Resident News in Goosemoor Lane, Erdington UK

(Geocities is ceasing it's hosting service by the end of October 2009 and this is the still the correct url until then, the Beta-version of this page is below though. That will be the correct page from the end of October)

www.goosemoor-lane.com/news.htm

Goosemoor Lane News
(Unofficial news for Goosemoor Lane, Short Heath, Erdington, Birmingham, B23, United Kingdom)

Monday 12th October 2009 Edition

Crime Links
History E-Group
House Sales Discussions
Glossary Games/Fun
Home Page  

Leopard Pub Seems To Have Opened Again!
Junction of Jerrys Lane and Flackwell Road. Has been there decades. Was boarded up, now it isn't again. So might've just been a change of management. If anyone knows I'd be grateful.

The Games Page exists for local recreational facilities to add their events (free of charge), I'll see if The Leopard want to add theirs.

Staff Bull Terrier Dog Wandering Around Top Croft
A brown and white Staffordshire Bull Terrier dog (or a similar pitbull type of dog) was hanging around alone at the back of the 2 tower blocks on Baldmoor Lake Road. Friday 9/10/2009 around 3pm.

It seemed lost but was growling at passers-by. Dog Wardens were called but came out on Saturday, don't know what the outcome was.

7 Bus - Upcoming Terminus Changes At The City Centre End
From Sunday 25/10/2009 - City Centre terminus changed to Colmore Row (from Upper Bull Street), with route out of City amended.

www.travelwm.co.uk

The MP's Expenses Scandal Rears It's Head Again
I'll be detailing here later whatever occurs with our own MP, Sion Simon, if the Standards Body decides he has a case to answer. That said, I hereby also offer him an unedited right of reply, HERE on this page, EXACTLY as prominent as this part of the site stating this, it won't be hidden away should he choose to respond.

That will be his chance to explain to YOU his constituents what has gone on.

He's not obliged to reply to this website of course, and may do so ONLY on his own website;

www.sionsimonmp.org

But that offer stands. Decide for yourselves what you think if he ignores this chance to reply prominently and unedited here to his constituents on this matter of major public concern (which so far he has refused to do here ever since the scandal came out earlier in the year).

TV Shows To Look Out For This Week;

  Channel Time Synopsis
Saturday      
The Crusades History 2pm/11pm The attempts to gain The Holy Land
Ukraine v England Online only 4.45pm www.ukrainevengland.com

www.myp2p.eu

Joe Aldred Radio WM 8pm West Midlands Afro-Caribbean communities
3 Lives Of Gandhi BBC 2 8.20pm 3 part series on Mahatma Gandhi
Micro Men BBC 4 10pm 1980's Sinclair/Curry rivalry with UK computers
When Boris Met Dave More 4 10pm/1.40am Comedy-drama, David Cameron at university!
Marijuana Inc CNBC 11pm It's global use
Night Cops Sky 1 0.00am Cameras follow police
Sunday      
World Half-Marathon Championship Sky Sports 2 8.30am From Birmingham - look out for volunteer me!
The Big Questions BBC 1 10am Moral and topical debates
The Politics Show BBC 1 12pm Local and national issues
Points Of View BBC 1 4.55pm Viewer's opinions of BBC TV
African Voices CNN 5pm Tales from that continent
Songs Of Praise BBC 1 5.10pm Christian worship
Tarrant Lets The Kids Loose Watch 6pm Kids do adult jobs!
Game Face Bravo 2 8pm Video gaming news
Horse Of The Year Show Sky Sports 2 8pm Showjumping from the NEC in Birmingham
Ginx Files Bravo 2 8.30pm Video gaming news
BNP Wives Sky 3 9pm Women who work for the Fascists
White Men Can't Jump E4 10pm 1992 US Racial comedy
The Building Inspector Is Coming More 4 10pm/1.30am The Birmingham City Council one
Eco Solutions CNN 10.30pm Green show
Inside Africa CNN 11.30pm Tales from that continent
Your News News 24 11.30pm Viewer's news stories [email protected]
The Other Side ITV 1 0.10am Moral debates
Night Cops Sky 1 1.05am Cameras follow police
Tonight ITV 1 2.50am Winning the Lottery - dream or nightmare?
Monday      
Inside Story BBC 1 7.30pm Midland reports - this week Ladywood
Tonight ITV 1 8pm Afghanistan troop equipment
The Gadget Show Channel 5 8pm New gadgets
The Enemy Within Channel 4 8pm Comparing Victorian anarchists and UK Moslems
Panorama BBC 1 8.30pm Why hate Ryan Air?
UK Border Force Sky 1 9pm Cameras follow Customs Officers
The Podfather BBC 4 9.30pm Silicon chip inventor Robert Noyce
Micro Men BBC 4 10pm 1980's Sinclair/Curry rivalry with UK computers
Football Behind Bars Sky 1 11pm Ian Wright works with young offenders
Watchdog BBC 1 2.050am Consumer show
Tuesday      
The Force Channel 4 8pm Cameras follow Hampshire Police
Horizon BBC 2 9pm How Much Should I Drink?
Electric Dreams BBC 4 9pm/1am A family go without modern technology
Whale Wars Discovery 10pm/1am www.seashepherd.org
Dishing The Dirt ITV 1 10.35pm Hygiene in UK restaurants
Wednesday      
Liverpool v Aston Villa 2007-8 Espn (not classic) 12.30pm Old game
Game Face Bravo 2 6pm Video gaming news
Ginx Files Bravo 2 6.30pm Video gaming news
Prescott - North/South Divide BBC 2 9pm Yawn
When Boris Met Dave More 4 9pm/0.40am Comedy-drama, David Cameron at university!
The Secret Millionaire Channel 4 9pm Community projects are judged
Dragon's Den On Tour BBC 2 9.30pm Budding entrepreneurs
Road Wars Sky 3 10pm Cameras follow police
Generation Kill Channel 4 11.20pm Iraq War drama series
Nightwatch - Action Stations ITV 1 11.45pm The RAF in Afghanistan
Tonight ITV 1 3.20am Afghanistan troop equipment
Thursday      
Watchdog BBC 1 8pm Consumer show
Electric Dreams BBC 4 8pm A family go without modern technology
Location Location Location Channel 4 8pm Housing show
Cutting Edge - The Red Lion Channel 4 9pm The alcohol issue in the country
Vice Squad Channel 5 9pm Cameras follow police
Margaret Thatcher - The Long Walk To Finchley BBC 4 10pm/1.25am Biopic
Prescott - North/South Divide BBC 2 11.20pm Yawn
The Lobby ITV 1 11.35pm Midland politics
Panorama BBC 1 0.25am Why hate Ryan Air?
Friday      
Unreported World Channel 4 7.35pm The child rape crisis in Liberia
Tonight ITV 1 8pm Thrifty Ways For Modern Days
Brighton Beach Patrol Channel 5 8pm Cameras follow police
Newswatch BBC News 24 8.45pm Examination of BBC News coverage
Rude Tube Channel 4 9pm Internet videos
Daily, Mon-Fri, Sat-Sun etc      
A Very British Coup Yesterday 8pm The Establishment try to force out a Labour PM
The One Show BBC 1 7pm Updated version of Nationwide
The Box BBC News 24 various Exploring globalisation www.bbc.co.uk/thebox
Nightwatch ITV 1 0.00am Cameras follow police
Learning Zone BBC 2 0.00am www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone
Community Channel - - www.communitychannel.org
4 Learning Channel 4 0.00am www.channel4.com/4learning
Central News ITV 1 6pm www.itv.com/central
Midlands Today BBC 1 6.30pm www.bbc.co.uk/birmingham
BBC Local TV - - www.bbc.co.uk/localtv
UK TV Style - - http://uktv.co.uk/style
UK TV Gardens - - http://uktv.co.uk/gardens

(See Games Page for more community broadcasters' details. Community text pages are BBC 2 page 650 onwards).

Station Road Bridge Overgrowth
With Autumn coming this might not be a problem, however clinging-ivy is already all over and thing and growing further, might become a traffic hazard impairing visibility etc by hanging down off it into the road. Is already beginning to happen.

Ok, so it's not exactly like in Dr Terror's House of  Horrors, but needs keeping an eye on if nothing else - such stuff does grow quick too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Terror's_House_of_Horrors

Floods In The Philippines - Samoan Tsunami etc
Various natural disasters in several parts of the world have just occurred and have been widely reported in the media, here is the main aid/relief website;

www.dec.org.uk

Bus Drivers Urinating By The Spinney At The 7/65 Terminus
Probably caused by the fact there are no public toilets anymore, and Winter is coming so this will get worse! There's some pub or garage facility etc along the 2 routes which drivers can be arranged to use?

Here's the complaint;

www.fixmystreet.com/report/75458

Tree In Park Collapses
So a lucky escape here, has fallen over in a little used part of Short Heath Park - at the rear of the electricity substation on Court Lane, the corner by the car-park.

I do report trees in the Park that are obviously a danger, difficult to check each tree for sure though since there are so many and with some it isn't obvious.

Conkers Are Now On The Ground
That time of year again - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conkers

Leaves Will Fall Off The Trees Soon
That time of year again, the Council do send a truck round to gather them all. Not until most or all have fallen though.

Clocks Will Change Soon - Back 1 Hour
That time of year soon - Sunday morning 25/10/2009.

http://wwp.britishsummertime.co.uk

(So we'll have female commuters and kids taking part in after-school activities with no choice but to come home in the dark. Lots of street lamp issues in the area have not yet been resolved - e.g. lots are covered by trees and bushes etc. I'll raise all those again soon - they do all need sorting out and there are quite a few that still haven't been sorted out).

Intended Pavement Repairs Have Been Marked
Goosemoor Lane and Court Lane have lots of orange markings markings on the pavements where repairs are to take place.

Planned Fence Around Short Heath Park - Update
From Erdington Conservatives;

"Residents decided at a ratio of 2-1 for two exits on Goosemoor Lane and almost everyone agreed to the path from the Topcroft Estate to be tarmacked Planning approval is now required ....... it could take 8 weeks for approval to be given. Following this the fence can take up to 8 weeks to be delivered ..... So it could be that the new fence around the park will not be installed until January. Once again we have stressed how we do not think this time frame is acceptable and are doing all we can to speed it up."

Cllr Gareth Compton [email protected]
Cllr Robert Alden [email protected]
Cllr Bob Beauchamp [email protected]

Birmingham Flat Blaze Man Dies After Being Rescued
From Birmingham Mail website at www.birminghammail.net

`A MAN died after a flat fire in Birmingham, despite attempts by paramedics and doctors to save him. Firefighters carried him from a second-floor flat of a four-storey block, at Swan Gardens, in Erdington, at about 4pm yesterday. Sep 23 2009.

The man was taken to Good Hope Hospital, Sutton Coldfield, where he later died. West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: The man was brought out of the building by firefighters and we immediately started advanced life support.

He was then taken on blue lights to Good Hope Hospital but was sadly confirmed dead shortly after arrival.

Today, fire investigators were probing the cause of the blaze.'

http://firekills.direct.gov.uk

Belisha Beacon Out
The one on the zebra-crossing at the Gravelly Lane junction - reported.

Plan To Resurrect Erdington Church
From Sutton Observer website at www.thisissuttoncoldfield.co.uk

`PARISHIONERS of St Barnabas Church in Erdington are preparing to walk the parish boundary to mark the two-year anniversary since the historic church was destroyed by arsonists.

Starting out at 2pm on Sunday, October 4, walkers will set off to follow the route from the Lychgate at the fire-ravaged High Street church.

They will then walk to Erdington Station, along Gravelly Lane, Chester Road, cutting across Pype Hayes park, returning to Chester Road, Grange Road, Holly Lane, Kingsbury Road, Huntton Hill, Highcroft Road, Reservoir Road, Chudleigh Road, onto Marsh Lane, Station Road, and back to St Barnabas Church. As they travel the 7-and-a-half mile route, walkers will be collecting donations towards the rebuilding of the church.

Organiser Steve Willetts said: "St Barnabas travelled great distances as part of his ministry, so a fundraising walk to rebuild a church named after him is very fitting."

The church was ravaged by fire almost two years to the day, and plans for the new building are nearly finalised.

A parish garden party to support the walkers will also be held on the same day from 3pm until 5pm at the vicarage on Church Road, to which everyone is welcome to attend and show their support.

For details email [email protected]'

Pot Hole - Station Road
At the Wesley Road junction, insulated wiring is exposed - either from street lamps or traffic lights. Reported.

Found Cat - Orphanage Road
Little black cat found - 0121 377 7899

Holes On Pavement Outside 58 Goosemoor Lane And At The Amber Court Junction
Both fixed now. Amber Court has only been in existence 5 minutes, so holes in it's pavement already suggest slip-shod building work. The Council should ascertain the standard of initial work done by the developer before agreeing upkeep of it's road and pavement at public expense.

Grass Cut - Back Of The Woodyard
This green area has had it's grass cut, the drainage is still rubbish though.

Cat Found - Sycamore Road
Tel. 07958 175 734.

Overgrown Tree Base - Goosemoor Lane
A tree has overgrown at it's base by the new development on the old Rose And Crown carpark. The bushes block the view of motorists leaving the apartment complex carpark. Reported for pruning.

Community Group Seek Volunteers To Help With Duck Watch - Witton Lakes
From The Sutton Observer website at
www.thisissuttoncoldfield.co.uk

`A caring community group in Perry Common is looking for volunteers to help stop water birds being killed and nests being destroyed at an urban beauty spot.

The newly-formed Friends of Witton Lakes is seeking new members to assist with a number of initiatives at the site between Perry Common and Wyrley Birch, starting with a 'Duckling Watch'.

Their aim is to enhance the natural habitats formed at the lakes, which were previously drinking water reservoirs.

