Today Matt and I went to the drop in event organised by the Midland Metro Alliance regarding forthcoming highway works which will be necessary as the Midland Metro route is extended to come down Broad Street into Edgbaston.
In particular we were keen to hear about progress on a bus gate planned for the end of George Rd (enabling into-town buses to cross the Middleway into Bath Row). Currently buses going along Wheeleys Rd, go into Frederick Rd, the Middleway and up to Five Ways.
In order to take pressure off Five Ways (as eventually the underpass will only be able to be used by the Metro) it is proposed that in future the Wheeleys Rd buses go into George Rd and Bath Row in order to access the city centre, thereby avoiding Five Ways.
The bus gate plan is currently out for consultation. National Express are introducing changes to their routes from July 22nd, and on that date (and until the bus gate is open) they will be diverting some into-town buses down Wellington Rd. We sent a letter to Wellington Rd residents few weeks ago, informing them of this development. We have been lobbying for the bus gate to be introduced so the buses can revert back to their normal route through Edgbaston and I am pleased that currently things seem to be moving fairly quickly.
More businesses, more jobs, more opportunities.
Today I was invited to a double event at Birmingham City University’s South Campus in Westbourne Road, Edgbaston.
The new building was officially opened with a ribbon cutting, and then a blue plaque was unveiled by local resident Jane Darnton from St George’s Church.
The blue plaque replaces an older one (pictured below) which celebrates the fact that Sir Oliver Lodge once lived at Mariemont, a house (also pictured below) which was on Westbourne Crescent, very close to the site of the new BCU building. The new plaque will be displayed on the side of the new building.
Mariemont House has long since disappeared but the name was originally continued in a hall of residence on the site (which has also now gone). However the gate posts to the original Victorian house, with the name Mariemont on them, can still be seen on Westbourne Crescent. Interesting local history connected to one of Edgbaston’s newest buildings!
Edgbaston Ward Conservatives’ Executive Committee held a dinner at The Physician tonight to thank former Cllr Fergus Robinson for his years of service as an Edgbaston Councillor between 2002 and 2018.
We all had some great times over the years – good fun and some great results. Some were very big majorities, and some were very narrow but we held on while other Conservative seats were lost.
All in all tonight was a very happy evening looking back over many happy years working as a team.
Conservatives were the only party in Birmingham to announce their Clean Air Plan BEFORE May’s Local Elections. That in itself should have told people that Labour had a nasty surprise up its sleeve.
Conservatives suggested new green infrastructure such as green living walls (pictured below), city benches, more use of canals, urban freight consolidations sites etc.
Labour have shunned all this and gone for the unimaginative solution of taxing some private vehicles’ drivers simply for wanting to go to work, shopping, or to the theatre and other leisure attractions in the city centre.
If this tax goes ahead, it will have lots of serious consequences. City centre businesses will surely take a hitting when they can least afford it. (House of Fraser is already going.) And wards such as Edgbaston which are likely to be just outside the charging zone will be turned into a giant car parks (like Lee Crescent above) even worse than they are already – as people get to the edge of the charging zone, dump their cars, and get on a bus or train to avoid paying the charge.
And of course – typical Labour (and this is one reason why I personally despise the Labour Party so much) – amongst motorists, it is poorer people who will be hit most – those who cannot afford to update their car to a greener cleaner model. Rich motorists with newer, greener cars will be all right, they won’t be charged (at the moment). But if these plans go ahead, poorer people who can’t afford to upgrade will be charged so much every time they enter the zone, they will effectively be barred from going to the city centre or driving through it. How much will it cost? For people whose cars fall into the category charged, it will potentially cost £2,800 just to go to work each day in the city centre. Lots of people wouldn’t be able to afford that. Labour – for the few, not the many.
In the aftermath of last month’s torrential rainfall and flooding in Edgbaston, this is what the restored bothy at the Edgbaston Guinea Gardens looked like.
Yesterday afternoon, Cllr Matt Bennett and I were given a tour of the gardens. and heard about the flood and the damage it caused from several plot holders. Fortunately, the restored bothy now looks remarkably good considering the way it was submerged, but it took a lot of work to clean up the inside.
During the rain storm, water cascaded into the Guinea Gardens site from several sources, the over flowing culvert, raised manhole covers and off neighbouring land.
Exactly where the water level rose to, was evident from the foliage all over the site – dirty leaves below the water line, clean above. There were also things such as planks which were thrown about, a lot of rubbish has been left lying around which was carried in the water, and very sadly plot holders have been advised not to eat the produce from the plants which were submerged because of pollutants which were almost certainly in the flood water.
Also, very sadly, the chimney of the last original bothy left on site (pictured) has been left leaning, and plotholders have been advised it should be taken down.
This week sees a number of events in Birmingham celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush – celebrating the journeys and lives of those who came to help rebuild the country after the Second World War.
As part of this, today saw a Public Service Day exhibition at the Tally Ho! Police Centre in Edgbaston. The Ambulance, Fire, Police, NHS, RAF, Royal Navy and the British Army all had stands. Cllr Matt Bennett and I went along and are pictured at the RAF stand. We also had a very useful talk to a representative from the Home Office.