Troop Aid says ‘Thank you’

Pam Eves, the Barnt Green Troop Aid co-ordinator has asked the Parish Council to pass on her thanks to all the residents who continue to donate shower gel and other toiletries via the drop-off facility at the parish council office. Although the current need in Afghanistan has diminished, grab bags are now being sent to overseas field hospitals so donations continue to be welcome.

Will electrification derail Barnt Green?

Residents are invited to a drop-in event at the Scout and Guide Centre, Blackwell Road, Barnt Green on Tuesday 9 December between 12.00 and 19.00 at which Network Rail representatives, and their contractors, will be available to discuss the impact of the rail electrification on Barnt Green, specifically the proposals for road closures, rebuilding the bridges and the station footbridge.

Please take this opportunity to find out about the impact of electrification on the village and to press for the installation of lifts at the station footbridge.

The following is an extract from Network Rail correspondence to Worcestershire County Council’s Transport Planning Officer, David Balme, dated 17 October 2014 regarding the installation of lifts at the station footbridge:

Network Rail fully recognises our obligations under the Equality Act 2010, including the principle of reasonable adjustment. The design of the new footbridge includes space for lift shafts. However, Barnt Green was not on the Department for Transport’s list of stations eligible for Access for All funding in the 2015-19 period. This means there is no automatic clear funding for providing the lifts.

Network Rail are working to close the funding gap with the intention of securing sufficient funds to provide the three lifts for the footbridge and the associated running costs, to be provided when or shortly after the bridge is built.

This is an important issue about which residents should continue to lobby our MP, the Department of Transport and Network Rail.

Sajid Javid wants to telephone you …

Image of Sajid Javid MP

Sajid Javid MP

Bromsgrove’s local MP, Sajid Javid, will be holding the UK’s first Parliamentary TeleForum, ‘Tell Sajid’, on 26th November at 7pm. The TeleForum will allow constituents to sign up for a free phone call from their MP, during which they will have the option to ask questions, or simply sit back and listen to the discussion.

The cutting edge technology, already widely used in the USA, will allow all registered callers to listen in to and take part in a single live, interactive phone call – simply by answering their phone at 7pm on 26th November. It will be the first time that the technology is used in the UK by a Member of Parliament to contact their constituents.

Sajid Javid commented;

‘I’m really excited about this new way of keeping in touch with Bromsgrove constituents. I know that coming along to a public meeting can be difficult to fit in for many people.

Instead, this brilliant new technology will allow us to have effectively a virtual public meeting. You can listen in at home, on a break at work, or on Handsfree in the car. If you have any questions about what I’m saying, you will then have the option to speak to me directly.

I hope as many constituents as possible will sign up for this great and entirely free opportunity. Please register at my TeleForum page now to receive my phone call on 26th November at 7pm’.

To sign up for the free phone call, constituents will need to register first at the following website address: www.vekeo.buzz/sajidjavid

Good news for station users

The Parish Council is delighted to report welcome progress with two key parish council campaigns associated with Barnt Green station:
(i)   having originally planned not to provide lifts at the new Barnt Green station foorbridge, it seems that Network Rail have now accepted the need for this to be done;
(ii) Network Rail have also indicated that when the new electrified rail service starts running from Bromsgrove, a direct Barnt Green to Bromsgrove rail service will be provided.
Cllr John Jagger commented that he was delighted with the news and looked forward to a formal announcement from Network Rail in the near future.

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.