The new watch, which runs from February to September, aims to patrol Witton Lakes in a figure of eight route to provide a visible presence to deter those who either inadvertently or deliberately endanger the water birds.

The watch members will wear high visibility waistcoats with the 'Duckling Watch' logo and will be armed with cameras to record any environmental crime.

Deputy chair of the Friends of Witton Lakes, Linda Hines MBE, said: "It is a crime when one swan is killed and this is a way the residents can do something for themselves.

"The frequency of the watch will depend on how many volunteers we have."

The friends group hopes to get more islands built to attract more birds to the lakes.

Park manager John Biddle said a lot of people were upset when nests were destroyed and he welcomed the new scheme.

"It is difficult to have a 24-hour presence on the site," he said.

"Sometimes nests are destroyed naturally by things such as fox attacks, sometimes it is people's ignorance.

"We welcome the initiative. It is good for the park, it is good for the wildlife."

The Friends of Witton Lakes are seeking new members to help with their Duckling Watch initiative.'

Email - [email protected]

Flying Ants In The Area
We had a swarm on Wednesday 5/8/2009. They are harmless but annoying maybe. Part of wider national swarming that's been occurring. See here for a fuller picture;

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7525028.stm

The nuisance gnats on Dean Road and Johnson Road are similar, a nuisance but harmless. The Dean Road and Jonhson Road trees were pruned in response to a complaint about gnats there;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnat

Cat Wars
Our furry friends are currently at it too, madly chasing each other about - some are running into the road without even looking! So be aware of that if driving around the area, they are someone's pet AND could damage your car if you hit one.

Mysterious Iron "Drain" At The Spinney
All the recent rain has unearthed some puzzling iron thing on the floor by The Spinney. If you stand at the 7/65 to-city bus-stop, there's a grass verge of course. About 5 yards from the Cable box, part of the verge has sunk. An iron grated drain is actually there you can now see - was hidden under the verge.

Unclear how stable that area now is, the iron-grate has holes large enough for (children's) feet to become stuck in (kids do play on that verge - often when waiting for a bus - they could fall onto it too as it's presence is still not that obvious), and it's unclear what it's original purpose was or is - the pit below it MIGHT be deep, that's unclear too.

I've contacted the Council, so they can get to the bottom of it - excuse the pun.

Court Lane Speed Indicator Installed
Wasn't aware there was a problem there, but an electronic speed indicator has been placed on Court Lane near the Jerrys Lane junction. For traffic heading towards Short Heath Road.

From Erdington Conservatives;

"Local Conservative Councillors ....... have been campaigning against speeding traffic on Court Lane."

Recent Street-Lamp News
Lamps 3 and 44 Gravelly Lane are out, reported.

Lamp 11 Kirkwood Avenue was out, fixed.

Lamp out by the bridge by Summer Road, reported.

Lamp 17 Littlecote Drive obscured by bush, reported.

Lamp 6 Gravelly Lane out (by the Mona Road junction), reported.

Lamp 2 Station Road baseplate off (by the High Street junction), fixed.

Lamp 17 Baldmoor Lake Road dayburns, reported.

Lamp 39 Short Heath Road is out (bottom of Court Lane near the junction), reported.

Lamp 1 Rutherford Road is out or coming on late - reported.

Lamp PAA1 (or something) at the side of the South Block on Top Croft - is missing it's head!

In the alley between Knipersley Road (off Chester Road) and Bretby Grove, one of the new lamps was presumably being used by burglars to climb into adjacent properties! That lamp has iron spikes fitted to it now.

Lamp 12 Court Lane still obscured by bushy tree (by the Greyhound) - already reported.

At the bottom of Court Lane between Short Heath Road and Marsh Lane is an alley with a lamp obscured by shrubbery etc. Reported.

Lamp 26 Court Lane (between the Witton Lodge Road and Jerrys Lane junction and on that side) obscured by a bushy tree - reported for pruning. Some genius put lamps and trees adjacent all along Court Lane.

Lamp S5 Goosemoor Lane STILL out (in the alley at the back of about 124) and Lamp S6 out too. When the Council can get further into that gated alley they'll fix them.

Lamp 5 Bowling Green Close obstructed by tree - reported.

Lamp 3 Hawthorn Close obscured by bushes - reported.

The specific Council webpage for reporting broken lamps etc is;

www.birmingham.gov.uk/streets or ring 0121 303 6000 or email [email protected]

The following local roads are to have their lamps upgraded within the next year - Gretton Road (done now), Chaceley Grove, Enstone Road.

Court Lane Fencing
(Might have been dangerous driving or vandalism - Crime) The barrier at the junction of Court Lane and Chester Road had been damaged in several places, fixed.

(We've subsequently had a killing involving a car there - see Crime Page for more on that).

Area Behind The Woodyard - Still Appalling Drainage
This large grassed area is supposed to be for public open space, but after any rain it's still useless for days, you sink to your ankles. Should be like Short Heath Park. Can the drainage be improved? It has never been right in that regard since it's creation in the 1980's.

Anstey Grass Cut
So someone is looking after it anyway.

Goosemoor Lane Bend - Speeding Vehicle Demolishes Anstey Wall - Again!
A vehicle has again mounted the pavement and demolished the Anstey (Goosemoor Lane Playing Fields) brick wall where that has then been hit. You can still see the tyre tracks leading up to the wall and bits of broken bumper and headlights!

Same place (a few metres further along) that the same wall was hit a few weeks back.

Verges Scrubbed
The grass verges along Goosemoor Lane have been tidied up.

Sion Simon MP - Reshuffle News
Sion Simon, MP for Erdington, has been moved in Gordon Brown’s latest reshuffle following the near collapse of his government in the run up to Labour’s disastrous European election vote.

Mr Simon has kept his position as a government minister, but moves from his post as Minister for Further Education in the Department of Universities, Innovation and Skills to an unpaid position as junior minister in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Cllr Robert Alden Selected As Tory Erdington Parliamentary Candidate
From the Sutton Observer website at
www.thisissuttoncoldfield.co.uk

`BIRMINGHAM'S youngest Conservative councillor has been selected to stand as MP for Erdington at the next General Election.

Councillor Robert Alden, who currently represents the Erdington ward, was put forward by fellow Tory members following a general meeting of the party last weekend.

He will go head to head with Labour's Sin Simon who has represented the Erdington constituency since 2001.

Councillor Alden said: "I am delighted that I have been selected by local people to stand for Parliament.

"I truly love the Erdington area and it is a great honour to be given the chance to stand at the next general election in Erdington constituency.

A resident of Erdington himself, Cllr Alden was voted on to the council three years ago, aged just 23, making him Birmingham's youngest elected member.

As he prepares for the next stage in his political career, he spoke of the need to improve employment opportunities in the area and nurture aspiration in children.

He said: "We need to ensure that something is done about unemployment in Erdington.

"On the Government's own figures it is now 27.2 per cent higher across Erdington than when Labour came to office in 1997.

"We must not let these people be lost to unemployment for a generation."

For the last 10 months, Cllr Alden has led a campaign locally for financial help for the Jaguar car company.

He has also focused on the issue of recycling and has pushed for investment into Erdington High Street.

He is also a member of the league of friends of the John Taylor Hospice.

His father John Alden stood for Parliament in the Erdington constituency for the Conservatives in 1974 and 1979, losing by 680 votes in 1979.

The Erdington constituency is comprised of four wards: Kingstanding, Erdington, Stockland Green and Tyburn.

Sin Simon is currently Minister for Creative Industries."'

Tree Pruning In The Park
The bases around many of the trees in Short Heath Park have been pruned. Improves the view across the Park, but won't now block the wind around the area in Autumn and Winter!

(The workmen seem to have left behind some of their "Men At Work" signs too - on Goosemoor Lane up by the Bowling Green Close and Court Lane junctions. Reported).

Recent Local Websites Added To The Links Page
These Erdington websites have been added or set up recently;

The Oscott Social Club, Witton Lodge Road, www.theoscott.co.uk

Erdington Methodist Church, Station Road, (MINE - Methodists In Erdington), www.mine.org.uk

Wyrley Birch Community Website, www.wyrleybirch.com

Court Lane Allotments, http://courtlaneallotments.com

Erdington Town Centre Partnership, www.etcp.org.uk

Osborne Children's Centre ("A Centre Supporting Families and the Community"), Station Road, www.osbornecc.co.uk

Erdington Six Ways Baptist Church, www.erd6waysbc.org.uk

A.C. Atwell (funeral directors), Gravelly Lane, www.funeraldirectorsbirmingham.com

Amba Estates, Station Road, www.ambaestates.com

Erdington Echo - Blog, http://erdingtonecho.wordpress.com

Bethany Pentecostal Church, South Road, www.bethanypentecostal.com

Two Jays Restaurant and Bistro (within Cookes Furniture), Goosemoor Lane, http://twojays.food.officelive.com

Blocked Drains - Goosemoor Lane/Gravelly Lane/Summer Road
The recent heavy rain is showing where major blockages are;

On Goosemoor Lane at the junction with Top Croft Road, that big drain STILL blocks up. Work is forever done there and still fails to solve the problem.

On Gravelly Lane opposite the Mona Road junction, a blocked drain causes a HUGE puddle in heavy rain.

Just further up on Summer Road, under the railway bridge, passing cars sometimes get stuck in a big water pool that forms in that dip in the road - blocking traffic of course. The drains do clear the water eventually, but not quickly enough. So another drain needs putting there under that bridge - there are 3 big ones already but it's not enough.

All reported.

Missing Kitten Cleo - Found
8 months old female, was lost on Monday 25/5/2009, black with white splats on lower black, micro-chipped. From the owner;

"Just to let you know we have found Cleo, one of our neighbours took her but she has come home. Thanks again for your help."

Westminster MP's Expenses
██████ ing MP's take the ██████ ing  ██████, and make a ██████ ing mockery of those of us who ██████ ing accepted the ██████ ing ██████  when they said everything The Daily Telegraph was printing would soon be ██████ ing printed officially anyway, so we should ONLY ██████ ing tell their Constituents the Expenses then.

What a bunch of ██████ ing ██████ ers!

So, some of us indeed accepted the principle of Due Process like they asked, and waited for the OFFICIAL release before putting any stuff here, and what did we get in return?

A ██████ ing cover-up, that's what.

I'm VERY angry, as you can probably tell.

So here are the Expenses of EACH Birmingham MP for comparison, but as vengeance, I've linked to the corresponding Daily Telegraph pages too! So you can see EXACTLY what they did NOT want you to know.

MP Parliament Page Their Website Daily Telegraph Page
Richard Burden (Lab - Northfield) parliament.uk/richardburden www.richardburden.com Labour-MPs-investigated-by-the-Telegraph
Liam Byrne (Lab - Hodge Hill) parliament.uk/liambyrne www.liambyrne.co.uk Labour-MPs-investigated-by-the-Telegraph
Roger Godsiff (Lab - Sparkbrook) parliament.uk/rogergodsiff www.rogergodsiffmp.co.uk Labour-MPs-investigated-by-the-Telegraph
John Hemming (Lib Dem - Acocks Green) parliament.uk/johnhemming http://john.hemming.name Liberal-Democrat-MPs-investigated-by-the-Telegraph
Lynne Jones MP (Lab - Selly Oak) parliament.uk/lynnejones www.lynnejones.org.uk Labour-MPs-investigated-by-the-Telegraph
Khalid Mahmood (Lab - Perry Barr) parliament.uk/khalidmahmood Has no website Labour-MPs-investigated-by-the-Telegraph
Steve McCabe (Lab - Hall Green) parliament.uk/stephenmccabe www.stevemccabe-mp.org.uk Labour-MPs-investigated-by-the-Telegraph
Andrew Mitchell (Tory - Sutton) parliament.uk/andrewmitchell www.andrew-mitchell-mp.co.uk Conservative-MPs-investigated-by-the-Telegraph
Clare Short MP (Ind - Ladywood) parliament.uk/clareshort www.epolitix.com/clare-short www.telegraph.co.uk/Clare-Short
Sion Simon (Lab - Erdington) parliament.uk/sionsimon www.sionsimonmp.org Labour-MPs-investigated-by-the-Telegraph
Gisela Stuart (Lab - Edgbaston) parliament.uk/giselastuart www.giselastuartmp.co.uk Labour-MPs-investigated-by-the-Telegraph

Sion Simon's Expenses As Our Local MP
So far all we had were media reports, the official records have now come out. So I've stuck them on here, along with all other Birmingham MP's for a fair comparison.
Sion Simon MP (Labour) will be given the right of reply, which I'll stick here too. He may choose to respond only via his own website though;

www.sionsimonmp.org

Fosseway Drive Development - Latest
From
www.thisissuttoncoldfield.co.uk

"A CEREMONY 80ft up in the air marked the near-completion of roof work on the first of five flagship retirement 'villages' across the city.

A commemorative tile was laid yesterday at the 37m venture in Fosseway Drive, New Oscott - a facility designed, the Council has said, to pioneer a move away from traditional nursing and residential care.

New Oscott Village is due to open in spring 2010, providing 260 homes for rent and purchase. Fifteen health and leisure facilities will be included in the enterprise, including a gym, greenhouse, craft room, IT centre and restaurant.

The Council, which is launching the project in partnership with the ExtraCare Charitable Trust, says that 24-hour care support is also offered, adding that those who are isolated or have 'limited means' may enjoy a safe, community environment which fosters an independent and active lifestyle.

Councillor John Lines, cabinet member for housing, who laid the tile, said: "When I first announced construction of this retirement village, I had a vision of giving our older people the chance to remain as active and independent as possible, regardless of age or mobility."

