Very moving to be at Birmingham’s annual Remembrance Service today – exactly 100 years to the day since the end of the First World War. This year it was held by the Cathedral which worked well and there were big crowds watching the service and parade.
Afterwards, at a reception in the Council House, the Birmingham Council Choir (pictured below) performed a very moving rendition of Keep The Home Fires Burning (written in October 1914 and a very popular song during the First World War.)
Cllr Matt Bennett and I met up with many members of the Calthorpe Residents’ Society at the second consultation event of the week last night at the new Edgbaston Park Hotel in Edgbaston Park Rd.
The Calthorpe Residents’ Society had pushed for – and got – an extra consultation event about Birmingham University’s Planning application to build approx 500 new student homes and a multi storey car park in and beside Pritchatt’s Road in Edgbaston.
Representatives from the University were on hand to answer any questions, and the event was very well attended by local people.
Personally, I have grave concerns about several aspects of the scheme, not least the impact on traffic flows in an already heavily congested area.
Today Cllr Matt Bennett and I visited a consultation at the MAC regarding the proposed new crossing and cycle facilities at the Pershore Rd/Priory Rd junction. We’ve been calling for action here for years (literally) so we are delighted that improvements are at last going to be implemented. Work will hopefully start late spring.
The officers told us that they had about fifty people at the consultation yesterday and so far the plans have been very well received (although some people did raise concerns about the proposed banning of turns from Bristol Rd into Priory Rd which is happening separately).
The consultation will take place again tomorrow, in the foyer of the MAC, between 4.00pm and 7.00pm. Also tomorrow there will be another consultation – this time on the proposal to build 500 student flats and a multi storey car park in/near Pritchatts Rd. That consultation will run from 4.00pm-8.00pm tomorrow and will be held at the new Edgbaston Park Hotel in Edgbaston Park Road.
As part of the Birmingham Literary Festival, today I went to the launch of a new book – Once Upon A Time In Birmingham – Women Who Dared To Dream.
The book tells the stories of 30 inspirational Birmingham women – past and present.
Birmingham citizens were asked to nominate women they thought should be in the book. A group of girls from the Spark Young Writers Group had the unenviable task of whittling down a long list to the final 30, and the whole project was overseen by three Birmingham Councillors – Cllr Brigid Jones, Cllr Morriam Jan and myself. Today was the culmination of the project as the book was launched at the Rep Studio and then went on sale.
I get a significant number of complaints each week about missed collections – sometimes, household, or recycling, or green (which of course people have paid for) sometimes all three, and often assisted collections.
The last three weeks this has escalated. The Council introduced new working practices and it seems to me that the problems have increased massively as a result. It is clearly not just in Edgbaston either. One of my constituents told me that when she tried to report her missed collection on the Council phone line this morning, she got a recorded message saying that they were experiencing a high level of calls as a result of missed collections and that there would be a 20 minutes wait to get through. She phoned me instead.
I raised this under urgent business at today’s Housing & Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee. Something is going badly wrong and we need to find out what, and what the Council is doing to put it right.
Great to be at the third big fund raising dinner in Birmingham this year, this time with Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, as the main speaker. A great evening on the eve of the Conservative Party Conference which opens here in Birmingham tomorrow.