The first meeting of the Acocks Green Ward Committee for this municipal year took place this Wednesday (25th July) in Acocks Green Library. The unusually long gap since the last meeting (7 March 2012) – the planned meeting for May was cancelled by the Labour majority on the Committee – led to a long agenda and a struggle to complete the meeting by the scheduled close of 9pm.
As the first meeting of the year, the Committee made appointments to outside bodies. Taking advantage of their new control of the Committee, the two Labour Councillors took both positions available, with Councillor O’Shea taking on membership of the Acocks Green Business Improvement District and Councillor Stacey taking on my old position on the Board of the Stockfield Community Association.
There was a presentation by Les Williams the local Fleet and Waste Management Manager on the Ward Refuse Collection. He fielded questions concerning missed collections and said he was happy for people to contact him directly if there were further problems (you can email him on firstname.lastname@example.org). He pointed out that the green waste collection volumes vary considerably with the weather and after a sunny summer weekend it can be very difficult for the crews to collect all the green bags. However if there are missed collections they always aim to collect the next day. A particular complaint, raised by members of the public and Councillor Bowen, is the cardboard waste left, at the end of the day, by traders in Olton Boulevard East (between Fox Hollies Road and Spring Road). Les promised to look into this issue.
We then had a presentation by the Stockfield Community Association and Acocks Green Baptist Church on their controversial plans to replace the Glynn Edwards Hall with a new build two storey community building on the same site. They argued that a new building is needed to meet user’s needs and make the whole site (including the Baptist Church itself and the Arthur Moore Hall) sustainable for church/community use. While there was some sympathy in the room for this point of view, there was also almost universal discontent with the proposed design for the new building. While the architects argue a bold modern design is best, residents of all political views and none, feel that if a new building is to be built, it should fit in closely with the architectural style of the local area. For example the proposed building has an asymmetrical gable end facing the Yardley Road, and this looks completely out of place with the neighbouring buildings, which are consistently symmetrical in design. Apart from the immediate impact, this could also have a damaging impact on the battle to protect Acocks Green Police Station as once one key local building is replaced by a modern building a precedent is set which will make it harder to protect other key local buildings such as the Police Station. I hope there is a radical re-think on the design and with English Heritage coming out in opposition to the current plans the pressure for a change is certainly increasing.
We then looked at meeting dates for the coming year. These were referred back as they were too close to the proposed Constituency Committee dates.
So we moved on to the next round of Community Chest Projects and the following were approved:
- Acocks Green Gardening Project £2,000
- Summer Reading Scheme £3,000
- Stockfield Youth Programme £1,700
- Gating Scheme £4,500
- Fox Hollies Christmas Lights £3,000 (the Christmas Lights in the Village will now be funded by the BID)
- Special Street Collections £3,413
- Homemeadow House CCTV £4,544
- Tyseley & Greet Employment Resource Centre £2,888
- Learning Together £1,000
- Gospel Oak Green People £975
- St Michael’s Day Centre Equipment £2,670
- Ninestiles Cycling Project £2,560
- Blue Ink Saturday School £850
- Gospel Oak £1,750 (to be matched by Hall Green Ward)
With previous allocations this means that £71,137 of the Revenue Budget (£100k) has been spent and £15,214 of the Capital Budget (£25k) has been spent.
The Committee then looked at other local planning applications and considered the proposal to turn much of East Birmingham into a designated alcohol free zone. Both Councillor Bowen and Stacey agreed that it is better to create alcohol free zones where there are known problems and not on a blanket basis across the whole community. This feedback will be given as the Ward’s response to the consultation exercise on the proposals.
Under ‘Matters of Urgent Local Concern’ it was announced that Acocks Green Library will close for approximately 12 weeks in September (date to be confirmed) while the roof and roof lights are repaired. This is an expensive but vital important project, agreed by the previous Lib Dem / Tory administration, which will help ensure Acocks Green Library is preserved in a good condition for many years to come.
I will post again when I hear the new dates for future meetings of the Ward Committee.
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