. A hotchpotch of miscellany to amuse KEW Residents
Produced by Geoff Caine
Featured this month:
• Fiddle & Bone – New Future of a Different Kind
After a closure of almost 10 years and two false starts, will the latest proposals happen for the FandB?
The owners of Sherborne Wharf, Earle and Toni Whiteman, want to move their canal services business to the Fiddle and Bone premises and also provide food, alcohol, music and other associated activities. They have applied to the Birmingham City Council for a license which you can see here.
Now, the premises have a bad history with KEW Phase 1 Residents. When operational as a pub and restaurant the noise created was unacceptable to residents of KEW apartments across the canal. Eventually the premises closed because of objections. So, it is a matter of concern to residents on the one hand but also a promising development which could enhance life at KEW and the value of the properties.
RTM Company Director, Tricia Tierney, and an ex Residents’ Association Chairman, John McDermot, managed to get a meeting with Earle Whiteman to discuss his plans. Tricia reports on their meeting below:
The current situation
1) At the moment there is no agreement between The Canal and Rivers Trust and Earle Whiteman with regards to the lease of the property previously known as The Fiddle and Bone. The Canal and Rivers Trust made the initial approach and it would seem that this was prompted, at least in part, by their wish to lease the current site of Sherbourne Wharf Ltd, possibly to the same company who already have planning permission to develop the empty site at the corner of Sherbourne Street (previously the site of a council depot, I understand). Whether Sherbourne Wharf Ltd go ahead with acquiring the lease for the Fiddle and Bone site depends on whether a satisfactory price can be agreed and whether a licence can be obtained.
2)If Sherbourne Wharf Ltd do agree to lease the old Fiddle and Bone the only part of their business that will be left at the current location is the moorings for the various party boats. The dry dock in Hockley will also continue to be the site of their boat repair business.
3) In order to proceed with the application for a licence Earle has had architect’s plans drawn up for the development of the Fiddle and Bone and the courtyard area. There are no plans to take on the other buildings adjacent to the pub, although the archways will be used for light engineering. It is also envisaged that there will be facilities for pumping out etc and the Canal and Rivers Trust will designate the current moorings alongside for the use of the business rather than as short term residential moorings. It is also anticipated that part of the wall that runs up from the pub will be removed to open up the courtyard area.
4) The plans for the building include a number of features. The plan is to turn part of the ground floor premises, the part furthest away from the canal, into a chandlers. The other part of the ground floor will be a cafe/bistro with 40 covers inside and a further 36 outside. The upstairs will be a bar with access from Sheepcote Street.It is envisaged that this would be a venue for wedding receptions, possibly with the guests being transported from the Registry Office by canal boat, and other events as well as operating as a public bar.
5) Assuming that agreement can be reached on the terms of a lease and that a licence can be obtained the plan is to undertake the conversion quickly with a view to opening next spring.
Cause for Concern
What is of concern is the scope of the license application which includes:
– Plays – Films – Live music – Recorded music – Performances of dance
– Anything of similar description to that falling within (live music), (recorded music) or (performances of dance)
– Provision of facilities for making music
– Provision of facilities for dancing
– Provision of facilities for entertainment of a similar description to that falling within (facilities for making music) or (facilities for dancing)
– Sale of alcohol by retail (both on & off the premises)
and up to midnight 7 days a week!
On the face of it, this license could enable a Broad Street style bar to operate with all its noise and revelling! And then there’s the bottle crashing into return containers by staff during the night. That is potentially a very much worse situation than existed when the pub closed – which made life hell for residents nearby!
The applicant’s intention, to start with, is canal oriented and hence one would expect a place for mature canal cruisers to moor and have lunch or an evening meal. But what if the investment is not recovered from this operation? Would there not be a temptation to attract a more lucrative clientele from Broad Street?
What can be done to avoid this possibly dire situation?
The answer is to make known to the Licensing Authority the concerns of residents and to request restrictions on the facilities applied for.
Any comments on the license application must be made to the Authority by Wednesday 13 September.
The more residents raising written concerns, the more likely the Authority will restrict the license to be acceptable in a residential area such as ours.
Please lend your support to this extremely important matter.
To help you with making representations to the Licensing Authority, Tricia has prepared some sample text. Click here to view this then select and copy text to form a letter in WORD or an email (see *below) and edit as you wish.
*Click here to create an email already addressed to the Authority into which you can copy your text. You will receive a reply saying that by law the applicant must be informed of what you have said, but it is the Authority that does this and not you.
Please note that, customising your representation even in a small way carries more weight than us all sending in identical text.
• Beware of Unexpected Callers
There have been some shocking incidents lately!
It would seem that people masquerading as workmen or officials in order to gain entry to residences is on the increase. Some reported instances are shocking in that the old and vulnerable are deliberately targeted as easy prey.
Very recently a 90 year old retired headmistress appears to have opened her door to a man caller upon which the man and two others pushed their way in past her. They spent 30 minutes searching her house and after they left she phoned the police. When the police arrived she was in distress and they got her rushed to hospital but unfortunately she died of what is thought to be stroke. The men were thought to be all dressed in blue overalls.