Official website;

http://extracare.hcldev.co.uk/villages/villages/?id=6

Found Cat
A resident has sent this in;

"We have a cat who is black, with a white underbelly, and bottom of all four legs are white. He is not our cat but he or she comes here and spends all day here. We do feed it, but were wondering if anyone owns it?"

(Yes - the found cat sounded like the missing cat Cleo above - but it isn't her it later transpired).

Lost Cat - Littlecote Drive
White with black ears, back and tail. Missing since Saturday 30/5/2009. Reward! Check your garages and sheds etc. Tel 07596 430 448.

Community Chest Grant Approvals - 2009/10

Organisation Project Description Of Project Cost
Life Education Centre Health and Drug Education Programme Holistic health 1, 625
North Birmingham Community Club Repairs to roof, purchase of new equipment Gym in Holly Lane 2, 860
YMCA National Play Day in Short Heath Park National Play Day - 5/8/2009 1, 694
Erdington Town Centre Partnership Town Centre Managers Post From 1/4/2009 - 31/7/2009 5, 200
Jarvis Towers Ltd Summer Gala Day Summer Gala Day 500
Total     11, 879

Local Planning Permission Applications
18 Kirkwood Avenue - Erection of two storey side extension and 1.8m high boundry fence with retaining wall.

46 Sycamore Road - Erection of conservatory

3 Sycamore Road - Erection of conservatory

91 Tedbury Crescent - Erection of 3-bedroom detached dwelling house.

97 Goosemoor Lane - Erection of single-storey rear extension

81 Bonsall Road - Erection of rear conservatory

12 Rutherford Road - Erection of single-story side and front extension

19 - 25 Station Road, land at rear of - Erection of new dwelling, associated access and parking*

(* - Our Cllrs have made objections to this application - see below for more).

Planning Dept website;

www.birmingham.gov.uk/planning

Local Road Repairs/Litter Removed
Erdington Conservatives tell me they have asked for pot-holes in the following local roads to be fixed;

Goosemoor Lane, Flackwell Road, Gravelly LaneGretton Road, Jarvis Road, Jerrys Lane, Madehurst Road, Sheddington Road, Station Road, Turfpits Lane.

And removed litter from Johnson Road, Dean Road and Oliver Road.

And fixed trip-rails around verges on Gravelly Lane.

And have placed a bin in the alley between Jarvis Road and Somerset Road.

And fixed the railings around the Park play-area.

Birmingham Mail Yoosk Project
You can ask city councillors etc questions direct;

www.birminghammail.net/yoosk/

Key Found
A house key has been found on the land at the back of The Woodyard, contact the Webmaster;

[email protected]

The Spinney News
From Erdington Conservatives;

"We have reported The Spinney at the junction of Witton Lodge Road and Court Lane to the City Council. We have asked the Council to clean up the inside, cut back the bushes that have become so overgrown it is now difficult to see out, and for the damaged fence sections to be repaired."

Fosseway Drive Building Site
From Erdington Conservatives;

"We have contacted the Transportation Dept in the Council and asked them to ake action against the contractors at the Fosseway Drive building works before they sign off the work. We have asked them to ensure that all the grass verges used for parking are repaired to make them look like they did before they have been dug up and ruined. We have asked that they ensure all the pavements around the development that have fallen apart and been damaged by vehicles are repaired and ensure that nothing is left in a dangerous situation after the work ends."

Dog Bins Proposal - Another Appeal
A resident suggested dog-bins for Goosemoor Lane and I was trying to move things along but heard nothing more - and where? The only place I can think that isn't by housing, shops and would be emptied easily is in Short Heath Park along it's stretch with Goosemoor Lane (by the Sub-station). That way it could simply be emptied with the others in the Park but would be by the pavement on Goosemoor Lane.

Mexican Swine Flu - "Don't Panic! Don't Panic!" (Copyright - Dad's Army)
The official govt webpage;

www.direct.gov.uk/en/Swineflu/DG_177831

Major Road Accident - Gravelly Lane
Thursday evening 30/4/2009, by the Oliver Road junction, road was cordoned off. No more details available I'm afraid.

Goosemoor Lane Bend - Speeding Vehicle Demolishes Wall
A vehicle has mounted the pavement and demolished the Anstey (Goosemoor Lane Playing Fields) brick wall where that has then been hit. You can still see the tyre tracks leading up to the wall!

Same place that a lamp-post was hit a few weeks back.

On the odd side of the road, as traffic speeds down from the direction of Court Lane and meets the roughly 70 degree bend. Often happens that vehicles leave the road there. Traffic-calming has been put in over the years - still not enough though.

So another dangerous incident, given that a brick wall has been demolished this time (Monday night I think - 27/4/2009. Probably in all that rain/hail we had).

The Council officially records only injury accidents, so the lamp-post and now the wall being hit might officially count as "no accident" if no-one was injured.

Bit of a farce if so, since lamp-posts and walls being hit and knocked down will soon be a person if nothing more is done.

Hazard - Gravelly Lane Junction Problem - Still Happening
(This problem probably not unique to this type of junction). There is a small traffic island at the junction of Goosemoor Lane and Gravelly Lane. 3 plastic keep-left signs are on that island.

Sometimes traffic coming down Gravelly Lane (from Chester Road towards Station Road) ignores them (or doesn't see them) and turns onto Goosemoor Lane on the WRONG side of that small island (i.e. using the first gap instead of the second).

Then running head-on into traffic leaving Goosemoor Lane onto Gravelly Lane (completely surprising both sets of motorists).

Happened around midday on Friday 25/4/2008 - but I'm now told it happens lots. e.g. Happened again on Sunday 19/4/2009 around 10.30pm.

The 3 keep-left signs are either too small, or no-entry signs need to be put where appropriate at that junction.

Jarvis Road News
News sent in by a resident re Jarvis Road, when I've looked into it all I'll add the responses.

"Just to mention that new large litter bins have appeared on Jarvis Road, they seem to look out of place to me, there's even one in the alleyway to Somerset Road.

The unofficial car space outside Alnwick House had metal railings put around it today, this seems a thoughtless move as this area has a shortage of car parking spaces and this will only add to them, can't help but wonder why they did not leave it as it was. The workers had to park their truck astride 3 parked cars in proper bays, thus proving the need for increased parking facilities. There is always lots of work being done by council workers and other service providers in this road which adds to the problem.

Considering Jarvis Road has a regular bus service up and down every 20 minutes or so, cars which have to park next to the kerbs risk having wing mirrors broke off or worse as the road has curves and is awkward and difficult for the bus drivers to navigate.

There should also be the addition of parking bays for the bungalows along this road as it gets more difficult for health workers such as Nurses, Doctors and Social Services to get to provide the services they need, there is plenty of room outside the bungalows for this work.

I have seen Ambulances and Fire Engines struggle to make their way along Jarvis Road with all it's obstacles and cannot understand why the Council does not improve parking facilities.

As we are now in Summertime it seems that children and adults think it is fine to play football outside the flats in this area, pounding the wall of the tower blocks and hitting cars parked nearby."

(There is a plan to build a park on the land between Jarvis and Topcroft, more on that as it comes in).

Recycling Container Lids
The Council handed out nets and leaflets in the road, but for some reason not to everyone. I'll pursue this.

Changes To The 68c Bus Service
From the Travel WM website at www.travelwm.co.uk

"Re-routed in the Dovedale Road area (no longer serves Archers Close or Marshmont Road in Dovedale Park) due to a stopping order. Timetable is amended."

Speed Check On Chester Road Now
Almost certainly in response to the recent fatal accident (see below) a speed checker is now near the Lakehouse Road junction.

More Work On Abandoned Gravelly Lane Land
The old Alexander old peoples' home (opposite Trident Close). More clearing work is going on with it.

Improving Your Community - How Can The Sustainable Communities Act (2007) Help?
Click here for more on this;

www.birmingham.gov.uk/sca.bcc

Real Help Now - Government Assistance During The Recession
www.realhelpnow.gov.uk

111 Bus Stops
We've STILL got bus drivers who don't know where the stops are. More actual marked posts might be an answer as about 50% seem unmarked.

Planning Boss Nearly Arrested After Visit To Erdington Islamic School Site - Station Road
From the Birmingham Mail website at www.birminghammail.net

`BIRMINGHAM’S planning chief was almost arrested for causing an obstruction during a visit to the proposed site of an Islamic school and education centre.

A police community support officer took Coun Peter Douglas Osborn’s name and threatened to move him on as the Council planning committee chairman hosted a site visit to Station Road in Erdington.

The committee was viewing traffic and parking congestion in the area before considering proposals to convert vacant shops into an Islamic school and adult education centre for up to 30 pupils.

The councillor’s claims that it was an important public meeting cut no ice with the PCSO who wanted to clear the highway.

Coun Douglas Osborn (Con, Weoley) said: "He objected to us having a meeting there, but I felt the obstruction was a minor problem and it was an important that people could have their say."

The meeting was soon wrapped up and the small crowd allowed to disperse.

And planning committee members felt the obstruction and gridlock caused by their arrival in a minibus showed that the road could not cope with up to 30 people coming and going to attend classes, despite assurances from transport officers that it would not add to traffic problems.

The committee unanimously overturned the official advice and decided they were minded to refuse the application.'

Oscott College Dangerous Trees
Around the perimeter of the Oscott College (especially on Chester Road), over-hanging branches are falling into the road and onto the pavement in rough weather.

www.oscott.net

Tarmac Worn At The Kirkwood/Goosemoor Junction
On Kirkwood Avenue at the junction with Goosemoor Lane, the tarmac has worn away. Reported for repair.

Accident - Chester Road - Police Appeal For Witnesses
(If this turns out to be dangerous driving I'll move it to the Crime Page). An accident occurred at the junction of Beech Road and Chester Road at around 9.45pm on (Wednesday) 11/2/2009. Police are asking witnesses to call on 0121 606 7845.

More on this, from the Birmingham Mail website at www.birminghammail.net

`A BIRMINGHAM man who was killed in a road accident had been celebrating his 48th birthday, it emerged today. David Fogarty and his girlfriend Susan Grimshaw were just returning from The Bishop Vesey pub, in Sutton Coldfield, when the accident happened.

The father of one known to his friends as ‘Dancing Dave’ was crossing the Chester Road, near his home in Erdington, at around 9.45pm on Wednesday, February 11, when he was in collision with a car.

Mr Fogarty was taken to Good Hope Hospital with severe head and internal injuries and died a few hours later.

David’s younger brother Mark, of College Road, Perry Barr, was by his bedside when he died.

"He was a wonderful, wonderful man," said former fireman Mark, aged 46. "He had no enemies, everybody loved him.

"We’re all just devastated. He was the life and soul of everything people called him Dancing Dave because he was always dancing. He had no great aspirations. He was just a smashing guy." The eldest of four, David leaves behind brothers Mark and Nick, 49, and sister Linda Fogarty, 45, as well as a daughter, Siobhaun.

He was well known throughout the community for his work as a gardener.

The driver of the car, a 37-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and has been bailed pending further police inquiries.

An inquest into Mr Fogarty’s death will be held later this year.'

Top Croft Garages Demolished
Has taken some years, but the disused garages at the back of housing on Baldmoor Lake Road (opposite the entrance to Repton House) are now demolished.

Top Croft South Block Door Fixed
A glass/perspex lower panel to the door of this maisonette block (the one nearest Cayton Grove) was smashed out recently. Has been repaired by placing a wooden panel wholly across the lower half of the door.

The Bend Is Tough For Lorries - Sat Nav Can Re-Direct Them?
Articulated lorries find The Bend in Goosemoor Lane VERY difficult to negotiate, but we have Cookes and Travis Perkins having to accept such deliveries of course. Can Sat Nav be altered so that when directing lorries to those two premises it's via the Court Lane end (Travis Perkins) or the Gravelly Lane end (Cookes) and The Bend is therefore avoided?

(Although thinking about it - when they've unloaded wouldn't they have to go round The Bend THEN to drive off - so IS there an overall solution? At least an empty lorry would find The Bend easier to drive round though).

Anger As Perry Common Phone Mast Is Approved
From www.thisisgreatbarr.co.uk

`Controversial plans to erect a 15-metre high phone mast on land near to a busy road junction in Perry Common have been approved. Fifty incensed residents put pen to paper and signed a petition calling on Birmingham City Council to throw out Orange's plans to install the mast at the junction of Witton Lodge Road and College Road.

But yesterday members of the planning committee gave the green light with some conditions.

They ordered that the mast be in the style of a mock telegraph pole, and that the number of cabinets be reduced from five to one and painted in anti-graffiti paint to combat vandalism.

Gary Sambrook, who lives in Plumstead Road, visited scores of homes asking people to sign the petition. He expressed anger at the committee's decision.

He said: "There are already enough phone masts in the area. We started a petition three weeks ago and this was handed in to the council. It is disgraceful that this phone mast has been allowed to go ahead, however we will be making sure they do not break the conditions of the permission."

The mast is expected to provide 3G coverage to the Perry Common, Upper Witton and Short Heath areas of the city.

Erdington ward councillor Robert Alden had supported the protestor's campaign. Speaking after yesterday's planning meeting he said: "We are glad that alterations have been made so that vandalism should be combated, however we are concerned that the committee, following planning legislation, isn't allowed to consider the health impact of a mobile phone masts."'

Land At Back Of Woodyard - New Fence
The public open space land at the back of the Woodyard (Travis Perkins) has got a new steel fence to replace the old wooden one.

Chester Road/Beggars Bush Traffic Lights - Better - But Still Need Improving
The traffic lights at this junction often backed the traffic up to the Sycamore Road junction each evening! Yet the other junctions (Jockey Road and Kings Road) cleared on each change. Council said they's look at it, seems much better now. However, they revert back TOO soon in the evening, so by around 7pm it's back to the long line down Chester Road again. Reported - again.

