Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Sometimes, it takes a while for mainstream media to pick up on local issues. Acocks Green Labour Party campaign leaflet, 2006

Birmingham Mail, 25 July 2008.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Carnival Time Again

It didn't seem too good this morning, with darkened skies and the rain lashing the windows, but the gloom lifted enough to give us a few hours of sunshine and blue skies. As usual, the Labour Party in Acocks Green turned out to run a small stall and the visitors were quite positive about us and we did a good trade in our games, including a Guess the Weight of the Cake competition.

As today marks the 60th birthday of the National Health Service, my wife produced this doctor's bag laden with equipment and medicine for the stall.

We'd barely set up the stall in the shade of the trees when our first customer hove into view. You know, I'm sure I've met him somewhere else before. Ironic really, that John Hemming's shiny pound will go towards the costs of ejecting him at the next election. His guess, of 2lbs (everybody made their suggestions in imperial measurements) was way out, as the actual weight was just under 2 lb 13 oz and the winner now has her cake.

Appearing in Pravda

By some editing error, it appears that your Acocks Green correspondent has managed to get himself into the council newspaper as a result of the planting work a few weeks back. What was interesting was the number of people who made a point of commenting on the picture while I was at the carnival. It appears that it is also on display in the library. Still, it is good to see the hard work of a number of local residents recognised on a wider scale and I know that the Town Centre Manager, Melinda, has put a fair deal of work into getting this done.
No idea who the bloke standing at the back is. He's not from round these parts.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

New Planning Applications - 9 May 2008

Back to business. The usual crop of applications - mostly private, but with a statutory notification on behalf of T-Mobile and a new pub for the Solihull border.

C/02177/08/FUL - 3 Keats Grove, Acocks Green
Conversion of an existing house into two flats and the addition of single storey side and rear extension. Consultation ends 22 May.

C/02260/08/FUL - 113 Circular Road, Acocks Green
Two storey rear and single storey front extension. Consultation ends 28 May.

C/02495/08/NOT - Stockfield Road, adj Denso Site, Tyseley
14.7m high telecoms mast for T-Mobile with 1 antenna and an equipment cabinet, all close to the road outside the Mecca bingo hall. Consultation ends 29 May. Cleverly, T-Mobile have ensured that this mast is just under the 15m limit for permitted development that doesn't require planning permission. The City Council has 56 days from when they are notified of the development to give their decision. If they don't, then approval is deemed to have been granted automatically.

C/02378/08/FUL - 66 Douglas Road, Acocks Green
A single storey rear extension. Consultation ends 30 May.

C/02256/08/FUL - 42 Dudley Park Road, Acocks Green
Extending existing footway crossing by 1.5m. Consultation ends 29 May.

C/02090/08/FUL - 1293-1295 Warwick Road, Acocks Green
Thisi s a change of use application for the old Majestic wine warehouse down on the Birmingham/Solihull border from retail to a pub with a flat and office space above. Curiously, a pub 200 yards further down the road was demolished and replaced with flats only a few years back. Consultation ends 28 May.

C/01897/08/FUL - 22 Lulworth Road, Hall Green
Single storey rear extension. Consultation ends 28 May.

On all of these, you can comment by emailing Further details on how to comment can be found on this page. Remember that only planning matters can be taken into account when decisions are made. Feel free to copy me in on any comments that you make. Information on planning classes can be found here.

Practical community action

A stunningly hot May Sunday morning in Acocks Green and a few local volunteers - including your author and a recently-elected councillor - turn out to help the new Town Centre manager planting a few new flowers and generally tidying up the centre of the village, despite the heat. There's now a small new flowerbed at the end of the triangle of grass in the middle of the Warwick Road where it leads off from the Green towards Solihull. The photo shows the work in progress, with the backbreaking lifting of the turf complete. There's no point in just talking about work in the community if you aren't prepared to put some hours in on the practical side.
If anyone fancies lending their muscle to next week's outing, gather outside Acocks Green Library at 10am on Sunday 18 May.

Friday, May 02, 2008

We tried

Sorry to all those of you who worked alongside me on the campaign. We fought a good fight, but taking on the Liberals this deep into their turf remains a challenge. However, oppose we must.

So thanks to everyone - all of those who voted for me and those who worked with me.

Tomorrow is another day.

Roger Harmer LD 2743
John O'Shea Lab 1125

Majority 1618.

I wish Roger all the best, but Labour in Acocks Green and Yardley will continue to challenge and oppose the Liberal/Conservative alliance that is not working for our area.

Thanks again.

Friday, April 25, 2008

New Planning Applications - 25 April 2007

C/02196/08/FUL - 83 Pool Farm Road
Erection of single storey side/rear extension to private home. Consultation ends 14 May.

C/02086/08/FUL - 49-51 Shirley Road, Acocks Green
Change of use of office to day care centre for adults with learning disabilities, access ramps and new car parking. This is just beside the newish blocks of flats on Shirley Road. The company, Knightsbridge Care Services, already have offices on Warwick Road and provide care for adults with a range of medical and learning-related conditions. The maximum capacity will be 40 users - planned to be from the local area - and up to 7 staff during weekdays, with the potential to open on Saturdays if the need arises. Consultation ends 16 May.

