Barnt Green’s new signposted walks

Just in time for the Community Walk and Pig Roast on 27 September, there are now 3 new signposted Walk Worcestershire paths around Barnt Green. They are the Barnt Green Circular Walk (6.5 miles), the Barnt Green Waterways Walk (5 miles) and the Barnt Green Lickey Hills Walk (4 miles). Follow this link for maps and further information.

2014 community walk and pig roast

On Saturday 27 September 2014 you are invited to join the Barnt Green community walk and pig roast. In 2013, over 200 people of all ages took part in what Worcestershire’s Countryside Access Volunteer Officer, Amanda Hill, described as the best Community Walk in the county.

As in 2013, there will be four guided walks varying from 7 miles to 2.5 miles. The walks will start and finish at Millennium Park on Hewell Road, Barnt Green and take in many local beauty spots. All the walks should arrive back at Millennium Park at about 5:30pm in time for a pig roast (vegetarian options available). Individuals and families are invited to come along on the day and join in.

Children are very welcome but, if under 16, should be accompanied by a responsible adult. There is no charge for the walk but pig roast and bar purchases will apply. Dogs on lead are welcome to join the walk.
The timetable is:

1.30pm: Walk 1 (7 miles)* leaves Barnt Green for Withybed Green, the Worcester and Birmingham canal, Bittell reservoirs, Cofton Church, Lickey Woods and Visitors Centre returning to Barnt Green.
3:00pm: Walk 2 (4 miles)* leaves Barnt Green for Withybed Green, the Worcester and Birmingham canal, Bittell reservoirs returning to Barnt Green.
3:00pm: Walk 3 (4 miles)* leaves Barnt Green for Cofton Church, Lickey Woods and Visitors Centre returning to Barnt Green.
4:00pm: Walk 4 (2.5 miles) leaves Barnt Green for Bittell reservoir returning to Barnt Green.
5:30pm Pig Roast.

Thanks to village traders, Warwick Butchers and Vinalia for agreeing to organise the pig roast and licensed bar.

* The route indicated may be reversed.

Barnt Green mobile library service at risk

Worcestershire County Council, in a review of their mobile library service, have given notice that the 3-weekly library van visit to Barnt Green is officially at risk. However, before any final decision is made, residents are invited to submit their comments. This can be done by:
• completing the online questionnaire (new window); or,
• completing a hard copy of the questionnaire.
Copies of the questionnaire are available from the mobile library, any Worcestershire library or from the parish council office at 80 Hewell Road, Barnt Green. The consultation period ends on 31 October 2014.

Cllr Lucy Hodgson, County Council Cabinet Member for Localism and Communities, said: “In order to continue to meet the financial challenges we need to look at changes to the mobile library service. Before any decisions are made it is important that we hear what our customers have to say. Though this consultation everyone has the opportunity to tell us what they think and we will be able to ensure that all customers can continue to access library services and receive a service that is appropriate to them.”

During the mobile library consultation period all customers currently using the Library Service At Home will also be contacted directly by staff to discuss future planned changes to their service too.

For further information please contact Nicki Hitchcock, Outreach and Mobile Services Manager for Libraries and Learning Services or a member of the Libraries and Learning Team on 01905 822722, email nhitchcock@worcestershire.gov.uk

Fiery Hill Road: Development update #1

At a meeting with Parish Councillors John Jagger, Charles Hotham and Susan Whitehand, representatives from Banner Homes (Now Cala Homes) indicated that, although a material start will be made on site prior to Christmas 2014, building work will not start in earnest until early in the new year. At present, the aim is to have a show home available by June 2015 and to have sold the last unit by December 2017.
Current thinking is that Cala will sell homes as they are built rather than off-plan.
The Parish Council will meet representatives from Cala Homes again in late September after which a further update will follow.

District Council asked to share benefits of growth

On Tuesday 15 July, over 50 members of the public, including parish councillors from Alvechurch, Barnt Green, Belbroughton, Catshill, Clent and Hagley, attended the New Homes Bonus Public Forum at Bromsgrove Council House.

The Public Forum was called by Bromsgrove Council as a result of a 1,429 name petition presented to Full Council in April 2014. The forum called on the council to consult with local communities affected by housing development and to share, not only the burdens, but also the benefits of growth. Those attending were unimpressed by the Council’s current policy which is to use the grant, likely to rise to approximately £1.2m by 2016/17, to offset the financial pressures facing the Council.

The overwhelming mood of the forum was that the Council should follow the guidance provided by central government and use part of the money to improve local services and facilities in the area most affected by development.

Those attending felt that the council concentrates far too much of its investment in infrastructure and services within Bromsgrove town centre. As a result, villages services and community groups go largely unsupported despite being asked to accommodate the demand arising from further local housing.