Amateurish CCTV Installation? - Station Road - Update
Council had received this complaint;

"CCTV camera installation amateurish and may be illegal. The installation has cables flying from the street lamppost to a nearby building 35 Station Road (AA Computer Support) and looks amateurish. Is planning permission required to install any equipment to street lighting?"

The camera has now gone.

Lyndhurst Partnership Newsletter Launched
The Lyndhurst Partnership Neighbourhood Management Board have launched a newsletter, when a website is launched I'll mention it here and add it to the Links Page. More details on 0121 384 6051.

Recession/Credit Crunch - Assistance
Not much a local website can do about the wider (global) picture of course, but from the Links Page, here are some useful websites;

Real Help Now - Government Assistance During The Recession
www.realhelpnow.gov.uk

Cheaper Heating/Lighting/Water
Home Heat Helpline, www.homeheathelpline.org
Energy Watch (energy watchdog), www.energywatch.org.uk
National Energy Action, www.nea.org.uk
U Switch (switching banks or gas/electricity providers etc), www.uswitch.com
Central Midlands Energy Efficiency Advice Centre, www.savenergy.org
Energy Saving Trust, www.est.org.uk
Energy Saving Advice, www.energysavingadvice.co.uk
Heat Project (grants for home insulation etc), www.heatproject.co.uk
Water Wise,
www.waterwise.org.uk

Cheaper Transport/Petrol/Parking
Petrol Prices (enter your postcode to find the cheapest local garage), www.petrolprices.com
Car Share Birmingham, http://carsharebirmingham.org.uk
Brum Link (public transport), www.brumlink.co.uk
Parking Ticket Appeal Service, www.ticketbusters.co.uk
Appeal Now (ditto), www.appealnow.com
Bus Users UK, www.bususers.org
Park At My House (novel solution to finding parking spaces), http://uk.parkatmyhouse.com
Railcards (train travel discounts), www.railcard.co.uk
Lift Share (pairing up motorists with passengers), www.liftshare.org
Free Wheelers (car sharing), www.freewheelers.com
You Can Park (unused garages/driveways for commuter hire etc), www.youcanpark.com
Share A Car (lift-sharing), www.shareacar.com
Passenger Focus (rail watchdog), www.passengerfocus.org.uk
Walk To School website,
www.walktoschool.org.uk

Saving
City Save Credit Union, www.citysave.org.uk
National Group on Homeworking, www.ngh.org.uk
Association of British Credit Unions, www.abcul.coop
UK Money Transmitters Association (money-wiring services), www.ukmta.org
Financial Inclusion Partnership, www.birmingham.gov.uk/financialinclusion.bcc
My Lost Account (tracing dormant back account-holders),
www.mylostaccount.org.uk

Cheaper Shopping/Trading
Birmingham Local Exchange And Trading Scheme (bartering), www.brumlets.org.uk
The Shoppers' Bible, www.theshoppersbible.com
Birmingham Freecycle (unwanted goods on offer), http://groups.yahoo.com/group/birmingham_freecycle
Bull Ring Markets, http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/markets
Wedge Card (loyalty card for use in small shops etc), www.wedgecard.co.uk
Recycle (getting rid of unwanted stuff), www.recycle.co.uk
The Rag Market, City Centre www.ragmarket.com
Ecycle (getting rid of unwanted goods), www.expressandstar.co.uk/classifieds/ecycle
Jumble World (kids E-Bay type site with relevant safeguards), www.jumbleworld.com
Local car-boot sales, www.eboot.co.uk
Local Exchange Trading and Complementary Currencies Development Agency (bartering), www.letslinkuk.org
Carboot Junction (database),
www.carbootjunction.com

Debt Advice
National Association of Mortgage Victims (re-possessions etc), www.namv.org.uk
Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureaux, www.bhamadvice.org
Society of Turnaround Professionals, www.stp.org.uk
Penalty Charges (fighting bank charges), www.penaltycharges.co.uk
Consumer Action Group, www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk
Birmingham Money Advice and Grants, www.b-mag.org.uk
Consumer Credit Counselling Service, www.cccs.co.uk
Now Let's Talk Money (govt money-worries site), www.nowletstalkmoney.com
Money Matters To Me (money worries site), www.moneymatterstome.co.uk
Money Made Clear (govt money info site), www.moneymadeclear.fsa.gov.uk
Credit Action (credit advice), www.creditaction.org.uk
TaxAid (free tax advice), www.taxaid.org.uk
National Debtline, www.nationaldebtline.co.uk
Business Debtline,
www.bdl.org.uk

Nominate Your Favourite Fish And Chip Shop
Perfect Portion Awards - www.lovechips.co.uk

Fatal Road Accident - Perry Common - Police Appeal For Witnesses
(This will be moved to the Crime Page if dangerous driving etc is later proved).

From www.thisissuttoncoldfield.co.uk

`A man died after suffering serious injuries in a road traffic accident in Kingstanding today (Thursday).

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to College Road shortly after 9.40am.

An ambulance, two rapid response vehicles and the Warwick and Northants Air Ambulance were dispatched to the scene where the 27-year-old was lying in the road with multiple injuries to his head, chest and leg.

A spokesperson for the ambulance service said the man was involved in a collision with a vehicle and needed treatment at the scene before he was taken to hospital, where he later died.

West Midlands Police closed Witton Lodge Road, Hawthorn Road and College Road around College High School while inquiries were made at the scene.

A 40-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving.

Any witnesses, or anyone with information is urged to contact the road policing unit at Castle Vale on 0845 113 5000.

Some initial reports from emergency services - including those received before the January 23 edition of the Great Barr Observer went to press this afternoon - suggested a child had been involved. That information was incorrect.'

The issue of traffic safety on College Road between the Beggars Bush and the One Stop Shopping Centre does keep arising at various meetings etc.

Question About Sion Simon MP's Travel Expenses
Perhaps he'll provide me with an answer, which I'll stick here of course. Don't hold your breath though;

From The Stirrer at www.birminghammail.net/birmingham-blogs-views/birmingham-mail-columnists/the-stirrer/

`ALL Our MPs Should Reveal Their Expenses. Gordon Brown’s humiliating U-turn on publishing MPs’ expenses this week is being spun as an example of parliamentary "openness" our elected representatives apparently can’t wait to tell us exactly how they spend our money.

Don’t you believe it. Until yesterday lunchtime the Government was fighting a desperate rearguard action to maintain the veil of secrecy with MPs in Birmingham and the Black Country obediently towing the party line.

I can say this with some confidence, because on Tuesday I set them a challenge. Would they be willing to have their full expenses printed on the Birmingham Mail website, regardless of today’s planned Commons vote intended to give them an opt out from Freedom of Information legislation?

There was no law preventing them from doing it, and it would show the voters they had nothing to hide. I even pledged to remove their addresses from any receipts, so they wouldn’t be placed in any personal danger.

Now here’s the rub – just four of them agreed.

Hats off to John Hemming (Yardley), Clare Short (Ladywood), Andrew Mitchell (Sutton Coldfield) and Lorely Burt (Solihull) for accepting the challenge.

Hemming said: "It’s common sense. People deserve to know what’s being done with their money. As long as you remove my address, I don’t have a problem with it."

(Because 100 alimony lawyers are chasing him - Webmaster).

Short, Mitchell and Burt were equally accommodating.

Lynne Jones (Selly Oak) said she agreed with full disclosure of expenses "in principle", but on this occasion wasn’t prepared to provide us with all the information.

Gisela Stuart (Edgbaston) was one of the few who had the guts to openly reject my request.

She said: "I don’t believe in ‘grandstanding’ where MPs outdo each other to show who’s whiter than white. Let’s have one set of rules that everyone can abide by."

(Now I've heard many MPs copy that Frank Bough in one regard - or have I misunderstood the word Grandstanding? Webmaster).

Richard Burden (Northfield) also refused until he’d heard the debate in Parliament.

As for the rest all Labour they showed no willingness to give readers details of their expenditure, despite Tony Blair’s commitment to open government when the party came to power in 1997.

Shame on them.

MPs are generously rewarded for what they do, with a 63,000 salary as well as travel expenses, staff and office costs, computer loans, and free stationery and postage.

They also receive an allowance the so-called John Lewis list allowing them more than 22,000 a year to spend on food, entertainment, and even furniture for their second homes in London.

None of this is necessarily wrong but we pay for it, and we deserve to know if it’s being squandered on a Champagne lifestyle.

As it is, we’ll now be able to solve mysteries such as why Erdington MP Sion Simon runs up a 16,000 a year rail bill, even though a season ticket between Birmingham and London costs only around 10,000.

We’ll also be able to examine claims that Hodge Hill’s Liam Byrne spends taxpayers cash pumping out party propaganda.

The perception that MPs have their snouts in the trough may ultimately prove to be untrue but their kneejerk commitment to secrecy only arouses our worst suspicions.'

Recycling Container Lids
The wind has been blowing contents about when left on the pavement for collection. The Council are handing out nets to fix across the tops - don't know when they'll be handed out round here though.

Chester Road Baptist Church Welcomes New Minister
From http://icsuttoncoldfield.icnetwork.co.uk

"Chester Road Baptist Church has a new minister, the Reverend David Dewey. Rev Dewey's induction service will be on Saturday at 2.30pm in the presence of the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Birmingham. Also present will be councillors, representatives of local churches and friends from Rev Dewey's previous churches.

The induction service will be led by a member of the church, the Rev Edwin Boddington, and the sermon will be given by the Rev Clifford Fryer. The Rev Andrew Millns, regional minister from the Heart of England Baptist Association, will perform the induction ceremony.

Rev Dewey has been a minister for nearly 30 years and was previously minister at Chelsea Community Church. He has been features editor of the Baptist Times and has written for the Scripture Union, as well as writing several books on the Bible and faith."

Linda Hines Of Perry Common Awarded An MBE
From www.thisissuttoncoldfield.co.uk

`A dedicated community worker who has helped tackle crime and improve housing in Perry Common has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.

Linda Hines, who is director of Witton Lodge Community Association, was awarded the MBE for her work in the community in north Birmingham.

Mrs Hines was named in the prestigious roll of honour for her steadfast work, which includes playing an integral role in setting up Perry Common Community Watch, which last year received praise from Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The award is also in recognition of her work at Witton Lodge Community Association, a non-registered Housing Association which owns rented properties on the Perry Common Estate including an extra care sheltered scheme at Sycamore Court in Buxton Road.

Commenting on the honour, 57-year-old Linda, said:

"It is quite an honour it has been the hardest secret to keep as I have known about the MBE since November. When I received the letter I read it about 10 times to make sure it was correct. It is 18 years since I became active in the community and I have not won this award on my own, so many people have supported and helped me. I love a challenge and thrive on challenges. I do not know who nominated me but when I find out I will give them a big hug."`

Gravelly Lane Sub-Station Insecure - Fixed
The one opposite Trident Close. The wooden fencing around the compound to this electricity sub-station had been battered over time, probably various factors. Was insecure anyway.

www.eon-uk.com/distribution/electricitysubstations.aspx

Update;

"Thank you for your email dated 22 December regarding 5328 Gravelly Lane substation. I have raised a job for our contractors to repair the fence around the substation.

Your reference number is 51877".

Has now been fixed.

Power Cut - Happy New Year
The electricity went off across a wide area on New Year's Day! From around 1.20pm - 2.30pm. The last one in this area was February 2008 - is that too many in too short a space of time? I'll keep an eye on it.

St Barnabas Church Launches Plea For 500,000
(For more about the police investigation into this arson case - see the Crime Page)

From the Sutton Observer website at www.thisissuttoncoldfield.co.uk

`A fire-ravaged Erdington church has launched a Christmas appeal for help to rebuild the local landmark. St Barnabas Church needs half-a-million pounds to put right damage done by arsonists 14 months ago. Rev Freda Evans launched the appeal at the Erdington lights switch on last Saturday.

"We need 500,000 which is not a huge amount, but its big enough; any donations or imaginative ideas for fundraising are welcome," she said.

"While the cost of restructuring and a new roof will be covered by insurance, the extra money is needed to make the church a first rate community centre."

The funds will be put towards creating this new community space within the church, 'cleaning and greening' the exterior, a new altar and a piano for services and community concerts.

"The worship space will obviously be very important; we need a quiet space for people to come into off the High Street, but it must be versatile," said Rev Evans.

The revamp will include space for schools and organisations to stage concerts and a facility to enable the church to continue its outreach work.

"The outreach work is very high priority," she said. "It offers people who may be lonely somewhere to come and have a cup of tea or coffee – there are a lot of people who are missing this facility."

It is hoped space underneath the church also could be put to use. Rev Evans added:

"Obviously we are limited, we haven't got all the space in the world, but what we have got we want to use as effectively as possible and do as much as possible for the community. There is nowhere else in the centre of Erdington for the community and this is too good an opportunity to miss."

And the church is to be made more accessible and inviting to people from the outside.

"We need to make it look cared for," she said. "We would like to widen the path between the church and the High Street so it looks like a place we want people to come into.

"Church windows are usually high up so you can't see in, you have to be brave just to go up to the front door and this is something we want to change."

Plans are expected to be submitted to the planning authority early next year and it is hoped work will begin in the summer.

To make a donation or discuss fund-raising ideas contact Reverend Freda Evans at St Barnabas Vicarage, 26 Church Road, Erdington, B24 9AX, tel: 0121 373 0884.'

More Work On Trident Close
More apartment blocks are being built on Trident Close (off Gravelly Lane).

111 Bus Unreliable - Should Be Renamed The 11-Woeful
(It changes to the 66A in the evenings and weekends) Still complaints about this service - it seems some buses are pulled from it's route at times to serve other areas, lots of bad time-keeping, and drivers not knowing where the stops are!

