The KEW eMag August 2012

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The KEW eMag LogoA hotchpotch of miscellany around and about King Edwards Wharf

Submitted by Geoff Caine

Many thanks to those people who suggested a name for the new KEW journal. After much deliberation by very few people The KEW eMag was chosen with the new “tagline” shown above.

Featured this month:

• Canal and River Trust (CR&T) Inauguration Ceremony

• A Buildings Tour around the Jewellery Quarter

• Library of Birmingham Update

• Planning Application Submitted for Paradise Circus

• Upcoming Events

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• Canal and River Trust (CR&T) Inauguration Ceremony

This was the official transfer of responsibility for much of Britain’s inland waterways to the newly formed charity – the Canal and River Trust (C&RT). As it turned out the event was blessed with wonderful sunshine! CR&T  PennantI was unable to attend the ceremony on 12 July as I was to be away on a holiday  in Cornwall, booked pre-announcement of the event. On the day I wished I was back in Birmingham because it rained and rained and rained! Anyway, I had called for volunteers to photograph the occasion for me. All three I had approached turned up complete with cameras and a husband! Very many thanks to these volunteers for their early morning (pre 9am – is this right or a typo?) efforts to join the growing throng of enthusiasts in Cambrian Wharf by the Moat House pub, and take photos and record the event for us. Amongst these sterling fellows was Tricia Tierney, KEW Phase 1 Resident and voluntary Director of its RTM Management Company. She obviously dedicated much time to recording  the event as follows…

“Birmingham Welcomes the Canal and River Trust. The Canal and River Trust, under the patronage of H.R.H. Prince Charles, took over from British Waterways as guardian of Britain’s canal and river heritage on July 12th. The takeover is the largest ever transfer of a public body to a charitable organisation and the occasion was marked by a number of local events throughout the country. One of these took place at the Deep Cutting Junction near to the Malt House Pub in Birmingham City Centre. It was followed by a reception at the Ikon Gallery which is housed in another of Birmingham’s historic landmarks, Oozells Street School in Oozells Square. Despite being slightly overshadowed by the Queen’s visit to Birmingham – she was here as part of her Jubilee Tour and to “name” the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital – our launch event was a great success. Bright sunshine throughout the morning – a rare event in this rainy summer – certainly helped with the preparation. Shortly before 9.00 a team of employees and volunteers descended on the area around the Malt House Pub and the organisation’s local headquarters and set about hanging bunting and decorating three traditional working barges. By the time the barges set off as part of a flotilla, which also included kayaks, surf boarders and our local cleaning barge, Nautilus, spruced up for the occasion, the canal side was lined with spectators and there was loud applause when the white ribbon across the canal was cut by Lynne Berry, one of the Trustees of the new organisation. The aim of the transfer is to create an organisation which can work more closely with local communities. Already 50 new projects have been established. The closest to the KEW site is on the Birmingham Mainline Canal, where it is hoped to create butterfly and bumble bee highways through the planting of honeysuckle, musk mallow, cornflowers and other nectar rich plants. For more information on how you can contribute to this or other projects or join the newly formed Friends of the Canal and River Trust go to canalrivertust.org.uk.”

Many thanks again Tricia.

 Lynne BerryNow, Lynne Berry is a founder trustee and deputy chair of the CR&T. She’s a bit of a star being a Senior Visiting Fellow at CASS Business School, City University London (whatever that means but it sounds good) and holds and has held many senior  roles in the Charity and Social Care sectors including chief executive of WRVS, the General Social Care Council, the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Charity Commission and the Family Welfare Association. She lives near the Kings Cross development in London and on the banks of the River Trent where she is restoring a 1950s wooden boat. Of her visit to the event in Birmingham she tweeted:

“Wonderful atmosphere at CRT launch West Midlands. Enthusiasm bubbling up from boaters, historians, restorers, ramblers anglers and cyclists.” and “Amazing support from all West Midlands local authorities, working with local partnership to plan for the future. A new start, new energy.”

Sounds like the people of Birmingham impressed her! Below is a gallery of photos taken by my volunteers, who I wish to thank again for their efforts:

David Foster – KEW Phase 1 Resident
Mike Tierney – KEW Phase 1 Resident and Tricia’s husband
Alan Stedall – KEW Phase 1 Resident and voluntary director of its RTM Management Company

(Click on an image to display an enlarged gallery – use large side arrows to move between images – click outside an image or press ESC to close the gallery.)

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• A Buildings Tour around the Jewellery Quarter

An easy 2.1/2 mile circular walk from KEW.