It was noted that Wychavon Council have protocols in place which pass on 40% of the New Homes Bonus to affected communities. It is hoped that Cllrs Sheerey, Taylor, Baxter and Mallett will make similar recommendations to the full Council.

Footnote
The following are extracts from the minutes of Bromsgrove District Council’s Cabinet meeting on 26 February 2014:

  • Agenda item 4, para 3.10: “… by 2016/17 it is estimated that the Council would benefit by £1.2m of New Homes Bonus.”
  • Agenda item 4, para 3.11: “As agreed in the current financial plan any income received from New Homes Bonus will be utilised to offset the pressures facing the Council.

Rail improvement works timetable announced

This summer, Network Rail will be carrying out major engineering work project on the Cross City Line between Redditch and Barnt Green. This involves the installation of a 3 kilometre length of track alongside the existing single track through Alvechurch.

This new section of double track will improve reliability and crucially, from the start of the December Timetable, the train service frequency will be increased from 2-trains to 3-trains per hour. A further benefit of the scheme is that Alvechurch station will be transformed, with an additional platform, a new footbridge and lifts – providing step-free access for all.

This is an extensive project, which means the rail network will need to close between Redditch and Barnt Green while works are carried out. Replacement coach services will operate during the closure period from Redditch to Alvechurch connecting passengers with the train service at Barnt Green and Longbridge.

The closure will be on four Sundays in June and for eight weeks between July and August as follows:

Sunday 8 June 2014
Sunday 15 June 2014
Sunday 22 June 2014
Sundat 29 June 2014; and
Sunday 6 July to Sunday 31 August 2014 (8 weeks)

Network Rail advise they will undertake a comprehensive programme of communications to keep passengers informed of the alternative travel arrangements.

Poppies promise colourful commemoration

flower_poppy The Parish Council’s offer of free poppies to commemorate the outbreak of WW1 has been well received within the village. In order to ensure that the poppies were accessible to residents, the Parish Council enlisted the support of Cafe Morso and The Tea Shop. Both outlets report that customers were delighted to be able to take advantage of the offer. The 50 packets of seeds are nearly all gone so hurry if you want one …

First World War Centenary Competition

WWI Centenary imageThe Parish Council has been considering how Barnt Green can come together, as a community, to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. The war affected not only those who fought but also those who were left behind. Its impact was profound and touched all areas of life. We hope that our Centenary Competition will inspire you to write, draw, paint, compose music, arrange flowers or cook. Your entries should simply seek to evoke the spirit of the age. Near the date of the centenary, the Council will seek to display the entries (well, at least the non-perishable ones!) so that the whole community can commemorate the event appropriately.

The Centenary Competition
Entries must have a First World War theme and entrants must either live or work within the Parish or attend a school, church, society or club located in Barnt Green.

More than one piece of work may be submitted for consideration.
Family or group (two or more people) entries are permitted.

Entries will be judged within the following three age groups:
(a) up to 11 years;
(b) from 12 to 16 years;
(c) over 17 years.

The closing date for entries is 12.00 noon on 25 June 2014.
Because of the perishable nature of floral and food submissions, entries will be judged that afternoon.
The Parish Council will award one £25 gift voucher and two £20 gift vouchers for the best entries in each category.

Please follow the this link to download  the competition entry form and rules. Both forms are available in hard copy on request from the Parish Council office.

Sign up NOW for the Barnt Green Sport Relief mile

On Sunday 23 March 2014 take part in the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile hosted by the Barnt Green Chuggers and Barnt Green Parish Council. Sign up now!

Dust off those trainers and walk, jog or run (or hop, skip, jump …) around the 1 mile village-based route or be more adventurous and try either the 3 mile or 6 mile off-road route taking you past the Bittell Reservoirs!

Don’t miss out. Follow this link and snap up your place on the Barnt Green Mile now!

Half price entry fees available for a limited period only.

Local bus services ‘at risk’

In a bid to save £30 million pounds per year, Worcestershire County Council is actively considering ending the subsidies that support the provision of many local bus services. Among the services at risk are all the buses (145, 182 and 183) serving the residents of Barnt Green. Make your voice heard before 17 January.

The County Council estimates that it pays a subsidy of £1.66 for each of the near 41,000 passengers using the 145 service each year. The equivalent subsidy for users of the 182 and 183 service is estimated to be £1.06.

As part of its Transport Review, the County Council have launched an online consultation on the withdrawal of these subsidised bus services.  The consultation period closes on Friday 17 January.

Although the Parish Council is responding to the consultation it is important that as many local residents as possible make their voices heard. It is unthinkable that local residents who depend on these services should see them withdrawn.