Can anyone sort it out? I've been trying for ages.

This runs through the Kingstanding ward too (bits of Court Lane) and Cllr Hopkins was pursuing the issue - said she'd come back to me - she didn't!

Damaged Bollard - Gravelly Lane
Just by the corner shop (junction with Goosemoor Lane) on the pavement is a snapped stone bollard, will be repaired.

Court Lane Rubbish Strewn About After Binmen Collections
The Council are aware that rubbish gets strewn about by both binmen and the recyclers when collecting, the emptied plastic boxes are thrown everywhere too. Court Lane affected badly each week, and other roads affected too.

If you are elderly/disabled you can be put on the Assisted List whereby the collectors know to come into your front garden to collect stuff if you can't carry it to the pavement each week.

The Council is arranging so that the street-cleaners come AFTER the collections and NOT before, so any rubbish left is quickly swept up.

If the problems fail to improve, can you let one of our Cllrs know please;

Cllr Gareth Compton (Tory), C/O Council House, Birmingham B1 1BB [email protected]
Cllr Robert Alden (Tory),
C/O Council House, Birmingham B1 1BB [email protected]
Cllr Bob Beauchamp (Tory), c/o Council House, Birmingham B1 1BB [email protected]

Community Chest Funding Approvals - 2008-9

Project Purpose Amount
Planters For St Barnabas School Planters for children to plant trees 430
Erdington Work With Older People Funding to help this group 500
Lyndhurst Community Shop Running this 3000
Youth Providers Event Reviewing youth provision in Erdington 150
Life Education Centres Health and drug education for children and parents 645
     
Total   4725
     
     
Tree Pits In Douay Road For planting trees in 3025
Erdington High Street Christmas Lights Decoration 11000
Lamp-posts in Berkswell Rd, Ayre Rd, Allman Rd, Ewell Rd Re-painting them 2614
Court Lane Allotments Secure storage unit for produce 1800
Theatre D'Europe Drama workshops 3000
Malcolm Locker Youth Centre Ski-trip 2000
Street-lighting Upgrading 16800
     
Total   40239

Jarvis Road Electrical Rewiring Faults
Cllr Compton recently took possession of a petition from residents of Jarvis Road objecting to the quality of rewiring work carried out on their properties.

The Mystery Of The Small Water-Mains Cover Outside 118 Goosemoor Lane
Sometimes it's there, sometimes not and there's a hole in the pavement! Even those at 118 don't know why it vanishes and then re-appears!

(One possible explanation is it keeps being nicked - it is metal - and Severn Trent keep replacing it. How they know it keeps vanishing to replace it I don't know though!)

Sky News Presenter Looking To Interview People Re Credit Crunch
Marverine Cole worked as a presenter for Radio WM and now for Sky News, she has sent me this;

"Hey Peeps

Check out my new consumer blog: CAREFUL WITH YOUR CASH!

Essentially it’s a daily journal of my thoughts and views, hints and tips on issues surrounding the credit crunch.

We’re living in unique times of financial hardship and the one thing I realise is that, while the politicians are trying to fix Britain’s financial crisis, they aren’t listening to people’s stories on the ground, stories from people like me and you who are trying to make some tough decisions about whether or not they should sell their car to make ends meet, or take a part-time job to bring more money in so they can have a decent Christmas or stop buying things that you used to take for granted that you can’t now afford.

I want the blog to be a bit of therapy for us all, so we can get our frustrations about this situation off our chest. So if you know ANYONE ANYWHERE in Birmingham or the West Midlands, who’s happy for me to come and film them with my camcorder ‘telling it like it is’ to me then tell them to get in touch with me (see below) It will take no more than 15 minutes of their time and I can come to them.

The aim is to collect 1000 ‘CAREFUL WITH YOUR CASH’ stories, upload them to a special channel on YOUTUBE and bring them to the attention of Prime Minister GORDON BROWN - so he knows how we’re all desperately adapting to try and cope with less money in our purses and wallets.

Take a look at the blog, comment on any of my postings, subscribe to it too so you know when I update it.

There’s also a list of links to all the UK ’s major supermarket websites so you can keep an eye on any deals or offers, there’ll be a few bargainous weblinks or my own! And share YOUR Careful Cash tips to help others.

So SPREAD THE WORD and pass on this email to your friends and relatives and anyone you think is truly hacked off by the credit crunch and all the cutbacks you’re having to face, what sort of Christmas you’ll be having this year, if you’ve had to sell your car to help make ends meet, if you’re facing redundancy or cutbacks at work, or the price of your house has now crashed...then let me know.

Head to http://carefulcash.blogspot.com or email me at [email protected]

Yours truly, Marv

PS Excuse any typos, I’m typing dead fast cos I’m so excited about the blog :-0 "

The Hanging Baskets Of Station Road
From Erdington Conservatives member Cllr Robert Alden;

"I was especially keen to see hanging baskets along the Sutton New Road and from Erdington train station to the High Street so residents and visitors could follow the flowers to the High Street."

Sion Simon MP Promoted
Our MP was promoted in Gordon Brown's recent Cabinet re-shuffle. From the Birmingham Post at www.birminghampost.net

"Birmingham MP Sion Simon (Lab Erdington) also becomes involved in the Government’s economic strategy as a junior Minister in the Department for Skills, Innovation, Universities and Science.

It will be his first ministerial role, and the position is not paid. Most ministers receive from 30,280 to 76,904, for a Cabinet job, on top of the standard MP’s salary of 61,820.

Mr Simon’s elevation to ministerial level has raised eyebrows, as he was one of the MPs who hatched a plot to force Tony Blair out of office in 2006, paving the way for Mr Brown to take over last year."

Also, I've subscribed to his emailing list having discovered he has one, so whatever he does in this area now (anything?) will be put on here (will be on the Crime Page if it's crime-related).

If you want to subscribe yourself - sign up here - www.sionsimonmp.org

Princess Anne Was In The Area Recently
From www.thisissuttoncoldfield.co.uk

`The Princess Royal officially opened a 'state-of-the-art' adult care centre in Perry Common yesterday (Thu 9/10/2008), accompanied by dignitaries from across Birmingham.

Her Royal Highness visited the Perry Tree Centre in Dovedale Road, the first of four pioneering care centres set to open in the city this year.

The princess was shown around the centre by manager Mike White and then met residents and their families, along with staff and partner organisations.

Princess Anne ended her visit by poignantly planting a perry tree in the award-winning landscaped gardens.

"The Princess Royal took a genuine interest in what we are achieving here in Birmingham," said Mr White.

"As patron for the Princess Royal Trust for Carers since 1991, she is working towards the same goals that we are – to support older people and their carers to remain independent for as long as possible."

The princess visited a rehabilitation and in-patient area on the upper floor, which were provided by Birmingham East and North Primary Care Trust.

Director of strategy and redesign for the trust, Tony Ruffell, said: "It was a real pleasure to be able to demonstrate these new facilities to the Princess Royal.

"They will make an enormous difference to people in east and north Birmingham who need our support to help them regain their independence."

The centre is at the cutting edge of support services for people with dementia and boasts assistive technology, rehabilitation services, a gym and therapy rooms.

Residents are accommodated in 64 en-suite bedrooms, including long-term care beds.

The centre's gardens, which are specifically designed to help people with dementia, won the special award category in the Celebrating Construction Awards 2008.

Councillor Sue Anderson, cabinet member for adults and communities said: "Our care centres will enable us to deliver a much higher standard of care to older people in Birmingham.

"They are also unique in the country and it is wonderful that Her Royal Highness is with us today to help celebrate all the hard work that has gone into making our vision a reality," she said.'

Hazard! Anstey Fog
A little local weather pattern we have is patchy fog banks appearing only about 50-100yds long on the Bend at night caused by the Anstey (Goosemoor Lane Playing Fields), a bit of a hazard. It sometimes surprises motorists taking the Bend. It happens to a much lesser degree caused by the Park too, Court Lane and Goosemoor Lane affected there. No bends there though of course.

(This was spotted on the Bend again late on Friday 26/9/2008).

Competition To Name New Fosseway Estate - Will Be Called New Oscott Village
From Birmingham Mail website at www.birminghammail.net

Development will be called New Oscott Village, Birmingham Mail ran a competition to name it and that name was chosen.

Fire - Repton House - Top Croft Estate
From www.thisissuttoncoldfield.co.uk

(Repton House is the tower block with red brickwork at the top)

"An Erdington man is recovering in hospital after being rescued from a blaze in his seventh-storey flat.

The man, believed to be in his 60s, suffered a heart attack after breathing in fumes from a severe fire at his home in Repton House, Baldmoor Lake Road in the early hours of this morning (Tuesday 16/9/2008).

He was resuscitated by the ambulance crew and taken to Good Hope Hospital.

The fire brigade was alerted to the scene about 1am after a neighbour heard an alarm and reported smelling smoke.

Another man in his 30s was treated for minor smoke inhalation."

Government Smoke Alarm etc Campaign - http://campaigns.direct.gov.uk/firekills/

Plans For More Parking - Chester Road Station
From Sutton Observer website at www.thisissuttoncoldfield.co.uk

`Plans to extend the car park at Chester Road Railway Station have met with fierce opposition from neighbouring residents – but councillors have welcomed the idea.

The proposal is to build 38 new spaces behind numbers 16-24 Green Lanes and includes the addition of five, six metre high, lighting columns and two CCTV cameras which neighbours fear will be focused on their back gardens.

Vesey ward councillor Alan Rudge said while more spaces are needed, residents must be protected.

"We have to practice what we preach and I think this will give more people the chance to use the trains," he said.

"However, we have to be absolutely sure that measures are taken to protect residents and ensure the lighting and cameras do not interfere with their gardens."

In letters of opposition, residents say a bigger car park will also add to traffic chaos and will not be used to full capacity.

But Councillor Rudge argued that the demand is there.

"Already more people want to use the station than there are spaces and they park all around it," he said.

"There are steep hills which make access to the station difficult for people who live even half a mile or a mile away.

"The car park will need good security and lighting but conditions have been put on the application to protect residents and it is important, if it goes ahead, that these are adhered to."

Conditions also state that the existing 'anti-climbing' mesh fencing and thorny shrub border be extended to stop potential intruders clambering into the back gardens.

The application goes before planners this week and has been recommended for approval.'

Cookes Furniture Extension Completed - Goosemoor Lane
From www.thisissuttoncoldfield.co.uk

`"When the going gets tough the tough get going."

Undaunted by the impact the credit crunch is having on the housing market, Graham Cooke of Cookes Furniture unveiled an extension to their flagship store on Goosemoor Lane, Erdington on Tuesday (September 16).

"So many people are here because we've heard so much doom and gloom in the last six months every time we turn on the TV or see the papers it's there," he told a crowd of business associates at the official opening.

"We all know what trade is like and I'm so delighted we've seized the opportunity to do something positive so that, when it does come back up, we'll be here ready to go," added Graham, who officially took over ownership of the business after the death of founder, Ted Cooke in April.

The new extension has seen an increase in Cooke Furniture's more contemporary product lines, improved the alarm system and installed shutters to minimise potential damage should a fire ever hit the site.

"In '97 we said this would be the last extension to Goosemoor Lane - but I also said that in '92," Graham added.

"This is definitely the last time, we can't go any further here."'

Overflowing Bins On Jarvis Road
The bins on the bus stops on Jarvis Rd are not being  emptied and rubbish is flying about the road and gardens as the containers are full - can the Council sort this please?

Park Stumps Uprooted
(This might have been a Crime - vandalism). The Park is lined with wooden stumps to keep vehicles out. One has been uprooted along the Jerrys Lane stretch so vehicles can now enter and race about etc. Needs fixing.

Loose Bricks Around Tree Bases - Goosemoor Lane
There are trees with decorative brick bases on the odd-side by the Court Lane junction. The heavy rain has caused some bricks to become loose/dislodged though the trees are still safe. Can the brick-work be repaired please?

(A glance at the 1930's photos on the History Page shows that brickwork is historic and we have lost a couple of those trees already due to new driveways etc. So can the brick-work be repaired in the original style too please? Would look out of place if ordinary house-bricks were used).

Telegraph Pole Problem - Goosemoor Lane
Outside the Anstey on the Bend on that odd-side sits a telegraph-pole. One of the lines attached has snapped. Is quite long and easily touched but is only a phone-line NOT a power line. Reported to BT for repair.

(When people switch to Cable, BT don't disconnect the physical phone-line to the house from their poles, so many are redundant so aren't noticed by residents or BT when they snap).

Birmingham Mail Extra North Edition - Free Newspaper - In The Wilton Market
This free weekly newspaper has lots of Erdington news. If you enter The Wilton Market from the High Street side you'll see them in a hopper just inside the entrance.

News From Moose International Sutton Coldfield & Erdington Arden Lodge No 210
`August 2008. Dear sir,

Below I have detailed some information about Moose International and would welcome some press coverage on this volunteer plea please.

Let's start by saying what Moose International isn't. It is not a secret society. It is not a religious sect. Nor is it some kind of insurance scheme or a deer-hunting club. In fact Moose is an association of people who believe in a caring, sharing family society and who enjoy working towards it in the company of friends.

Moose International is a fraternal organisation. We endeavour to look after our own and give support to others less fortunate than ourselves. We are a non-political, non-religious organisation, in the sense that we believe in a supreme being. We are an open organisation that has NO Masonic style rituals or strange beliefs, merely a desire to help others within or outside our organisation.

To this end our lodge not only support our nominated national charity but also raise more for there own local well deserving causes.

This takes the parts of an annual Father Christmas collection around the local street.

This is licenced by the police and has raised many thousands of pounds over the year.

