Friday, October 27, 2006

What happened at the City Centre Neighbourhood Forum Public Meeting

The City Centre Neighbourhood Forum Public Meeting was on Monday 23rd at the Council House. It was quite well attended considering it was a cold night in late October - a quick show of hands told us that the leafleting we did was the main reason people attended.

Chief Superintendent Debbie Harrod, who is in charge of city centre policing. Main points:
  • 96.1% of city centre visitors feel safe.
  • Priorities are violent crime, business crime and retail crime.
  • The local police are currently moving to the neighbourhood policing model.
  • The police have a long-standing policy of never responding to building or car alarms - if you want them to attend, you'll need to describe a crime.
  • They have an 'architectural liaison officer' to ensure that new developments are built with security (e.g. CCTV) in mind.

I asked the Chief Superintendent whether she was confident the police know where everyone lives, which is obviously important if we need to evacuate again. She replied that she was not confident and that you should contact the police on their non-emergency number 0845 113 5000 if you wish to make sure. I do wonder whether there should be a more proactive approach from the police on this one...

Lots of interesting questions from people, although probably too many on specific incidents, which of course the Chief Superintendent found it hard to comment on.

Phil Brook, recycling officer for Birmingham City Council. Main points:

  • Each Birmingham household produces an average of 3/4 ton of domestic waste each year!
  • Birmingham's recycling performance is 'about average' when compared with other large metropolitan areas.
  • Last year's 18% target was almost hit.
  • Next year's 20% target should be hit.
  • This is against a background of waste production increasing by 2-3% per year.
  • Some of Birmingham's paper-based waste goes to a local cardboard mill - this is more tolerant of paper types than paper mills.
  • At present, only 1/4 of households receive a recycling collection.

Some interesting questions and answers again - possibly too much technical information though. Phil asked all of us to contact his office to arrange recycling collections for our buildings (currently almost no-one has one). Phil can be contacted on 303 1935. I suggested that someone in the Council should sit down with the Yellow Pages and phone all the management companies - there can't be that many!

Bob Blackaby spoke last (and briefly) on a new survey for city centre residents. I remember doing one about five years ago when I moved in from Selly Oak. He will be surveying about 12,000 properties and was looking for suggestions for survey questions. I made the point that the main three issues people talk to me about are (a) noise (b) planning (c) car parking and these should be reflected in the survey.

That's all for now...

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