Weekly News Friday 30 Mar 2012

kewbirmingham.co.uk Weekly News

A round-up of local news from the past week

Submitted by Geoff Caine

***For all images- click on them to see a larger HD view***


  • Elected Mayor Referendum 3 May 2012

Poll Cards and Booklet Circulated

Elected Mayor Leaflet and Poll CardYou should have had your Poll Card through the letter box this week and the booklet shown left which explains the mechanics of how an Elected Mayor would work and how the Council Leader system currently works.
What is not explained are the pros and cons of each system. There are two campaigns being run which should help you to decide which you would prefer. These are:

Vote No to a Power Freak
Yes to a Birmingham Mayor – the Campaign

Announced today is the latest prospect – Liam Byrne, Cabinet Minister in the last Labour Government and a key member of the shadow cabinet now. He would give up this role and his parliamentary seat for Birmingham Hodge Hill to take up the Elected Mayor job. Erstwhile prospect and ex Council Leader, Sir Albert Bore, has given up his aspirations in this and thrown his support behind Liam Byrne.
Other Labour prospects current showing their hand are Sion Simon, the former MP for Erdington, and Gisela Stuart, the MP for Edgbaston.

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  • Decoration of Canal under Brindley House

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Students create mural to transform canal

Four sixth form students at King Edwards College, Handsworth have created a mural on a canal wall underneath Brindley House in Newhall Street just a 1000yd walk along the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal (go straight on at the junction outside the NIA). The wall is at the side of Lock 10, and suffers from graffiti artists.
The students projected the outline of their design onto the wall then stencilled their creation on the wall.
It certainly brightens up a dismal stretch of the canal and should uplift the experience for us locals and visiting boaters. Two passing ladies, whilst I was there, remarked how uplifting the mural was in what they described as Dickensian surroundings.
The project has been funded by HFC Bank and HSBC Holdings plc as part of their adoption of a one-mile stretch of the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal which runs past their offices. Their volunteers have done much work in cleaning up this stretch.

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  • MG Tour

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I took the tour and had some surprises!

Following last weeks news of the free tour available of the MG Factory at Longbridge, I duly went on the tour yesterday.

We were given a short presentation of the history of the Longbridge site since it was started in 1905, by Lord Austin.

This was followed by a viewing, through glass, of the inside of Lord Austin’s office. This was  in the original site buildings and then the wall panels and furniture transferred to the new site. A safe discovered elsewhere and was opened with great excitement but unfortunately it was empty.

Next was a look around the small museum of cars with some notable models from history.
What was most interesting and impressive was a look inside the UK Technical Centre which I estimate includes a room about 50 by 50 metres. This is very, very modern with no grease in sight! just 325 people in front of computer screens designing the MG models of the future. Some examples of their prototype car bodies and engines were on show. Also, most impressive, was the latest aid to prototyping – a 3D laser printer which constructs a component from a computer design by building up layers from a lump of resin. This is an expensive piece of kit about the size of a fridge/freezer cabinet, but saves a substantial amount of money and time in prototyping components of engines, gear boxes, etc.

In contrast the assembly plant employs only about 3 dozen people to assemble the body and engine of all MG6 cars for the UK market – time have changed! This was not included in our tour due to it being tooled up for new production but will be included in a month or so.

The tours are now booked up until October, but as a party of 20 failed to turn up yesterday, I imagine you might be able to persuade the organisers to put you on a cancellation list.

I’d recommend the visit and have booked a test drive!

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  • Paradise Circus Plans Criticised by Heritage Watchdogs

Paradise Circus March 2012

Heritage Panel doesn't want "massing up" like now above

The plans presented at the latest consultation on redeveloping Paradise Circus get thumbs down!

In February, developer Argent – in partnership with the city council and Gary Taylor’s Altitude Real Estate – held a consultation on their current redevelopment ideas.
The City Council’s Conservation and Heritage Panel have used adjectives such as “appalling” and “dreadful” to describe the plans.
The main complaint is the “massing up” of buildings which will dwarf and contrast too much of the surrounding heritage buildings, eg the Town Hall and Council House/Museum buildings.
When I reported on 24 February on my visit to this consultation I had come away unhappy and said “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.”

More details.

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  • Snippets of News

Childrens Lives
An Exhibition of children’s lives from the 18th century to present day

This should be an intriguing insight into the changing experience of childhood from the 18th century to present time, with special reference to Birmingham. It uses the Birmingham Archives and Heritage collection for its source material.

Held in Birmingham Museum’s Gas Street Hall from 24 March to 10 June.
More details.

Little Waitrose opens In Snow Hill

Little Waitrose Store at Snow Hill

Little Waitrose Store at Snow Hill

If you’re a fan of Waitrose supermarkets like me, you will be pleased to hear that a Little Waitrose store has opened in the square leading to Snow Hill station at the far end of Colmore Row.
This is not so little (3,600 sq ft) and seems to have many of the main lines in the Harborne store.
More details.


Planners back Restoration of Grand Hotel

Two members of the Council Planning Committee have spoken out in support of consultation plans put forward by owners of the Grand Hotel, Norton Estates.
These are two powerful voices on the Committee.
The Birmingham Post reports that “Chairman of planning Peter Douglas Osborn (Cons, Weoley) added: “This is one of the most important historic buildings in Birmingham and I think we have a scheme worthy of the name Grand Hotel.””
The Post also reported “Chairman of the council’s conservation and heritage panel Cllr Paula Smith (Lib Dem, Hall Green) added: “I am the first one to criticise if architects do not respect our heritage. But on this occasion I have been very impressed. The detail they have put into this is fabulous
“I will be very pleased when it is finally removed from the at risk list.”

This is great news but I am not surprised, as it all looked good to me when I visited the recent consultation.

More details.

Contribute Your News

If you have some items which you think would interest other KEW Residents, please email me with them.

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Submitted by Geoff Caine

This entry was posted in All the News, City Buildings, Favourites, Local Events, Other News. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Weekly News Friday 30 Mar 2012

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