There are 12 Lodges in the Midlands Area of Moose International which has a total membership of close to 2 million in the USA, Canada and the UK.

Can you help ?, Can you spare a few hours to knock on doors ?, if the answer is yes call the number below or check out our web site for more information...remember you have nothing to loose and a lot to gain.

Over the years the local branch has raised in excess of 53,000 with most of the money raised coming from our annual father Christmas float collection.

Can you help? Then call Paul on 0121-680-8909 or visit www.mooseinthemidlands.co.uk

Many thanks for taking time to read this. Thanks for your help on this matter.

Paul Rowe'

Grass Verges Cut - But One Area Left On Kirkwood Avenue - Council Response
The grass verges in the area have been cut again but either by accident or design part of Kirkwood Avenue is becoming overgrown. If you travel up and turn  second right (towards the back gardens on Highfield Drive) you'll see a tree with an overgrown verge in the corner.

Council response;

"Further to our response to you on 31-07-08 regarding grass cutting on Kirkwood Avenue;

We have received an email from the Service Providers who cut the grass and they state that this area is not on any maintenance programme for grass cutting and the area may be privately owned.

If you require any further details, or have any comments you wish to make, please do not hesitate to contact us on: 0121 464 8728 or e-mail [email protected]"

Erdington Services Slashed Due To Overspend
From Sutton News website at http://icsuttoncoldfield.icnetwork.co.uk

`Frontline council services are set to be slashed after it emerged the Erdington constituency has strayed way over budget.

School crossing patrols, libraries, street cleaning, sport and leisure, neighbour-hood advice, refuse collection and other services will all be cut this year as the constituency tries to claw back nearly 700,000.

The constituency already had to make efficiency savings of 262,000 before it was announced last financial year there was an overspend to the tune of 400-500,000 - the biggest in the city.

Birmingham City Council head of finance Paul Quinney was pushed to reveal the extent of the problems by Erdington councillor Robert Alden at the Constituency Committee meeting at Stockland Green.

He said: "Erdington does have the highest overspend in the city and the figure is between 400,000 and 500,000 and this will have to be addressed this year.

"The majority of the overspend has been down to sport and leisure and not hitting previous efficiency targets. The premise is to have better procurement of goods and services.

"The basic principal is that we need to get the same services for the less money."

Kingstanding councillor Peter Kane is furious that frontline services will be cut and blamed the problem on a drive for efficiency savings. He said: "The whole thing is barmy. Everyone else in Britain is coping with increasing costs and inflation yet we are supposed to be getting the same services for less money. The people who originally came up with all these efficiency plans a few years ago are now long gone."

But with Labour controlling the Constituency Committee and the Liberals and Conservatives controlling the Council, councillors are blaming each other for the mess.

Tyburn councillor Lynda Clinton, said: "We all have to take some responsibilty for what has happened. We need to look closely before cutting services that are needed by residents."'

Erdington Community Chest Approvals 2008-9 - From The Council Ward Report

Project Purpose Amount
Erdington Town Centre In Bloom Hanging baskets and plants 10, 000
Lyndhurst Summer Fayre Fun day 2, 000
Tiddlywinks Play And Stay Funding for Malcolm Locker Centre - Lyndhurst 1,000
Six Ways Baptist Church New Floor New wooden floor 550
Good Friday Walk Of Witness Traditional event on Erdington High Street 900
Babysong Equipment for Salvation Army parents and toddlers music group 500
External Funding Support Officer Helping groups find external funding 12, 000
Hanging Of Tapestries In Erdington Library Materials and labour 150
Driver Feedback Signs The installation of to assist motorists 1, 600

Still Flooding Problems At The Top Croft Junction
Council have spent all sorts of time and effort on this but EVEN now in heavy rain it STILL forms a huge puddle! Before it was because the camber was wrong, not it's because the drain just gets overwhelmed!

Labour Party Survey Over Local Youth Facilities
Erdington Labour Party want to know your views on youth facilities in the area/the lack of. Here are the questions and you can email responses to each at Sion Simon's email address below;

"Are you happy with the current level of youth services?

What extra youth facilities would you like to see?

Did you know that the Tory/Lib Dem Council spends more money in Sutton on youth provision than they do in Tyburn, Kingstanding, Erdington and Stockland Green put together?

Do you think that if there were more things for young people to do there would be less anti-social behaviour/crime?

Would you prefer better Council services or lower Council Tax?

If there was a General Election tomorrow, which Party would you support?

On a scale of 0 - 5 with 5 being the highest - how likely is it that you will vote Labour at the next General Election?

Have you ever voted Labour in any election in the past?"

Send responses here - [email protected]

Pot Holes - Jarvis Road
Two large ones in the road surface by Arundel House - reported for repair.

Road Surface Failure - Fosseway Drive
Outside number 5 the road surface by the kerb has sunk down quite badly - reported for repair.

Coin From 1822 Found On Maxted Road
If you have a metal-detector you may want to get it out! A coin dating from 1822 has been found by someone walking on the grass-land on Maxted Road.

That land has never been built on and did belong to Oscott College;

www.oscott.net

Bears King George IV on it's heads-side with Britannia on the tails-side.

Coin isn't in good condition and has not yet been valued.

Full inscription as can be made out;

Heads - "Georgius IIII DEI GRATIA"

Tails - "Britannar REX FID DEF 1822"

(Seems a commemorative coin rather than currency - possibly celebrating his Coronation. Became king in 1820 having been Regent from 1810).

Rats On Sunday Nights - Foxes And Hedgehogs Now Too
All sorts of wildlife is scurrying round the bin-bags left out for Monday morning refuse collections - try to leave putting them out until as near collection time as possible (e.g. Sunday afternoon seems a bad idea).

Court Lane UK Youth Parliament Representative
From the Sutton Observer website -
www.thisissuttoncoldfield.co.uk

`An Erdington boy will be among a party of 300 teenagers who will today (Friday 2/5/2008) debate major youth issues at the House of Lords.

In the hours after millions of adults cast their votes in the local elections, Andrew Marlow, 16, a member of the UK Youth Parliament for Birmingham, will take over the distinguished chamber. He will debate what issues should become the subjects of Youth Parliament campaigns this year, with three to be chosen from topics including public transport concession cards, university tuition fees, youth representation in the media and lowering voting age.

"We are pleased that young people's issues are now being taken seriously as evidenced by their access to the House of Lords chamber and we will continue to support young people to get their voice heard at all levels across the city," said Harry Fowler, joint acting head of Birmingham City Council's Youth Service.

The debate will be chaired by Lord Speaker Baroness Hayman.

She said: "I am very pleased to welcome Members of the UK Youth Parliament who will be coming from all over the country to debate important issues in the House of Lords chamber.

"It is vital that we engage with young people and understand their views and experiences in order to pass laws which are fit for the future."'

Founder Of Cookes Furniture Dies
From the Sutton Observer website -
www.thisissuttoncoldfield.co.uk

"The funeral of a well respected Sutton businessman will take place next Friday (April 25). Ted Cooke, founder of Cookes Furniture, passed away last week, aged 83.

A service will take place at 12 noon at St Michael's Church, Boldmere, followed by a private service at Sutton Coldfield Crematorium.

Family flowers only are requested.

Donations to Mr Cooke's favourite charity, the Great Midlands Fun Run, can be made c/o Ian Hazel Funerals Ltd, 5 Belwell Lane, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield, B74 4AA."

Fire - Windsor House - Jarvis Road - No-One Hurt www.firekills.gov.uk
A fire occurred recently in the middle tower block - Windsor House - about halfway up the block. No-one hurt.

Fire - Abbeyfield Road - Sunday 9/3/2008 - Update - Was Subsequently Fatal www.firekills.gov.uk
(The top end of Witton Lodge Road). From the Sutton Observer website www.thisissuttoncoldfield.co.uk;

`A woman is recovering in hospital after being dragged from her burning home at the weekend. The 49-year-old woman, who has not been named, was admitted to the intensive care unit at Good Hope Hospital following a blaze at her Erdington flat. She had to be pulled from the ground-floor property on Abbeyfield Road at around 3am on Sunday after neighbours saw smoke billowing from the kitchen door.

Her condition was thought to be life-threatening when she was admitted on Sunday, but further details were not being released to the media as the Observer went to press.

It is thought the fire started in the kitchen after food was left cooking in the oven.

Neighbours alerted the fire brigade after smelling the smoke from her home and then hearing her fire alarm.

"We were on the scene quite quickly, as were the paramedics," said Mick Walsh of Erdington Fire Station.

"It was quite lucky that the neighbours smelled the smoke and heard her alarm because of the double glazing.

"We say it enough but it really shows how important it is to get a proper, working fire alarm installed."

A spokesperson for the West Midlands Ambulance Service said: "The woman has suffered critical injuries after the house fire in Erdington. Crews immediately started resuscitation attempts. She was taken on blue lights to Good Hope Hospital where medics were on standby to receive her."

Fire investigations officers say they are not treating the blaze as suspicious.'

(As the updated headline says - this fire was subsequently fatal).

Court Lane And Madehurst Road Junction Clean Up
From Erdington Conservatives;

"Your local Conservative Team cleaned up the rubbish around the junction ..... We managed to collect more than 5 big bags of rubbish and have reported the site to the Council so hopefully they will maintain it's current state."

Jarvis Road And Somerset Road Alley Clean Up
From Erdington Conservatives;

"Local campaigner Jessie Holland carried out a litter pick and weed clearance along the alley ... a large amount of plastic bags containing dog mess were found along with a number of needles and foil.

Jessie says, `We have reported the mess to the Council Hygiene Squad ..... we have also reported the matter to the police ..... '"

Short Heath Park Clean Up
From Erdington Conservatives;

"Robert (Alden) and Gareth (Compton) arranged for a Short Heath Park to be given a special `deep clean' following complaints from residents ...... The two-day clean up at the end of January has left the park looking better than it has in a long time."

Planning Application Objection - Land At Rear Of 296 - 306 Gravelly Lane
(From next to the Rose and Crown up to Enstone Road and on that side of Gravelly Lane - at the back of those houses). Erdington's two Tory Cllrs Robert Alden and Gareth Compton have formally objected on the grounds;

"1. We feel the proposal would badly affect the amount of sunlight which could get into houses on Goosemoor Lane, Gravelly Lane and Enstone Road, where properties back onto the site.

2. We feel the application is out of keeping with the area ........

3. We feel it would adversely affect traffic flow..........

4. We feel the plan is over intensive for the plot of land......

5. We feel part demolition of a perfectly good family house (296) is entirely unacceptable at a time when we should be trying to preserve family homes.

6. We are concerned about the health aspects and environmental impacts of the application as it is proposed to have a carpark backing onto residential property ........

7. We are concerned about inaccuracies in the plan ...... "

We have also requested a site visit by the Planning Committee ...... we are collecting a petition."

Contact details;

Cllr Gareth Compton (Tory), C/O Council House, Birmingham B1 1BB [email protected]
Cllr Robert Alden (Tory),
C/O Council House, Birmingham B1 1BB  [email protected]

Ref N/07144/07/FUL

Planning Dept website;

www.birmingham.gov.uk/planning

Short Heath Park Clean Up
From Erdington Tories;

"The Council has agreed to carry out two special deep cleans of Short Heath Park ....... The first of these has happened already recently when the Council spent a day picking up litter etc. They will be doing this again in coming days ...... These are special clean ups in addition to the ones which happen normally during the month."

Rose And Crown Alley Clean Up
From Erdington Tories;

"This times it was the alley running between Goosemoor Lane and Gravelly Lane that was the target of a clean up. Between them the Conservative Campaign team managed to collect 12 bags of rubbish from along the alley. The rubbish ranged from beer cans and bottles to sweet and crisp wraps but also building parts from the contractors who have been working on the next door site. These have been reported to the Council and we are calling on the Council to take action against these contractors leaving dangerous items behind."

Goosemoor Lane Clean Up
Again Erdington Tories;

"We have successfully got the Council to clean up the tree-root area, the weeds in the pavement and gullys of the road along Goosemoor Lane. We have also got the Council to do the neighbouring roads."

Failed Camber - Goosemoor Lane
The road-camber has failed on the odd side of Goosemoor Lane at the junction with Gravelly Lane (so a very large puddle forms in the rain). Reported for repair ages ago but not fixed. Reported again.

Speeding Incident - Goosemoor Lane
Many makes of car now have the spare-wheel attached underneath instead of in the boot, and we have those two "tippex islands". On Sunday night (6/1/2008) one speeding motorist decided to drive over instead of round the one by Top Croft Road - and tore the spare wheel clean off the bottom of the car and it bounced along the road behind the car for several yards!

It could have been quite a serious incident. Just as well the road was empty. They did stop and re-attached it underneath.

Another Phone-Mast On Cranleigh House
Abseilers were working on the outside of it near the top some months back - Monday 18/6/2007. To do with the Mast (installing a small one). Another one has now been added.

Alley Cleaned - Bottom Of Court Lane Area
From the Sutton Observer website
www.thisissuttoncoldfield.co.uk

`A neglected alley in Erdington got a new lease of life last week after volunteers pulled out all the stops to get it clear. The alley, situated between Marsh Lane and Summer Road, was dirty and neglected with litter and rubbish strewn about the place. But last week Stockland Green and Erdington Conservatives pulled together to make the alley - which is used by people walking to the High Street and rail station - spick and span.

"Residents had come to me expressing their concerns about the alley being so dirty and unsafe to walk along due to all the rubbish building up and becoming wet and slippy," explained Stockland Green Conservatives local campaigner Matt Bennett.

"I decided that I should ensure it was clean for the local residents. For too long Stockland Green and its residents have been ignored. I'm determined to ensure that doesn't continue and that the Stockland Green residents have the quality of life they deserve. That's why I am fighting to put the green back into Stockland Green."'

