KEW ??? July 2012

A round-up of miscellany
Submitted by Geoff Caine

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Welcome! to the first edition of KEW ???. So named because we can’t think of a name….Can you?

The idea at the moment is to publish this monthly on the 1st Friday of each month…..though this may change. It will contain local news but also more long-lasting articles of interest to you and me as Brum city centre dwellers.

If you can think of a name then please email me.

Next….Let me put you in the picture.

I’m a long-standing Leaseholder and Resident of KEW and a founder  member of the KEW Residents’ Association which ran for seven years before the two KEW RTM companies absorbed its role.

I built and now maintain and administer this website under direction of the RTM Management Companies.

In addition I compiled the Weekly News, and now its successor, the KEW ???, very much on a gratis basis to the KEW Community.

However, if KEW ??? is to sustain interest and freshness I need contributions from other KEW residents! For example, topics similar to the ones in this issue. Do please send me your  ideas for articles by email.

Best Wishes, Geoff Caine

Featured this month:

• New Planning Application Close By

• Morrison’s Edgbaston Looks for Employees

• Yours Truly wins NHS Photo Competition

• Stratford-on-Avon River Festival

• Nick Holzherr Gets Funding for his Whisk Venture

• Buildings News

• Tesco Refurbishes Five Ways Store

• Our Forests Saved from Private Ownership

• What’s On?

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• Our Forests Saved from Private Ownership

Cameron & Co has failed to sell off our wonderful forests and woodlands!

Bodenham Arboretum in October

Bodenham Arboretum in October

Some of you may not have noticed that the Government was planning to sell off our forests and woodlands to private ownership. What a ghastly idea! The land belongs to the people not this Government!
There was a danger that individual forests and woodlands – essentially public leisure areas of great natural beauty – would be sold to the private sector. As a consequence, in order to make profit to pay for the investment, they would have:

  • felled trees to create areas for residential or, even worse, industrial use.
  • charged us entry fees grossly higher than the upkeep costs.
  • added brash attractions (eg amusement park areas with rides, etc) to uplift the entry fees.

So, the Woodlands Trust and voluntary public campaigner against unwanted and anti-people measures by the Cameron Government, 38 Degrees, has been supported by hundreds of thousands of the population to petition the Government to abandon such plans.
After much campaigning from the Woodlands Trust and 38 Degrees, the Independent Panel on Forestry (requested by the Government under public “No!” pressure) published its final report last Wednesday.
Its recommendation is that the public forest estate should stay in public ownership.
“The government says it accepts the recommendations and will halt plans to sell off state-owned forests.” See BBC News website for fuller details.
Phew….it’s been a long battle for those so engaged, but, unlike the NHS reforms, the Great British Public has won!
I’m not campaigning but I think everyone shout take note of what 38 Degrees is doing and join in with the campaigns you agree with.

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• New Planning Application Close By

A planned residential development affects the KEW vicinity and, for some KEW Residents, their outlook!

This is planning application 2012/04442/PA relating to the construction on unused land bounded by Sherborne Street and Grosvenor Street West of 35×3 bedroom town houses.

My initial thoughts are that this is high density housing on what is described as a low value site (hardly!) within the planning application. But, is it worse or better than the Jupiter Apartments also currently in view, in particular the green and white ones facing the proposed site on the opposite corner? (I shall ignore for the moment the shanty town on the south side of Watermarque which is far, far worse on the eye and the area’s esteem than any new development.)

The public consultation period ends on 2 August 2012.

To save you time and effort click here to see the outline planning permission application and you can make your comments there. At the bottom of the application you can click on the more detailed items. However, to see the list of related documents click here.
For an overview of the site click here.
But the elevation of the site and how it would appear from the roads is shown here and here.

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• Morrison’s Edgbaston Looks for Employees

Job vacancies for the new Morrisons at Five Ways are now up for grabs!

Supermarket cashierOpen Days are taking place on Sunday 8th and Monday 9th July for people to find out more about what opportunities there are.
If you know of anyone who might be interested tell them to phone 0121 270 7684 now!

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• Yours Truly wins NHS Photo Competition

Photo Competition NHS Attwood Health CentreEarlier this year I was visiting one of our local surgeries, the Colston Health Centre in Bath Row, when I noticed a call for the submission of photos to a competition. This was to find a photo with the joint themes of Birmingham and Water to go on display at the new Attwood Green Medical Centre now nearing completion in Bath Row.
So, I looked through my photo archives and found an image which is not too easy to come by these days. It was a night-time view of the colourful fountain and water feature in front of the Council House in Victoria Square. What is hard to come by in these austere days is to capture the Council house with all its floodlights on, particularly those trained on the superb high up central dome which is now routinely not illuminated.
So I entered the photo and heard nothing for several months so I’d forgotten about it. Then in June I received the attached letter (click to enlarge) from the Heart of Birmingham NHS Teaching Primary Trust saying I had won first prize and my photo would be put on display in the new building once completed.
I am to attend some sort of hanging event for the photo around September, I understand and I’ve also been given £200 in vouchers to spend at a range of high street stores.

Here is the photo – don’t forget to click on it to get a much larger view.

