A round-up of interesting local news from the past week
Bill to Ban Vehicle Clamping by Private Contractors Affects KEW Residents
RTM Phase 1 Director, Alan Stedall, has been raising the issue of illegal parking with our MP Shabana Mahmood.
You may be aware of the problems that have occurred where drivers have had their vehicles illegally clamped by rogue companies who demand high fees for the release of the vehicle.
To stop this a bill has been introduced to outlaw private clamping firms. This is welcome but as with all legislation care is needed to ensure that the right thing is being corrected and that problems are not introduced by its implementation.
Alan believes that we at KEW are vulnerable to intruders gaining access to our car parks and spaces and once there they would be very difficult to remove if a blanket ban on clamping was introduced by the bill. The only recourse would be to issue a PCN (Penalty Charge Notice) which in practice is pretty ineffectual.
So, he has been in contact with our MP who has raised the matter in writing with The Secretary for Transport.
As Shabana in her letter has referred to it being a problem for businesses Alan has emailed her again pointing out that his concern is for we at KEW and her letter does not mention residents parking spaces.
Knowing Alan I, and I’m sure Shabana also, realise that he will not give up this cause without a hell of a fight and we should all be very thankful for the time and effort he is devoting to this on our behalf.
In his original email to Shabana, below, Alan explores our current procedures and the problems that would be introduced by the bill if passed.
Shabana’s action taken and reply to Alan are below.
Alan’s latest email to Shabana is below.
Library of Birmingham Tour Wednesday 22 February
It was drizzling rain when we started so Simon took us into a meeting hut and gave us some interesting facts.
Overall the project is ahead of schedule and expenditure is below budget. £70million has already been spent but this is not yet half way and another £80million of work remains.
Construction should finish in early December which will be followed by 3 months of “proving” that all the systems work and the fitting of IT systems. Then there follows 1 month of “validation” that the environment control systems in the Archives work correctly.
The books from the existing Central Library will then be shipped in and located at the rate of 10 lorry loads per day over 10 weeks – if all goes to plan.
Visually, most of the outside is finished with the whole building being waterproof except for where the hoist is on the right (East) side facing Baskerville House. The hoist is used to lift all the interior panels, etc, to the relevant floor. All the major items like escalators and travelators were installed before the external walls were completed.
The last external floor to be completed is the round Shakespeare Memorial Room at the very top. Gold panels will soon be fitted to outside of this echoing the middle level section which will house the Archives of the library. Glass panels can be seen being fitted to the first level terrace which extend to a little above head height and will border and provide safe viewing over the Birmingham cityscape.
Currently there are 150 electricians on site and coincidentally 150 scissor lifts to facilitate access to high parts of each floor.
The hoardings in Centenary Square will start to be removed after the Conservative Conference in the ICC in October. These enclose the “city” of portacabins housing the multitude of project controllers, etc, etc, responsible for the whole operation and this will also gradually be removed as December approaches.
If you’ve ever questioned how the windows will be cleaned and replaced, a 90cm gap between the metal filigree and the glass allows for a manned platform to be deployed suspended from above.
Also, the glass is high-tec self-cleaning, so the normal appearance and the frequency and hence the cost of cleaning will be optimised.
Simon is obviously very happy with the way things have gone in the 4 years since the project started which is also when his involvement began.
Paradise Circus Redevelopment “Public Consultation”
This is being held in Waterhall in the central museum. It has run for most of this week and tomorrow is the last day from 9am to 1pm.
I went along on Thursday and found I was surrounded by display boards mostly showing what Paradise Circus is at the moment with traffic and pedestrian flow lines superimposed plus the odd block diagram of proposed sightings of replacement buildings. There was no detail either in the displays or in the text that I could see. There were some summary ideas but way away from an outline planning submission.
You can see pretty much what I saw by visiting their website at www.paradisecircus.co.uk.
The traffic is my main concern in that they are going to get rid of the circle surrounding the current site and have the A4400 (A38) from the M6 via the Aston Expressway meeting the A457 Sand Pits Parade and the A4400 (A38) from the South along Bristol Road in a T Junction! There is another obstruction to traffic from the Aston Expressway by way of a street level pedestrian crossing just before the T Junction.
Apparently they want to use the whole of the site rather than have it bisected by the current sunken roadway, and a more obvious and easy route to the Jewellery Quarter. I suggested a tunnel where the sunken roadway is and a raised pedestrian bridge to the Jewellery Quarter with steps, ramps and wheelchair access lifts. I sensed my suggestions would fall on stony ground again as I made these suggestions at the last “Public Consultation” about a year ago.
They admit there are a lot of commercial offices in the proposals as this will pay for the redevelopment. They say that these will be above ground level in the buildings adjacent to the pedestrian walkways so that community and retail facilities can be accommodated.
So, in conclusion, I don’t feel happy that this was a serious attempt at “Public Consultation” as there was very little detail and certainly way off outline planning level.
Edgbaston Reservoir Celebrates Award with Open Day Saturday 18 Feb
Due to the bad weather, I suppose, this was a non-event to me as I arrived 1 hour before it was supposed to end and nothing at all was visibly happening. I eventually found the new Visitor Centre, which was mentioned on posters but not signposted, only to find that with 20 minutes left of the event it had closed.
I do hope no one turned up on my suggestion last week.
Submitted by Geoff Caine