There are some vintage gems among the buildings of the Jewellery Quarter. But how do you find them? Chamberlain Clock I guess the Chamberlain Clock Tower (left) symbolises the Jewellery Quarter to most Birmingham Residents. Yet there are some hidden historic buildings if you are guided to them and then look very closely. Unfortunately the Buildings Trail given in the Jewellery Quarter official website is first of all difficult to find on the website and secondly gives no map showing the whereabouts of the buildings listed. So, I decided to walk the area and using the sparse information of the Buildings Trail construct my own Buildings Tour. It took several hours to locate the buildings as there are very few historic plaques naming them and house numbers are rarely on display; one or two I could not find* at all. What I concluded was essential was an itinerary showing where the buildings are and what they look like. So, for readers of The KEW eMag, I have constructed a map with the buildings indicated by numbered way-marks and a list of buildings with photos and descriptions of each. I used the Buildings Trail to provide the scope of my Tour. You can view my Buildings Tour Map and Buildings Tour List of Buildings. If you want to walk the Buildings Tour, I suggest two methods:

  1. Access the above Buildings Tour pages on a tablet, eg iPad, or smart phone but you will need a large one.
  2. Print the buildings Tour Map and List of Buildings pages (See * below).

It’s well worth the effort if you want an atmospheric walk on a sunny day. The Jewellery Quarter has plenty of character and vibrance to take in and enjoy and if you are  interested in looking at history and our heritage so much the better. There are a number of pleasant bars and coffee bars along the route. Give it a try I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

* If you locate the building at way-mark 12 on my map, please photograph it and email it to me.

** One way of printing the pages in Windows is below (I’m afraid at this time I can’t advise for Mac but soon maybe!):

  • Display a page
  • Right Click in the page and chose Print…
  • Click on Print
    or
    At the bottom of the left column left of the displayed Print window Click on Print using system dialogue… (Ctrl+Shift+P). Use the dialogue to print in the usual way.

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• Library of Birmingham Update

Still on schedule and within Budget! After a visit to the site last week I can report that the new Library is still scheduled to open next September (2013). The Site Snapshot August 2012Here is the latest site Snapshot which shows the floor laying of the external performance area in Centenary Square. It echos the metal filigree panels on the outside of the actual building. . .

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• Planning Application Submitted for Paradise Circus

Long Awaited Plans for the Old Library Area Now in Public Domain. After a public consultation and designing alongside the Planning Office, developer Argent (of Brindley Place fame) has submitted an outline planning Application for the redevelopment of the old central library site.

This involves demolition and redevelopment of the 17 acre site at a cost of  £450 million. It involves 10 new buildings surrounding two new squares and a central pedestrian street leading from Centenary Square in a straight line to Chamberlain Square.

View of Paradise Circus Master PlanThis central street will enable the “Big Brum” clock tower on the Council House to be viewed from Centenary Square and should open up and connect the square with the centre of Birmingham. The extract (left) from the application demonstrates this aspect.

The Planning Application number for this is 2012/05116/PA, and the summary can be viewed here and the links to all related documents can be viewed here.

The Public Consultation Period Ends on 23-08-2012 . You can Add Comments Here.

There are two main reports you may want to look at:

  • Design Protocol
  • Design & Access Statement

The Design Protocol gives the design concepts, aims and constraints as well as artists impressions of how the development will look. It is essential reading for all especially local residents. I have assembled the 7 download links into a pdf report.

The  Design & Access Statement is very large – 88 pages (though sparsely populated). You can  download sections of the report using the links in the table I have prepared. This will save you a great deal of investigation as the application is split over 17 meaningless download links with no apparent structure! Note… each down load can take about a minute or two  – the Council Website is very slow dealing with Planning Application requests and frequently does not respond at all giving a time-out error.

If you want to download the whole report, I have consolidated the individual downloads into one. You can download this from my host server by clicking here. It is a large file of 161 megabytes and so will take a few minutes, but well worth it.

My view is that this redevelopment is very important to us city dwellers and it is well worth spending some time looking at what Argent are proposing. We don’t want to end up with more offices and less public areas – indeed we need more of the latter and, even more so, more greenery! The new buildings should also lie esthetically well with our splendid listed buildings – the Town Hall, Council House, “Big Brum” and the Museum – and not dominate them by height, bulk or proximity.

It’s a pity that the Birmingham Council can’t make planning applications more easily accessible to the citizens to comment on. Maybe politics are prevalent here.

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• Upcoming Events

02-06 August – Jamaica in the Square – Victoria Square and upper New Street – Free

A celebration of the 50th anniversary of Jamaican Independence and the Jamaican athlete participation in the Olympic games. All sorts of activities and food.

14 July – 14 October – Pharaoh: King of Egypt – Birmingham Museum – Small Entrance Charge

A national touring exhibition from the British Museum which explores the lives of the ancient kings of Egypt with over 130 British Museum objects never seen outside of London. I’ve had good reports.  

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Submitted by Geoff Caine

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