This sort of thing has happened nearer to us recently. In a nearby apartment building youths got into the secured communal areas by following a resident through the security doors. They knocked on one door but the resident looked through the door peephole and decided not to open the door. But when they tried another apartment the door was opened and three of them rushed in and grabbed expensive looking technology then fled.
This is worrying as it bypasses the security systems. I expect we are all guilty of allowing some people to follow us through the card controlled external pedestrian gates if they look as though they are residents. So people can gain access and attempt to perpetrate crimes like those above if so inclined and have planned to do so.
A lot of people would not want the confrontation of asking followers-in if they can prove they have a card. But perhaps we ought to do this especially if someone is hovering by the gate when we approach and then tries to follow us in – not having your card with you is not an excuse for this – perhaps suggesting politely to go through the Concierge to gain entry. What is essential in my view is that when our door bell is rung, and we are not expecting anyone, then we should ignore it if we don’t know the caller.
If expecting a trades person asking them, without opening the door, to prove their identity is surely wise. For an apartment environment like ours where checks are made periodically on such items as alarms inside apartments, I can think of many plausible reasons that a villain could use to request entry to the apartment. Yes, Mainstay issue letters in advance of these inspections but one could easily dismiss one’s lack of knowledge assuming forgetfulness or unread mail. Other excuses like sourcing a water leak are easy to fabricate.
My wife, Karen, has knowledge of a human phenomenon which may not be surprising but merits an airing, nevertheless. This is that as we get older the ventromedial prefrontal cortex of the brain, which researchers in the University of Iowa think may control belief and doubt, may deteriorate disproportionately with old age. This means that we are vulnerable to misleading information and outright deception. This deterioration can begin at about 6o and so is not just a problem for old people (whatever actual age is old these days!). What this means, of course, is that people so affected will not realise that their judgement is impaired and hence unwittingly fall foul of the evil intentions of others. Return to top of page.
• Scarecrowlympics at Badesley Clinton
Badesley Clinton holds its own garden Olympics! Not to be outdone by London, local National Trust house, Baddesley Clinton, has created its own Olympics, with Scarecrows! This won gold with the visitors when I joined them recently in the vegetable garden. All were impressed both with the scarecrows and with the captions describing them. Below is a tour of the Scarecrowlympics.
[To view these as a gallery, just click on one photo. Then use the arrows at extreme right and left to move through the photos. To view a full size photo at any time click on “View full size …/…” at bottom right. To return to the main article press Esc or click outside a photo.]
• Places to Visit – Liverpool
Liverpool a historic city – vistas you really must see! A place not to miss!
What I consider to be the city centre is larger than Birmingham’s. It’s probably because of the 9km of docks that used to exist where, at its height, many 000’s worked . The city never ceases to impress me when I visit – the investment in the last decade in restoration and new building was substantial and can be seen readily. This is the home town of the Beatles, of course, and much is made of this around the city and in The Beatles Story experience.
The original 9km of docks has been replaced by the one container dock at Seaforth at the northern extremity of the original docks – this revolution happened over a period of 10 years from its opening in 1972. It now handles 70% of the of the North West of England’s freight being the prime terminal for North America.
Now take a photographic tour of the main tourist areas of the city known to me.
Getting there is easy from Birmingham, using a target destination of, say, Albert Dock:
- By rail, between stations New Street and Lime Street, Liverpool, takes 1 hour 40 minutes and the journey times can be chosen to give a highly reasonable £20 standard class £39 first there and back. Use the London Midland website to check journeys. Lime Street is a 16 minute (0.8 miles) walk to Albert Dock or a 5 minute taxi ride.
- By road it’s 100miles and motorways all the way to within 5 miles of Albert Dock and takes a similar time to the train. The 5 miles after the motorways are good quality main road and outside rush hours take little time to cover. I set my smartphone satnav to take me there and was able to sit back and enjoy the journey.
You can see a lot of the city centre in a day, but obviously a hotel stay will uncover much more. Using Albert dock as our destination there are a number of hotels close by ranging from budget ones, eg two Travelodges, where advance booking can really be cheap (£19 per room per night) right up to top class ones eg Hilton. My research shows around 40 hotels within an easy walk of ½ mile from Albert Dock.
• Library of Birmingham Update
The interior is starting to show its potential!
Judging from the interior shots now being issued, what a visual experience it will be when we get to see the interior next September – I can’t wait!
Nor can I wait to take in the panoramic view of east, south and west Birmingham from the 180degree observation windows in the Shakespeare Memorial Room at the top of the building.
• Upcoming Events
07-09 September – Birmingham ArtsFest – Various venues around the city centre plus the Mac in Canon Hill Park – Free
Dozens of performance and visual events – you can’t fail to find many that you MUST SEE!
Download the ArtsFest program.
26 September onwards – Cinema at the Crescent Theatre – Sheepcote Street tickets £5!
Billed by the theatre as “Presenting a range of films of all genres for all ages and tastes.”
“This could become an important venue for interesting, early and edgy films.” says Resident Madeleine Bigland.
31 August – 9 September and 13-19 September – The Rootless Forest – Brindley Place by the NIA
It will also have recorded interviews with those affected by the Afghan conflict – soldiers and the Afghan community of Birmingham.
Submitted by Geoff Caine