements Project. This has already led to work in Acocks Green and the biggest part of the project – major changes to the Warwick Road between Station Road and Woodcock Lane in Acocks Green Village will soon begin. This will be a chance to question senior Transportation officers about the work.

2) Wheelie Bin Roll Out – Kevin Mitchell, Assistant Director from Fleet & Waste Management will attend the meeting to give an update on the roll out of wheelie bins to the areas served by Redfern Road Depot, including Acocks Green.

3) Planning Applications – the usual update on planning applications in the ward.

4) Under any other business there is likely to be a discussion about Amey’s latest tree removal plans which cover 2 trees; one opposite 920 Stockfield Road (for structural integrity) and, controversially, the removal of the tree on the Island in Acocks Green Village opposite the Inn on the Green. For Acocks Green Focus Group’s take on it see here. I am very concerned that Amey are being overzealous in their interpretation of the rules and remain to be convinced that this particular tree needs to be removed.

Friends of Fox Hollies Park Meeting this Wednesday

August 31st, 2014 by rogerharmer

There is a meeting of the new Friends of Fox Hollies Park Group this Wednesday at 7pm in Acocks Green Police Station. The aim of the meeting will be to get the Group set up as viable ongoing organisation. There have been quite a few activities in the Park organised already and if you’d like to help make sure they carry on and develop, it would be great to see you there!

Acocks Green Focus Group’s 10 Year Party

August 27th, 2014 by rogerharmer

Acocks Green Focus Group (of which I am a member) is celebrating its 10th Anniversary with a party at Acocks Green Costa Coffee on Friday 5th September. The Party will run from 5.30pm to 7pm and will include entertainment from Folk Acoustic Duo Annie and Bob James. There is no charge for admission and Costa’s range of coffee and cakes will be on sale as normal.

The Focus Group started with a successful campaign to save the famous grassed traffic island at the heart of Acocks Green Village, when there were proposals to reduce its size to accommodate changes to bus routes. 10 years later and work is about to begin on improvements to the Warwick Road between Station Road and Dolphin Lane – improvements which the Focus Group have been prominent in pushing for, while still challenging the Council on some of the details of the design. Meanwhile we await the (hopefully) formal approval of a key project supported by the Group – the development of a Conservation Area for Acocks Green, which received overwhelming support from residents back in March.

For more details on the Party click here. I hope to see you on the 5th

Unemployment falls to 800 in Acocks Green

August 25th, 2014 by rogerharmer

The latest monthly  unemployment figures in Acocks Green show a fall in the claimant count of 29 to 800. This is down 291 on a year ago and represents a claimant level of 6.1%. Across Birmingham the seasonally adjusted claimant level fell by 744 to 36,201, a rate of 7.5%. Nationally the claimant level now stands at 1,007,500 or 3.1%

Fox Hollies Green Neighbourhood Forum AGM: 6th August

August 10th, 2014 by rogerharmer

The Fox Hollies Green Neighbourhood Forum had it Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 6th August at Oaklands Primary School. There was a good turnout with around 30 members of the community and Acocks Green’s 3 ward councillors attending.

PC Ian Upston gave an update of policing matters. Overall crime has fallen by 0.3% with bigger falls for burglary from dwellings (down 8%) vehicle crime (down 16%) and robbery (down 15%). However burglary other has risen by 4% and, as previously reported, there has been a major spate of thefts from front gardens. There has been an operation to deal with the illegal use of quad bikes and motorbikes in the Gospel Estate / Fox Hollies Park and complaints about them have fallen recently. PC Manley will be taking over responsibility for the Village. Residents raised complaints about men drinking outside the Library and cars speeding on Dolphin Lane. PC Upston said they would look into these concerns.

There was also a very informative presentation from Trading Standards. If you do think you have been sold defective items you can contact them on 0345 4040506. You can read more about their work here

There was also an interesting debate about a number of topical local issues including green waste, wheelie bins and the possible changes to the 1 and 31. Just before the meeting I was sent an email from National Express saying they are actively looking into restoring the 31 to Olton Boulevard East. I expressed caution about this – especially as they haven’t yet replied to a follow up email I sent them asking for clarification on aspects of their email. As soon as I hear more on this matter I’ll post again.