Questions and Answers
Q1 There are a lot of larger Victorian and Edwardian properties in Acocks Green which lend themselves to a variety of uses. in recent years there has been much discussion in regard to the preservation of roads as residential roads. A recent decision on a planning application (see this link) gives some support to the idea that residential roads should where possible be retained as such in order to help preserve the community atmosphere of the neighbourhood. This issue becomes even more pressing in regard to applications to turn larger properties into what is technically known as ‘C2’ (Residential Home) accommodation. What is your view both on the general preservation of residential roads as such, and in particular on the clustering of a number of C2s in a small area, which because usually Victorian/Edwardian, will often be part of the proposed Conservation Area as well.
A I feel it is impotent to maintain the residential nature of certain roads, but also see the demand for residential care, supported living and houses of multiple occupancy increasing. I think Acocks Green benefits from and deals well with a good mix, but I can see the pressure on larger period properties. I think local people should be involved in these important planning decisions
Q2 We are currently awaiting a decision from the Boundary Commission upon the final boundaries of Acocks Green ward. The subject generated considerable heat earlier this year. However, regardless of what decision is finally taken as to where the boundaries should lie, we will become smaller as a ward, and we will have fewer councillors handling a larger number of households. In the light of what is in effect going to be reduced involvement and support from elected representatives, what is your view on Acocks Green setting up its own parish council, and would you be willing, as a councillor, to help support this? To help you here are two links (1) from Hebden Royal Town Council and (2) Notes by David Treadwell, Chair of Acocks Green Neighbourhood Forum, on parish councils
A I opposed the boundary commissions recommendations as I think it will make Birmingham and Acocks Green less democratic, our elected officials will be even less visible and less accountable. If it could be shown the people of ‘Yardley West’ wanted a parish council I would support them. I want real people involved in our democracy.
Q3 Recently, in Douglas Road Acocks Green there was much publicity, see link here following a seven-car pile-up after a speeding incident. It has so far proved impossible to charge the driver, who cannot be identified by the police. Fortunately, and amazingly, no-one was hurt. However, are you confident that a 20 mph sign in the road will prevent this kind of incident occurring in the future, or do you believe that physical traffic-calming measures may need to be installed on some of the longer and more vulnerable residential roads in Acocks Green?
A 20 mph signs may slow down some drivers. However I do not think it will have any effect on those that have no consideration to others, no one likes speed bumps, but I think it is obvious that something must be done now
Q4 Fly tipping and garden waste collection both continue to be issues of concern in this area, especially since some free council services have now become paying services. It is not disputed that government cuts to local councils present a strong challenge. What measures would you therefore put in place to prevent unsightly and in some cases insanitary, eyesores accumulating in the area this summer.
A I think it is evident to all by now that the Council’s ‘garden tax’ and charges for bulky rubbish removal has led to an increase in not only fly tipping but also garden fires. The council should provide theses services for residents at no additional charge. Our council have reserves, in my view they should use them to serve the needs of our community.
Q5 Do you believe that local ward meetings are important? What views do you have on the continuation, structure (e.g. top table/formal or informal around a shared table/circle etc) and advertising of local ward meetings? (There is a reason for including this link – see where it takes you!)
A Ward meetings should be at the centre of democratic decision-making. It’s hard work to even find out when and where they are, never mind what is on the agenda. I think it’s the responsibility of our councillors to involve all of the community. These meeting should be well advertised and welcoming to all
Q6 We are seeing an increasing trend for planning applications in Acocks Green to involve the considerable enlargement of existing properties. Sometimes these applications can throw the visual appearance of a Victorian, Edwardian or 1920s or 1930s property ‘off balance’ and can also alter the street scene for the worst. Obviously, every PA is different, and all PAs need to be considered on their individual merits. However, do you have an overall view on this?
A In my opinion any expansion of existing buildings should be in keeping with other properties locally with a focus on appearance, parking and demand for services. Local residents should be both consulted and listened to. I believe we can find the right balance
Q7 Can we count on you for positive support and vigilance once Acocks Green’s long-awaited Conservation Area is finally in place? See this AGFG post on the Conservation Area for further info (Note: a small part of Oxford Road leading away from Sherbourne Road is now also included, although not indicated in the boundary lines shown here.)
A You can count on my full support with the Conservation Area. Far too many of our buildings have already lost many of their period features. I believe strongly what remains should be preserved for the future