Victoria Square and the Council House at Night

Victoria Square and the Council House at Night

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• Stratford-on-Avon River Festival

This is a great event whether you’re a boater, a family, or just appreciate canals and rivers…..

View across River Avon to the event

View across River Avon to the event

The two-day annual event, 30 June and 1 July 2012, is a showcase for the historic town of 23,000 inhabitants.
Does Stratford need this attraction being world-famous because of its Shakespeare history? Well yes. Visitor numbers have been falling in recent year (as elsewhere in the UK). This is partly due the declining tourist trade but also because, when viewed from afar, there are not that many reasons to make the trip off the beaten track with poor rail connection. I visit about twice a year and have found it less busy of late.
Visitors find a welcoming and well maintained and pleasing urban place. They are relaxed in the atmosphere of a river and canal, parks and gardens, ancient buildings, the Royal Shakespeare theatre and abundant history.
So, the River Festival adds grist to Stratford’s mill, and in no short measure, if only for two days. Perhaps they should add other events like the now ubiquitous but very popular Food Fair.
This is no superficial marketing exercise. It is a thoroughly thought out event of much substance and socially deep in who it reaches out to. Around every corner of the event and town centre something new is happening before you can even begin to get bored. The spectacle is always colourful and contrasts well with both the greenery of the riverside park as well as the ancient red brick architecture of the town centre and its famous Shakespearean buildings.
Given fair weather, which every outdoor event needs, this is a splendidly enjoyable way to spend a day or two if you have your own boat.
Hopefully my slideshow* will convey the atmosphere and spectacle and I recommend a visit next year.

* This slideshow uses flash technology which is not supported on iphone, ipad and itouch. But there is a free app that will play it – it’s a simple to use Internet browser. Click here for easy to follow instructions.

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• Nick Holzherr Gets Funding for his Whisk Venture

The Apprentice finalist Nick is now able to develop his business venture

Nick Holzherr

I’ve written before about local entrepreneur Nick Holzherr  who did his MBA at Aston University, lives in the Jewellery Quarter and runs his current businesses from Aston Science Park.

He was in the final three of this year’s The Apprentice. His Business Plan was for a new website, “Whisk”, which provides recipes, orders the ingredients and maintains records of these in your larder for inclusion in future recipes.

Well, Lord Sugar was not convinced with the nature of his proposals and so he didn’t win the £250,000 investment to start up a company.

But others do like it. He has secured start-up funding of £170,000 (based on lower capitalisation) from four entrepreneurs who would seem to have the experience of building  successful businesses based on the Internet.

Nick hopes to launch the website in September after developing the required complex software and obtaining supermarket partners to deliver the ingredients (he already has one, I believe).

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• Buildings News

New Street Station
This week the contractors have started fitting the internal cladding to the north entrance where Stephenson Street meets Navigation Street. Click any image for a larger gallery view.

Library of Birmingham

The Site Snapshot July 2012On the left is the July version of The Site as supplied by Carillion. Not too interesting but at least you’ve seen it.

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Morrisons Supermarket
I was told some months ago by the Contractor that this new store would open in September….Looking at it today, I think this is unlikely, more like for Christmas I’d guess.

View of the new Five Ways store – front on Hagley Road and two of the rear…

Morrisons Five Ways frontMorrisons Five Ways rearMorrisons Five Ways rear

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• Tesco Refurbishes Five Ways Store

Looks like Five Ways Tesco is not to close!

Tesco Five Ways

Many people have been wondering if theTesco store will close when Morrisons new store opens at Five Ways in September. Especially as Tesco opened the new Spring Hill store last year which is just ¾ mile away and just as close to the centre of the main population of Ladywood.

Well, Five Ways Tesco is undergoing a complete revamp internally. It is also to have wet fish, Halal meat and non-packaged locally cooked meat counters which are new for the store and are obviously intended to compete with that in the new Morrisons store.

Wet fish counterHalal meat counterNon-packaged locally-cooked meat counter

Also new is a Costa coffee bar but the old café has gone which may be disappointing to some local residents and office workers.

Tesco has pulled out all the stops to do this refurbishment, it only seems a few days ago that it was started and in that time most of the shelving has been replaced and the layout made to look a lot less crowded.

The wet fish counter opens this Friday 6 July and the Costa on Monday. I don’t know about the other counters but it’s probably Monday.

The petrol station has also been rebuilt – new pumps, etc ….and it needed it.

Battle lines are being drawn and hopefully local shoppers will benefit through keener pricing and good service. Should be interesting.

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• What’s On?

Saturday 7 July – Ladywood Community Fun Day 12:00 to 17:00 at Gilby Road Park
A Jazz band, zumba (aerobic dancing), stalls, sports, tombola, races, bouncy castles and food.
Sunday 8 July – Summer Open Day at Highbury Hall, , Moseley 11:00 to 16:00
Guided tour of Chamberlain’s House, display of Chamberlain memorabilia plus BBQ burgers and strawberries.
Click here for details.
13 to 14 July – Food Festival
In Colmore Business District centred around Victoria Square. Click here for details
27 July to 11 August – London 2012 Olympic Games on Big Screen, Victoria Square

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