Court Lane Grass Verge/Speeding Havoc/Inferior Road Surface - Latest
More white marker-lines have been added all along Court Lane now in attempt to better control traffic. See what effect it has.

Erdington Cllr Robert Alden now wants to hear from residents about this and has started a petition;

[email protected]

This issue has been rumbling on for ages - by The Greyhound pub - see the Crime AND News page for more background re past events there etc. This from the Great Barr Observer at www.thisisgreatbarr.co.uk

`Disgruntled residents fear a nasty accident will have to take place on their road before something is done to slow traffic down. Court Lane in Kingstanding is a busy route used by hundreds of drivers every day, but several blind spots mean drivers are often caught out by the sharp bends, and crash into walls or fences. With more than 20 accidents on the road already this year, residents say it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt.

John Baldock, who lives in Court Lane, has had two cars written off on the driveway and a car crash straight into his wall.

"It's atrocious," he said. "We have been told that until somebody dies nothing can be done to slow traffic down - it's unbelievable."

John has two children, aged 12 and seven, and says he does not even let them go to shops alone because the road is just too dangerous.

He added: "Our biggest fear is we have small children, elderly people and disabled people on this road and someone's going to get hurt, but the council won't do anything."

In the last six months nine houses have had to make repairs to walls and fences. Street lights and trees have been knocked down and replaced.

One house has had a car smash through the garden straight into a front bay window, and another resident has had three cars parked on the driveway written off.

Kingstanding councillor Catharine Grundy said: "The statistics are unbelievable. Court Lane is a very dangerous road, especially when you consider that so many of these accidents involve vehicles leaving the road and crossing the pavement. In order to get real action we need the Council to take these into account, but currently they will only consider accidents where someone is injured and it is reported to police, when they are looking at their priorities for traffic calming."

Residents are calling for an island at the junction with Fosseway Drive to slow traffic down or more signs to be put up warning people the speed limit on the stretch is still 30mph.

Birmingham City Council said the highways department receives many requests for highway improvements across the city and any requests are assessed and prioritised.

A Council spokeswoman said: "Court Lane does not currently have sufficient high priority for traffic management improvement.

"However, arrangements have been made to carry out carriageway markings as part of the routine highways maintenance works programme in the near future, which will help to outline restrictions in the area."'

Court Lane Fire - More
From the Birmingham Mail on Friday 14/9/2007;

`A woman was taken to hospital after fire broke out on the ground floor of a house in Birmingham. The incident happened at Court Lane, in Short Heath, Erdington at 10.06pm yesterday. A West Midlands Fire Service spokeswoman said, "It was an incident involving a small fire in a rear ground floor room"'

Latest - West Midlands Fire Service will be carrying out smoke alarm tests etc in the area;

0800 389 5525

Another Road Accident - The Spinney
(This may have involved unlawful driving - i.e. should be a Crime Page entry - we shall see) Monday afternoon 10/9/2007. Another accident involving a non-Travel WM bus circling the Spinney terminus and a car coming along Court Lane (which buses pull out in front of both lanes of). Traffic Police were in attendance suggesting at least one person had been injured. Second accident like that there in the last few months at least.

"Punch And Judy" Update
More of this new feature. For the first time since about 1996, the Erdington Ward has a "split" set of Cllrs (2 Labour, 1 Tory in 2006 and now 1 Labour and 2 Tory). See Links page for their details. In the Erdington Constituency ALL three main parties are represented now at Ward level (from all Labour a few years back).

Here I'll be updating any "punch and judy" activity between the 3 that in my view harms Erdington's overall interests. 2 things so far, one fairly minor;

1. At the first Erdington Ward public meeting since the "split" it seemed the 2 Labour Cllrs hit upon a ploy to make sure one of them always chaired the meeting and the Tory never did. One simply (and quickly) nominated the other at the very start of the meeting during the welcoming procedure. Somebody present COULD then nominate the Tory, forcing a vote, but that would hold up the meeting - so it seems no other nomination would get made!

2. From the Sutton Observer www.suttoncoldfieldobserver.co.uk

`Rubbish sparked a party political row between Councillors at a recent meeting of the Erdington Constituency committee.

Conservative councillor, Robert Alden, trashed claims that the constituency's Labour councillors had previously voted in favour of weekly rubbish collections.

"None of the Labour councillors voted in favour of weekly collections," he said, but claims he was branded a "liar" by the Labour contingent.

Cllr Robert Alden produced the results of the vote, taken at a full Council meeting on June 5, which show how each of the four councillors in Erdington, Tyburn, Kingstanding and Stockland Green wards voted, (see results below).

Three councillors - two Conservative and one Liberal Democrat - voted in favour of weekly collections in Erdington.

Four Labour councillors voted against the motion with one abstention and four not voting.

But Labour councillor Penny Holbrook has hit back at the claims saying a vital amendment to the motion was not taken into account.

"Councillor Alden's claims are not true," she said. "We fully support weekly collections but only while there is a need for them. Who can tell what will happen in five or ten years time when recycling is at its peak? But while it is feasible and while the public feel there is a need we will always support weekly collections."

For retention of Weekly rubbish collections:

Cllr Robert Alden, Erdington, Conservative; Cllr Gareth Compton, Erdington, Conservative; Cllr Ann Holtom, Tyburn, Liberal Democrat.

Against weekly collections:

Cllr Lynda Clinton, Tyburn, Labour; Cllr Mick Finnegan, Stockland Green, Labour; Cllr Penny Holbrook, Stockland Green, Labour; Cllr Peter Kane, Kingstanding, Labour.

Abstensions:

Cllr Catherine Grundy, Kingstanding, Labour.

The remaining four Labour councillors did not vote.'

(Sutton Observer tends to be more Tory-friendly than Labour-friendly - just thought I'd point that out!)

Dropped Kerbs - More
This came up some months back, the Council wanted all of those with driveways for cars to have dropped kerbs installed on the pavement. Here is the Council page;

Council dropped kerbs page, www.birmingham.gov.uk/droppedkerbs

Minor Bus Crash - Court Lane - The Spinney
(This might have involved a traffic offence - we shall see - so scant details here). Wednesday 13/6/2007 around 3pm. One of the "independent" buses was in collision with a car. Police were in attendance but I don't think anyone was injured. A very young child was aboard one vehicle.

Traffic Survey/Speed Check - Jarvis Road
(Courtesy of Cllr Alden) Police conducted a speed check on Jarvis Road during the last week in April. Over all they found that only approx 5% of traffic speeds could be actionable. Although not as serious as elsewhere, they did admit that some cars were going very fast.

Suspected Drunk-Driver Arrested After Large Crash On Goosemoor Lane
On Thursday night/Friday morning 26-27/4/2007 around 0.15am  a driver was arrested by police after a road incident at the Kirkwood Avenue junction in which no-one was injured. More on this after any court proceedings.

Cllr Robert Alden is looking into road-calming.

(This report will be moved to Crime Page depending on those court proceedings).

These Issues Have Been Raised By A Resident With Cllr Alden - His Responses
1. Rubbish left for weeks by the Council bin on Goosemoor Lane opposite the Church of Christ.. This is now causing more rats in the area.

"We have contacted the fleet and refuse department regarding this and asked that it be collected more regularly."

2. Rubbish bins being emptied at Cookes Furniture (twice a week) this is done at 6.00am, when the vehicles reverse they are fitted with reversing proximity bleepers, this is not a welcome noise at this hour!

"We have contacted the environmental health department and reported it as noise nuisance. They will now carry out some monitoring."

3. What is the criteria for a residents parking scheme? Whenever there is a "special event" at Cookes (e.g. a sale) then the road is chaotic with traffic.

"A residents parking scheme would require over 60% of the road to vote in favour ....... It would mean that residents would have to pay yearly for a parking permit. Schemes only guarantee ONE permit per house and therefore could mean that you would not be able to park all your vehicles on the road."

4. More traffic calming measure in the road the as current "spot islands" are not effective.

 " ..... we collected a petition on this very issue a few months ago and it is currently being processed by the Transportation department ...... "

5. Finally can you find out what opening restrictions the restaurant has in Cookes as there seems to be people leaving the premises very late at night.

"We have contacted the licence department regarding this to find out the details ........ "

Erdington Labour Party Info
They've actually started sending me stuff  (must be an election coming - oh yeah, there is) and here is what is relevant to this area;

"We are liaising* closely with Erdington's policing team, and have worked in partnership to provide neighbourhood police stations in Rookery House and Jarvis Road. We also share your concern about the often poor-quality of local street-lighting, and as a result we are committed to upgrading street lighting wherever possible. As a result we have recently authorised a major street lighting improvement scheme in Goosemoor Lane."

* A word very often spelt wrong and they did - put liasing -  I've corrected it fffor them above. Our schools are in safe hands then?

Man Found Dead - Gravelly Lane/Jarvis Road Junction - Yet More
From the Sutton Observer, www.thisissuttoncoldfield.co.uk

`A middle-aged man lay dying, face-down on a grass verge at the side of a busy main road in Sutton. He was obviously in trouble, yet dozens of people walked on by. Their actions have sickened one of the two Sutton men who did stop to help.

Daniel Woodward, aged 23, who lives in Boldmere, was driving down Gravelly Lane last Monday (February 19) at around 12.30pm when he noticed a young man trying to get assistance from passers-by. Then he saw the older man lying face down on the ground near the junction with Goosemoor Lane and stopped in his tracks.

"I was on the way towards Erdington when I saw a man on his mobile phone looking shocked and worried and there was an older man lying on the ground," recalled Mr Woodward. "People were just walking past."

"I parked up and went over to help. We turned him over and he was blue and had stopped breathing. I quickly realised that all the time this guy had been dead on the floor."

Yet despite their obvious difficulties, nobody offered to help or to call an ambulance.

Mr Woodward continued: "Several people walked by and two men stopped, but when they found out he was dead they just ran off."

The ambulance arrived and the paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene.

Police also attended and, after interviewing Mr Woodward and the other man, allowed the pair to leave.

Now Mr Woodward says he is 'sickened' by the behaviour of passers-by who chose to ignore their pleas for help.

"It was absolutely sickening," he said. "If that was a member of their family I'm sure they would like to think someone would help them.

"I've got no first aid knowledge at all but at least I tried to help. Everyone's got a mobile phone on them nowadays so they could have called 999 at least.

"Even if they thought he was drunk they could have seen what the problem was and sorted him out."

Steve Parry, spokesperson for the West Midlands Ambulance Service, confirmed the incident, saying: "Ambulance paramedics did attend the scene at around 1pm.

"It was a male thought to be in his late 50s who had collapsed in the street.

"Paramedics certified the patient dead at the scene. It was natural causes."

Now of course I wasn't there but this was right at the end of our road. Some Press accounts had people walking over the poor stricken man (I suspected that wasn't true). The most probable version would be, lying on that grass-verge by Jarvis Road is NOT that unusual - and when people saw others then helping and with a phone just left it at that. As for people running off - that's probably paranoia about the possibility of being falsely accused.

(The number of times I'm warned over the website - that police might accuse me of doing the stuff I'm mentioning! And an idiot Council employee then did of course. Famously happened at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics too of course - a security guard found a bomb, was then accused of planting it! The real bomber then later found).

So the area hasn't quite covered itself in glory, not quite what appeared in some quarters though.

More from later issues of the same newspaper.

`The family of a man who was left lying on a busy street after he had collapsed has thanked the people who stopped to help him.

Cornelious Collins, known as Con, died of natural causes on Monday, February 19 after he collapsed on Gravelly Lane, near to his home. He was 51. Then, the Observer reported how most people walked by, but that he was helped by 23-year-old Daniel Woodward and an unknown man.

Now Con's sister, Eileen Hatfield, has contacted the Observer to publicly thank the people who helped her brother during his dying minutes.

"Con was a kind and generous man who fell on hard times towards the later days of his life," said Eileen.

"But we are sure that put in the same situation he would have been there offering assistance.

"Our family would like to thank Daniel Woodward and the unnamed person who stopped to help our brother.

"We thought it was really kind and we just wanted them to know."'

Spinney Now Cleaned Up
(The fenced off woodland at the junction of Court Lane and Witton Lodge Road - the 7 and 65 bus terminus).
From Cllr Robert Alden

"It's not perfect but much better than before. We are asking for it to be regularly cleaned from now on to stop it getting back to the situation it was in. Also we will be starting a campaign for a bin to put there as it clearly needs one for all the people getting on and off buses there."

Parking On The Pavement - Gravelly Lane
I got a complaint about cars parking on the pavement between the Oliver Road and Station Road junctions (both sides). Cars half on and half off the pavement. Very few houses there have garages. The pavement is often obstructed to buggies etc.

This has now been passed onto police by the Council.

However;

Be aware that situation allows Gravelly Lane at that stretech to always be clear in BOTH directions for traffic to move. Anything that makes residents park completely in the road WILL congest that busy road.

Bulky Rubbish Collections - Free
If you have old fridges, beds, cupboards etc - the Council will collect them free of charge. 0121 303 1112. You are limited to 6 items however.

Campaign To Build A Path Through The Park www.birmingham.gov.uk/parks
Another long running campaign set to succeed now. More as I get it. One existed before (see History Page "Do You Remember?") but is now over-grown.

Gravelly Lane Car Crash Cuts Gas To Homes
(Birmingham Mail - Nov 28 2006)

"FOUR houses were left without gas when a car mounted a pavement and smashed into a pipe.

Homes in Gravelly Lane, Erdington, were cut off at 10.35pm yesterday when a driver lost control of his Ford Fiesta.

It collided with an external gas pipe connected to one of the properties.

The property was not badly damaged but the pipe fractured. Firefighters performed an emergency repair job.

