There has been renewed interest in suburban centre re-design in Brum in the past few weeks. The kinds of ideas Acocks Green Focus Group has been proposing since 2005 are starting to become a hot topic in the city. Cllr Martin Mullaney chaired a Birmingham City Council Transportation Strategy group discussion with Ben Hamilton-Baillie . Moseley Forum has commissioned a Hamilton-Baillie Associates designer to draw up a Shared Space Scheme for Moseley centre. See here: Birmingham Mail: Moseley Shared Space Plan 14. May 09
Meantime, Acocks Green had a by invitation only exhibition of three alternative new designs for Acocks Green in March this year. (Sorry – the ‘by invitation’ was the Council’s idea, not ours, though we managed to get a few more names added to the list!) The three designs were by James O’Sullivan of the Birmingham Landscape Practice. James has viewed the Kensington ideas and likes them, as does Acocks Green Councillor Roger Harmer, who came with us to Kensington (see our posting on Kensington below). Two of the three schemes involved making the two Acocks Green islands into one, adding some more trees, and flowers, retaining some car parking space and providing a public area for events. On special occasions one road would be closed off. Generally speaking traffic flow would be smoothed by various measures, clutter would be removed and more trees added. We would also get much needed extra parking space.
Everyone who saw these ideas seemed very enthusiastic and many positive remarks were recorded on the provided slips of paper. This seems all round a community and trader friendly scheme, which will still leave it possible for traffic to get through without problems. A 500 page traffic monitoring report has recently been submitted to Planning and Regeneration for consideration. This will need to be combined with other local reports which council officers have been working on for some time. A Local Area Action plan will follow, sometime in the late summer or early Autumn. In conjunction with this, we have been advised that there will be a further exhibition of plans, to which the general public will be invited. The date has not yet been set, but watch this space.
Meantime, below, are a quick preview of the ideas collected from the Sheffield and West Bromwhich studies: