Roger Harmer

Liberal Democrat Councillor working for Acocks Green

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.


Tackling Dumped Green Waste in Acocks Green

August 6th, 2014 by rogerharmer
1 Comment

As you will no doubt be aware the decision by the Council to stop free collections of green waste has led to piles of dumped rubbish across Acocks Green Ward – and many other parts of Birmingham. The Lib Dems have constantly argued that it was a mistake to cancel this service, however the Labour majority on the Council, including Acocks Green’s two Labour Councillors, have steadfastly voted down our proposals to retain the service.

Rather than collect bags of green waste, the Council now stickers rubbish with notices telling people that green waste will not be collected and they need to either pay for a green waste wheelie bin, take it to the dump or compost it. Most residents have complied with this but some haven’t and we are left with unsightly piles of rubbish across our community. These piles of rubbish are particularly annoying to the majority who have dealt with their green waste responsibly, as they are now both doing this and having to put up with green waste littering our streets.

The problem is made worse by the piles of green waste being added to with other dumped rubbish, leading to some huge mounds of mixed rubbish.

As I have said, I strongly disagree with the policy. However, having implemented it, I can understand that the Council will not immediately pick up any dumped green waste and will try first to get people to remove it themselves. However it is completely unacceptable that, if this fails, and the rubbish remains, that it is just left there, almost inevitably gathering more rubbish. I therefore report all such piles that I see or am told about to the Council and ask them to remove them. This can be a painfully slow process – and it seems to take longer in some of our Council estates. However I will keep at it until it is done. I have therefore decided to start compiling a public list of all these piles and will keep nagging the Council to remove them until they go. Hopefully this will pressurise the Council into removing our worst and longest standing rubbish piles faster.

Please let me know of the waste piles in your neighbourhood (and if you have already reported them to the Council when you did this) and I will add them to my list. I will note when they are reported  and when they are removed.

Location                                                             First Reported  When Removed

o/s 351-365 Gospel Lane                                      3rd June

o/s 7 Leysdown Road                                            3rd June

o/s 31 Leysdown Road                                          3rd June

o/s 83 Tibland Road                                              16th June

Island in Central Grove                                         18th June         By 11th July

Various locations in Dolphin Lane                         19th June         Some moved

Opposite 49 Fox Hollies Road                                22nd June        18th July

Locations in Shirley Road                                      24th June         4th August

o/s 268 Olton Boulevard West                              30th July

Olton Boulevard West (opposite Matlock Rd)          30th July

Opposite 243 Olton Boulevard West                      30th July

Opposite 293 Olton Boulevard West                      1st August

Junction of Tyseley Lane and Knights Road            5th August

o/s 3 Pool Farm Road                                            6th August       by 22nd August

Wetherby Rd, by junction with Circular Rd             8th August

Junction of Nailstone Crescent & Liddon Grove       9th August

Bretton Road at Olton Boulevard East junction       9th August

Liddon Road at junction with Tavistock Road          9th August

Junction of Ladbroke Grove & Tavistock Road         10th August

o/s 149 Pool Farm Road                                        10th August

o/s 173 Pool Farm Road                                        10th August

Yarnfield Road, by junction with Walden Road        10th August        14th August

Top of Lakefield Close                                            22nd August

Central Reservation by 86 Olton Bvd East              22nd August

Bretton Rd: 3 piles between Wildfell Rd & OB East  23rd August

I know there are many many more piles – please let me know about them and I’ll add them to the list and keep chasing the Council until they are cleared.

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.