Consultation On Conservatives’ Boundary Change Proposals


The Boundary Commission are proposing new boundaries for the Council Wards in Birmingham coupled with a reduction in the number of Councillors from the present 120 to around 100.

All political parties, and anyone else, can draw up their suggestions and submit them to the Boundary Commission for consideration. Plans must of course fit certain guidelines in terms of size of electorate, total number of Councillors, etc. It is the Boundary Commission who make the final decision and not any individual political party.

Conservatives across Birmingham have been consulting on our group’s proposals for some weeks, and today we were in Harborne High Street where I’m pleased to say our proposals received a lot of support.


Summer Clean Up

Cllr Matt Bennett and I were hard at work at the big summer clean up on the Waterworks Estate in Edgbaston this morning – helping to keep our ward clean and tidy. clean up august 7th 009

Vote Conservative On Thursday


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Liam Byrne’s Infamous Letter

Excellent performance by David Cameron on tonight’s Leader’s Question Time.

Good to see him highlighting the letter Birmingham MP Liam Byrne left behind on leaving office in 2010.¬†Sheer stupidity on Mr Byrne’s part.


Wreath Making In Edgbaston

Today Groundwork ran their second Christmas wreath making session in Edgbaston in less than a week. Last Friday they were at the Roman Way event, and today on the Waterworks Estate, where I popped along to see them this morning.

A number of residents came along to make their own Christmas wreath – and help make the estate look festive! The event was funded via Community First.

Admiring the Christmas wreaths!

Admiring the Christmas wreaths!



Kerslake Review

Today the Kerslake Review reported its independent review of the governance and organisational capabilities of Birmingham City Council.

To pick out a few points: the review states that the narrative within Birmingham and the Council needs to become more positive. I agree. It’s clearly time for Sir Albert to stop his doom and gloom narrative of recent years. The report suggests the public and businesses are crying out for a more positive vision but that instead, too often, Birmingham Council sees itself as a victim.

It states there is a blurring of roles between members and officers. I agree with that too. Since Labour returned to power in 2012, too many decisions are made by officers which previously were made by politicians. Unfortunately, in my opinion, a lot of the new Labour Councillors don’t seem to realise the power which Councillors have lost under Sir Albert (because they have only been around a couple of years).

The report says the current devolution arrangements within the city are confused and few people understand them. I tend to agree with that too. The Kerslake review’s solution is for District Committees to take on more of a Scrutiny role. This is a complete reversal of Sir Albert’s idea that District Chairmen should be semi Cabinet members. The report also suggests a drastic reduction in the number of other Scrutiny Committees. With so few Departments these days (everything’s been merged together) that would make sense.

The report suggests that all out elections should take over from Birmingham’s current “one third at a time” system. I agree with that too. The suggestion is that this should start in 2017, and that ward sizes would change – possibly to 100 wards each with just one Councillor (instead of the current 40 wards with 3 Councillors). That would mean no cover when Councillors were ill or on holiday and doesn’t seem an awfully sensible suggestion to me.

And finally, in this brief resume, the report notes that Birmingham gives a high priority to Refuse Collection and Waste Disposal – but goes on to say that the evidence suggests it is under performing in this area. Recycling rates are lower and the incidence of fly tipping amongst the highest in the country, it says. There is also considerable dis-satisfaction from residents about both the service and how the Council communicates. I agree with these comments too – and have been saying so for a long time. There was basically no recycling the last time Labour were in control (pre 2004). The Conservatives took over and introduced a massive and successful recycling roll out. Then Labour took over again in 2012, and the service has once again nose dived. The green waste charge has been a disaster – leading to angry residents, and an increase in fly tipped green waste.

And on that note, this weekend the reminders went out by email to people who signed up for the green collection last year, saying that they need to pay again. And yesterday I had the first phone call from a resident saying, “Surely I haven’t got to pay again to have my green waste collected? I thought it was just a one off payment last year to buy the bin.”

I thought it was pretty clear some people would think that. Sir Bob Kerslake was right. Birmingham does NOT communicate well with residents on the subject of waste disposal.


Mulled Wine In Roman Way

A winter barbecue with mulled wine was the order of the day on the Roman Way Estate last night, as the Tenant Management Organisation put on a Christmas community event.

It was good to see so many people making Christmas wreaths in the marquee, as well as enjoying the hospitality and having a good chat. And the mulled wine certainly warmed us all up!

James and Fergus with the TMO's new Acting Chair

James and Fergus with the TMO’s new Acting Chair