The Fiesta also collided with street signs and hit a parked Rover. It was being driven by an 18-year-old man and his girlfriend was also in the car.

Police were today investigating the accident."

MP Lends A Hand With Community Tidy-Up
(Sutton Observer) The project, organised by Kelly Fogarty from the YMCA (Fosseway Drive), was part of Make a Difference Day which gives people the opportunity to give a day of their time to contribute something positive to the local community.

"Make a Difference Day provides a great opportunity for people to contribute something to their local community without having to put their hand in their pocket," said Mr Simon

The play area has been installed beside Court Farm Primary School.

Another Accident On The Bend - Goosemoor Lane - More
Wed 14/9/2006 around 9.50pm. In the wet. As ever a car came down from towards Court Lane too fast and failed to take the Bend. Mounted the pavement by the Anstey but somehow missed everything down by there (the fence, trees, telegraph-pole, lamp-posts, keep-left signs etc) before venturing back onto the road and venturing on it's journey.

All sorts of traffic-calming in place already there but not enough. A chevron-sign used to be there too and has either fallen down or been obscured by bushes. It should be easy to get that put back up though and I reported that - got this back from the Council though.

"An inspector has recently visited the location stated in your e-mail and has advised that the signs and traffic calming are of a good standard and meet the necessary requirements for the location."

Court Lane Grass Verge To Remain - But Another Accident
(See Crime Page for more about the stolen-car accidents there etc). Some residents wanted this verge by the Greyhound partly removed and then used for parking. However some want it to remain (according to the Council Ward report). It will remain, factors in the Council decision;

The dispute between residents,

Grass verges are a valuable amenity,

Money (as ever),

Sufficient parking already,

However another accident occurred there on Sat 2/9/2006 around 2pm. Vehicles travelling too fast in the wet and skidding when reaching the bend (is it sign-posted beforehand in both directions?) It's worth noting that unless someone is injured (and no-one was) police usually aren't made aware to factor it in with any later decisions.

Tree Down! Goosemoor Lane - Road Blocked - Sat 2/9/2006
We had a tree blown down in Goosemoor Lane near the Court Lane junction - blocking the actual road. It caught telegraph-lines on the way down, pulling those down brought down guttering on some houses and brought the pole down too.

The Fire Service did NOT attend as no-one was trapped (and no-one was) so the Council had to clear it (road was blocked for several hours around 10pm-5pm). The Fire Service told the Council.

I was not aware of problems up by there. In the past trees have been checked when reported by residents.

Needs to be an investigation though, the wind was not that bad.

Road Accident - Goosemoor Lane
Another minor shunt along the road as a van hit a car, no-one injured. Sat 15/7/2006 at 11.10am by the Kirkwood Avenue junction. Bear in mind when the road was built we didn't have as many cars, large business premises requiring lorries, side-roads off and driveways to reverse off, the 66 bus and people using mobile phones whilst driving etc.

Hence all these little shunts along the road. Bear all that in mind when driving along Goosemoor Lane, all sorts of hazards along it.

Station Road Bridge Walkway To Be Widened
(See the Crime Page for the recent hit and run there). One side of this walkway is very narrow and widening work was scheduled to start in 2003. This has kept coming up in Ward meetings and the campaign started in 1936! Latest plans;

Negotiations have started with Network Rail, the bridge owner and associated land. Provision of 90, 000 is contained for detail design work. Network Rail Have been invited prepare a contract to deliver the work.

New Wardens Provided For The Topcroft Estate
(From Robert Alden - Local Cllr)

`Only a month after being elected as Councillor for Erdington, Cllr Robert Alden, this month, announced a new clean up team for the Topcroft Estate. It consists of 2 caretakers and 2-3 cleaners who will be for the use of the Topcroft Estate and Jarvis Road. Cllr Robert Alden said "This is the first time the estate has had this kind of support to help keep it clean. The addition of this team, by the Conservative led Council, also demonstrates how important the residents’ quality of life is felt to be by the Council".

Local campaign organiser Gareth Compton added "this is further proof that the Conservatives keep their promises, we fought the election on a Cleaner, Greener, Safer streets mantle and this is helping to make sure we deliver. I ask residents can you remember this ever happening under the old oppressive Labour administration? The answer is no because they had a no star and failing Housing department. Under the Conservatives we have a one star and improving department according to the independent audit Commission and we are helping all residents of Erdington regardless of where they live".'

Road Accident - Goosemoor Lane
A minor shunt between two cars occurred at the Kirkwood Avenue junction in the wet, 7am Tues 27/6/2006. No-one hurt. (Be aware of the re-surfacing issue about Goosemoor Lane in the wet - see stone mastic asphalt report below).

Road Accident On Bend - Correction
Morning of Sunday 4/6/2006 around 4am. Some car speeding from the Court Lane end of Goosemoor Lane to Gravelly Lane but failed to take the Bend! Nearly ended up in the Anstey. I ealier said narrowly missed a tree but in fact it hit it! (Always be aware of walking by the Bend on that side as cars still rush down to there). No idea of casualties.

Car Accident - Goosemoor Lane
Evening of Monday 8/5/2006 on the Bend (this might explain the uprooted keep-left sign there now). No-one hurt from what I can tell.

Yet Another Low Bridge Incident In the Area - Chester Road
(Sutton News/Sutton Observer) Nine cars were severely damaged by a JCB carried on a lorry which struck the underside of the bridge and it's arm then swung out onto the cars. No injuries. Friday 28/4/2006 at 1pm. Train services were delayed for 20 minutes.

Station Road in Wylde Green, Chester Road, Station Road and Summer Road in Erdington all have low railway bridges with an increasing roll-call of major accidents.

Bridge Accident - Gravelly Lane
Friday 3/3/2006 at around 6pm, the railway bridge across Gravelly Lane (by the South Road junction) was struck by a high-sided lorry. Fire Service and police in attendance, road blocked in both directions. I'm unaware if anyone was hurt. Fatalities have occurred in the past at this location.

Back in November we had a pedestrian seriously injured by a car at the Station Road bridge, and even the Chester Road Station one has been struck in the past (I'm unaware of the record of the Wylde Green one further along the same line).

All these low narrow bridges in the area. The issue needs looking at in a wholistic way.

College High School - City Academies Controversy
There are plans to turn some schools into "city academies" and this is a controversial move. College High (formerly Perry Common Secondary School) is one such school (no others in north Birmingham are in the plan). Here is one side of the story;

www.banut.net/campaigns.html

If you are concerned about this issue can I advise you to contact the school or Sion Simon MP etc for more information;

www.collegeh.bham.sch.uk

Erdington Action Plan
Birmingham City Council have plans for Erdington High Street and here is the relevant page;

www.birmingham.gov.uk/erdingtonplan

Paper Recycling Container Fills Quickly
The large container where you can put waste-paper for recycling situated at the Gravelly Lane junction outside the Costcutter shop fills very quickly though the Council seems to keep up with emptying it - just!

www.birmingham.gov.uk/recycling

Long-Standing Street-Lamp Issues
The Beech Road Inset area has no lamps (see Glossary). I have reported this for future consideration.

The Jarvis Road Estate; None of the side-lights illuminating the base of Alnwick House work. None of the side-lights illuminating the base of Arundel House work. All of the side-lights illuminating the base of Windsor House work (compare it to the areas above to see the big lighting difference it makes to the area around the block). All of the side-lights illuminating the base of Berkley House work. Only half the side-lights illuminating the base of Stokesay House work.

On Jarvis Road not far from Pertemps is a lamp obscured by an over-hanging tree. Has been reported for pruning. When it is that lamp will illuminate an unlit garage area too.

I'm a firm believer that if a system of street-lighting exists it should be functioning. (I've christened the 3 Top Croft Estate maisonette blocks on my website Glossary Page for clarity, though I'm unaware how widespread usage is;

North Block - the one nearest Goosemoor Lane.

West Block - the one stretching parallel lengthways to Short Heath Park.

South Block - the one nearest Cayton Grove).

All these have a system of 2 exterior lights on their side and 1 above both entrances/exits. So I count each block to have 6 exterior wall lights, so 18 in all. Only 3 work it seems, on the South Block (none vandalised it seems). If you stand on the short side of that South Block, the short side that doesn't face the Park, you'll see 2 side lamps on and the light given off is very good (another is on by the entrance/exit). Multiply that by 6 by fixing all the other exterior wall lamps that are attached to these 3 blocks of maisonettes and the estate will be considerably lightened, especially some previously dark areas. I have reported all of these for repair.

The lamp at the back of the Top Croft South Maisonette Block (see Glossary page) is still off, so is the other one now!

Another at the junction car-park of Goosemoor/Hawthorn is out. This is classed as private so no word on repair.

A lamp in the driveway of LA Gym/Pavillion Housing on Gravelly Lane is out. Private again.

The specific Council webpage for reporting broken lamps etc is;

www.birmingham.gov.uk/streets or ring 0121 303 6000 or email [email protected]

Pigeons - Jarvis Road/Top Croft Estate
These birds have no owner and have become a severe pest. Some residents are being forced to fence off balconies etc. I will speak to the Council to see what can be done.

Land At The Back Of The Woodyard - For Sale?
This rumour has been doing the rounds (Littlecote Drive Public Open Space aka The Common). I've asked the Council and so far nothing back. This land is part of their wider public space strategy.

Park Cleaner www.birmingham.gov.uk/parks
The park is cleaned weekly by a company called Service Team (tel 0121 764 3333). They use the same person as when the Council did it! He reports things for repair etc. Nice to know someone is looking after it.

Calls For Traffic Calming On Court Lane (See Crime Page) - More
(Sutton News) Some residents want traffic calming after a series of incidents. On Monday morning 2.30am on 10/11/2003 and 10.30pm on 14/9/2003 vehicles collided with parked vehicles.

Parking Problems
Somerset Road/Gravelly Lane junction - Cars are parking on the pavement and too near this junction. A Traffic Regulation Order is going to drawn up, such as double yellow lines. However this will take time.

A resident has since emailed;

"Do you know if it is possible to get double yellow lines outside the shop at the corner of Goosemoor and Gravelly Lane? Cars park on the bend when using the shop and this causes disruption for cars turning left and buses turning right at this junction."

I will pass this on to the Council.

New Estate Planned
This is in the very early stages but plans are being drawn up for a new estate to sit between the Top Croft and Jarvis Road Estates (on what is now the Court Lane Allotments etc). Updates will be here.

Anstey Fence Strengthened - The Great Escape? - More Land Sought
I'm almost expecting to see Steve McQueen ride his motorbike round it! The Anstey is fenced off (again and much stronger now) so work can start on it (the fence was being torn down each time by some determined person(s) unknown!) This has been bought for housing by developer Walton Homes, subject to planning permission. Where the traffic will come out I don't know, hopefully not by the Goosemoor Lane bend (there were traffic problems when Hawthorn Close was being built). Originally the Anstey entrance was on Gravelly Lane but that is part of the Alexandra building there now. It means less open space in the area but with homes on flood-plains now being seen as a bad idea I suppose they have to build somewhere nationally.

(Sutton News 13/6/2003) A third party is wanting to buy adjacent land that is currently gardens on Chester Road and sell it to the developer. Hints that exit traffic will be onto Goosemoor Lane.

Dodgy Lamps - List
Since I've started monitoring this I've found the same lamps tend to go again and again, rather than every lamp bulb having the same "life" (it's not vandalism). They should last several years but some last only a few months. It may be the lamps not the bulbs that's to blame! Here's the "dodgy lamp" list for the area.

Lamp 1, Bowling Green Close (at the Goosemoor junction)
Lamp 15, Gravelly Lane (just before the post office going towards Station Road)

Here's the Transport Dept report on those first 3;

"From an enquiry into the street lighting maintenance system the lamp in Goosemoor Lane had been reported faulty on 4 occasions by a member of the public yet we have no report from our night inspectors. This may indicate a faulty time switch that is late in switching and the lamp is operating when the night patrol see it. The time switch will be replaced for a photoelectric cell that will operate automatically dusk and dawn. These devices are unaffected by power cuts and this should cure the problem. The other two street lamps in Bowling Green Close and Gravelly Lane have each received 2 fault reports in the last 12 months and this does not indicate a problem area. However, we will ensure they are monitored carefully over the next few weeks."

The report on Lamp 20 bears almost no resemblance to what has been going on with it over the last year, reported here each time it's gone off. (It was not coming back on very late at night each time, nothing like that. Some along Sycamore Road were doing that. Lamp 20 was being fixed within a week but going again after a few months. How come it's bulb is much brighter now? How could that occur if the Council report is true? It's a different bulb). The other 2 should last far more than 6 months. I will be pursuing lighting issues across the whole city now. The present system seems pretty hopeless.

Learner-Drivers At The Bowling Green Close Junction
Specific road junctions are popular with local driving-instructors teaching pupils how to do certain turns etc. The Goosemoor Lane/Bowling Green Close junction is one such place. Be aware of this when near that junction.

Weather Warnings
The Met Office sometimes slip up as they can't give very localised patterns. I now can detect severe storms coming into the area (though sometimes only 1/2 hour etc notice). I've wondered how to make use of this via the site. The E-Group will be used for this. Bear in mind I won't always be able to get to a computer always or be with my instruments, so not every storm will be forecast. Each alert will also link to the official Birmingham Met Office site etc so you can see who is the more accurate (time constraints mean I can't give a daily forecast).

Sion Simon MP Is Losing His Sight
Sad news, our MP is gradually going blind. He has a condition called choroideremia There is no known cure or treatment so gradually over a period of years he expects to lose his sight completely, and it has already started to happen. He intends continuing as our MP though.

Additions? Comments? Queries? Corrections? email Gary O'Brien at [email protected]

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