Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What Happened at the Ladywood Ward Committee

Sorry I've not posted anything for a while - I've had a touch of 'man flu'. Back in business now...

The Ladywood Ward Committee took place about a week and a half ago. Cllr Albert Bore even stayed for the first 45 minutes! Here's what happened.

The News Team's Swimming Pool Presentation

This was a well constructed combination of reportage and archive footage. It was particularly interesting to see the demolition of the Monument Road baths, over which the old Labour council presided.

Neighbourhood Policing in Central Ladywood and Summerfield

Presentation by Sgt Des Lambert. The main purpose of neighbourhood policing is community engagement, and to this end the police work with the Council, the Housing department and so on.

Sgt Lambert warned us about a recent spate of bag snatching on roads such as Gilby Road - thieves target this area in the hope that people have just visited cash machines on Broad St.

He also told us about a recent survey that the police have distributed. If you received it, please fill it in - you can return it for free.

The whole of Ladywood Ward is now an alchohol exclusion zone! This means that if you see anyone drinking in public anywhere in the Ward (including all of the City Centre), they are committing an offence.

Environmental Wardens in Ladywood Ward

Environmental Wardens patrol the Ward, looking for litter, graffiti and other similar problems. They also perform an education function and have enforcement powers.

Cllr Hartley piped up and announced that Ladywood has been judged the cleanest Ward in Birmingham! Er, really? Tell that to the people that contact me about rats around Ladywood Middleway!

You can contact the Wardens on 0845 113 500.

I raised one of my pet issues, that of noise. I consider noise to be an environmental crime, but it doesn't appear to be a priority for the Environmental Wardens, which I found a bit disappointing.

Grant Approvals

Various grants were approved, including the one for the City Centre Neighbourhood Forum (of which I am a Committee Member).

Coach Parking in the City Centre

This is a problem whenever the ICC has a major event on. This has been significantly improved since the police started threatening coach drivers with penalty points. Well done!

Friday, March 16, 2007


  • There are 16,219 voters in Ladywood ward.
  • The ward's Labour councillors were elected with about 1,300-1,600 votes.
  • That means that out of all the voters, only about 10% voted for them.
  • If only 11% vote for someone else (like me), that person wins instead.

Pretty simple!

P.S. I do wish that more people voted...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Friends of Edgbaston Reservoir AGM

Edgbaston Reservoir and the surrounding roads are within Ladywood ward. The Friends of Edgbaston Reservoir is an organisation that tries to preserve the character of this jewel in the crown of central Birmingham - they have been at the forefront of the opposition of the proposed Tower Ballroom redevelopment for example.

None of the Ladywood Labour ward councillors attended the meeting. I don't know why. You'll have to ask them...

Nick Bird from ISIS was first up. ISIS is a sort of development corporation part-owned by British Waterways. They control all 28 acres of land inside Icknield Port Loop, which is a canal loop adjacent to the Reservoir.

This whole area is ripe for redevelopment, alongside adjoining land owned by Advantage West Midlands (a development corporation funded by central government) and Birmingham City Council. All these organisations apparently co-ordinate activities in something called the 'Landowners' Forum'. I must admit that this was the first time I'd heard of this body. Nick said that the Forum 'could work better', which set a few alarm bells ringing. I must find out more about it, and who from the Council participates. It is absolutely imperative that the area is redeveloped as a contiguous area - we should aim for a situation where it's almost irrelevant which 'player' owns which bit of land. All of them have a public service remit after all.

ISIS's bit will be a mixed-use, housing-led development. A figure of 1000 residential units was mentioned. 1000 units? How are all the inevitable cars going to get in, park, and get out again? This needs some serious thought. Nick mentioned that a 'car club' might help - something that's been tried in New York. Perhaps.

ISIS is doing a bus tour of the area showing people their ideas. Sadly I couldn't find the timetable on their website, so all I can say is to look out for it!

I thought that ISIS were good to come to the meeting, but the whole thing is lacking detail at present. In particular, architectural style and housing mix have a huge influence on how an area 'performs'. We need to avoid 1000 identical, boring, grey flats built on the site. Similarly, we need to avoid wacky designs - the kind of buildings that architects build just to impress other architects. Nick gave some assurances that the development won't be 'another tentacle of city living'. However, we all know that 'pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap' often appeals...

The remainder of the meeting involved discussions around the Tower Ballroom site and Harborne Walkway (a disused railway track bed now popular with walkers). I won't go into too much detail on the discussions as I think it's only fair to wait until the FER has published their meeting minutes.

All in all, a very worthwhile evening. Thanks to St Augustine's Church for hosting the meeting in their hall, and to TNT News for filming it.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ladywood Ward Committee, Tues 20/03/2007

The next Ladywood Ward Committee will take place as follows:

  • 7pm, Tuesday 20th March 2007
  • The Boughton Hall, Ladywood Community & Health Centre, St. Vincent Street West, B16 8RP (http://tinyurl.com/36eftl)

Topics will include:

  • Neighbourhood Policing in central Ladywood / Summerfield
  • Report from the Environmental Wardens
  • Televised report of the Ward Committee meeting on 10 February 2007 relating to the development of Icknield Port Loop

Download a poster for the meeting.

Hope to see you there!

UPDATE 14/03/2007: Agenda just published. You can read it here: http://tinyurl.com/3xadyt

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Recent round-up

I've been busy this last week or so:

Thursday 22nd February saw the
City Branch AGM. We have a brand spanking new committee, full of ideas and enthusiasm, all determined to make the Branch the place to be for Birmingham's graduates, city centre workers and anyone else who wants to join.

On Thursday 1st March, a load of us from City Branch attended
Birmingham University Conservative Future's drinks event at the Mailbox. The event was very well attended, with guests including Caroline Spelman, MP for Meriden and Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Richard Shepherd MP and our very own Cllr Deirdre Alden, Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for Birmingham Edgbaston. My memory of the evening gets a little hazy towards the end, but I do remember winning a bottle of wine in a raffle I must have entered.

Yesterday saw a record attendance at my canvassing/surveying event in Ladywood ward. We got a lot done - still a lot to do, but hopefully you'll see me or one of my friends before the election on Thursday 3rd May.

After that, we scooted over to Quinton to do some canvassing for Cllr Len Clark, a long-standing and popular local Councillor, who I'm sure is set for victory in May.