On all of these, you can comment by emailing Further details on how to comment can be found on this page. Remember that only planning matters can be taken into account when decisions are made. Feel free to copy me in on any comments that you make. Information on planning classes can be found here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Woodcock Lane - Flogging the Green Space

Woodcock Lane used to have a little patch of grass and trees by Warwick Road – much loved by elderly residents. I wrote about it first back in November last year on the other place.

The patch isn't big, but it has a little historical significance, as part of the avenue of trees leading up to Acocks Green House. The first picture shows it as it was last year. For a number of years, it has been open land, used by local residents as a public space - right beside it are a couple of blocks of flats and some low-rise housing, full of elderly residents, who valued that little amenity. Given that, you would think that the City Council - keen to encourage use of open space and to secure the future of a tiny part of the green lungs of our city - would carry out a little light landscaping so that residents might enjoy it even more.You would, of course, be wrong to think that, as our masters have decreed that all surplus land should be sold and that this parcel is surplus to their, if not our, requirements. Accordingly, a neighbour has bought the land and, after an attempt to fell the trees (stopped by Preservation Orders being slapped on them), he has now fenced the area off.

Way back in 2004, the Liberal Democrats promised to preserve green space in their manifesto.

Yet another promise broken.

Oh, incidentally, a far-right party has been shouting about this little bit of space. They've even claimed that the owner wants to erect a radio mast on the site to operate a radio station, which is complete rubbish. Just for the record, the local councillors helped local residents to slap tree preservation orders on the newly enclosed trees and I lodged a complaint with planning regarding the oversized fence.

Overheard on the campaign trail

Somewhere in Birmingham....

Local resident points out some on-street drug dealing to a Liberal Democrat councillor.

The response?
"Well, that's just the way it is, isn't it?"

Not so much soft on crime as feckless.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

All stop for pedestrian crossings?

Residents around Gospel Lane are furious that the pedestrian crossing promised for that busy road hasn’t appeared – even though it was due to be installed last year and agreement has apparently been obtained from Solihull Council.

The only good news is that further traffic calming has been agreed for Gospel Lane.

The Liberals claim that a new crossing will shortly be installed in another deserving location on Fox Hollies Road in May or June. Residents are worried that this is just another pre-election promise from the Liberals that will be forgotten after May 1st.

Swimming drying up

Last year, I warned that cuts were on the way to Fox Hollies Leisure Centre – the Liberal councillors cut back opening hours at weekends and closed the centre on Bank Holidays, just the time to take your kids swimming.

So much for the 2004 manifesto promise from the Liberals to expand swimming opportunities.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

£200,000 of broken promises

Red-faced Liberal councillors have admitted that Acocks Green will not receive £200,000 funding that they promised.

As part of the ‘dash for cash’ sell-off of council property, the former Churchill Club on the Warwick Road was sold. A local community group wanted to buy it, but were outbid by developers. Under pressure from residents, councillors promised that a quarter of the money raised would be ploughed back into Acocks Green, a promise extracted while the late Ken Hardeman was in charge of regeneration.

Now they admit that they will not keep their promise - even though another Liberal councillor masterminds the massive sell-off of council property across the city.

That £200,000 could have paid for desperately needed street lighting, additional graffiti cleaning or better youth services. Instead, it has been used elsewhere in the City – even as the councillors agreed big cuts in opening hours at Fox Hollies. Yet again, we’ve lost out because of these useless councillors.

New Planning Applications - 19 April

C/01913/08/FUL - 190a School Road, Hall Green
Change of use from retail (class use A1 - shops) to restaurant (class use A3 - restaurants/cafes). This lies within the School Road Conservation Area. Consultation ends on the 14 May.

C/01860/08/FUL - 1193-1199 Warwick Road
This is for the demolition of the old C&D Autos building and replacement with two shop units and two flats above, with car parking on the forecourt beside the estate agents - which will not be affected. Consultation ends on the 14 May.

C/01768/08/FUL - 7 The Mews, St Marys Close
Erection of disabled vehicle store to side of property. Consultation ends 9 May.

On all of these, you can comment by emailing Further details on how to comment can be found on this page. Remember that only planning matters can be taken into account when decisions are made. Feel free to copy me in on any comments that you make. Information on planning classes can be found here.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Even though the Liberal Democrat/Conservative council has slashed spending on our crumbling roads - leaving just £17,500 for each ward to spend on repairs and maintenance this year, it is good to see that they have managed to decorate Acocks Green with fresh double-yellow lines.

For the past four years, they've failed to progress a multi-billion pound Labour government initiative that would update every road, pavement and street light in the City.

Long time no post

Thing is, I have another blog, which is more of a political comment site than this. I intend to continue this site to cover issues specific to Acocks Green and Yardley. Sorry if I haven't posted as much as I should have here, but there's plenty to read over at PoliticalHackUK.