Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Alarming news about burglaries at the ward committee on Monday night. The police have recorded some 13 more burglaries than last year. The problem is on the west side of the Walsall Road and also in Handsworth Wood.

Some arrests have been made but it has not solved the problem.

The burglars seem to be using the late afternoon when it is dark and people may not be back from work. So one tip: leave some lights on during the day if you are not going to get home until after dark. Also make sure all your doors and windows are securely locked and valuables not left visible.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Draining a park, BMX , mountain trails and skate-boarding

Ward committee last night approved the spending of some £20,000 to drain the playing field at Turnberry Park.

This is an exciting project which should lead to the creation of new football pitches and even organised teams for several thousand homes that adjoin this small park.

The park is tucked away alongside the M6 on the Booths Farm estate. Although it has a large flat area which has been used for sports in the summer, for much of the year this area is water-logged. Water flows down from the Great Barr hills and tries to drain away into the culvert that runs alongside the M6.

The money, allocated by the ward councillors from community chest, will pay for professional drainage. The Trehurst community centre can provide a base for organised football teams.

Over the last couple of months we have been running surveys round this neighbourhood and others affected by proposed developments. Support for this project has been overwhelming, approaching 100 per cent.

The committee also had an update about another exciting project - the creation of a new BMX track in Perry Barr Park.

Perry Barr has already been selected as the British entry to host the World BMX Championships in 2012 - just a few months before the Olympics in London. As it is close to the Olympics, Britain is very hopeful we will be successful.

 The new track will replace the old one, which sits just underneath the M6.
Alongside this project, we have been working with Oscott ward councillors to site a skate-board park by the BMX track. Again we have been asking local residents about this project - and responses have been 100 per cent positive.

The city's leisure department has further plans for the site. For by the BMX track is a wood. In fact until 15 years ago it was a tree nursery for the city but it was abandoned and became overgrown. It is now inaccessible.  It runs up to the banks of the motorway and the plans for the site now include creating tracks within these woods for mountain bikers.

All this will need to be linked to the wider park. The woods run up alongside the lake in the park and this will highlight the need to get the lake sorted out.

Karen Hamilton said: "This is all great news. These projects will help improve the environment of our area at the same time as providing activities for young people and children within Perry Barr."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Grit bins

A period of silence on this blog doesn't mean nothing's been happening on the ground! Sometimes it means the opposite...that we are too busy!!

The big freeze posed the usual set of problems. It may have been the coldest weather we have had for some time.

As every time, the big concern is: are the gritters out and do we have enough grit-bins.

As some people will remember about five years ago the council slashed the number of grit-bins, leaving some very hilly and tricky roads in Great Barr without bins. This was reversed following the change of administration in 2004 and over about three years new bins were placed. Even better they were placed in consultation with local people on sites where they were needed.

What's emerged this time are one or two new sites, especially on new roads, where bins could be provided. If you had a problem please let us know and we will see if there are any more bins to spare.

Also that people have forgotten how to use them - or that new residents are not familiar with them.

In some places they were under-used. In others they ran out quickly. If it happens again, and your road is icy, please help sprinkle some grit on it! And let somebody know if the bin empties.