Sunday, July 30, 2006

Update on Highbury Park ranger

In previous e-mails I stated that the job advert for the job of Assistant Ranger in Highbury Park would be advertised in the Birmingham Forward newspaper in early July. There has been a slight change of plan.

The Council are going to initially interview a number of Council employees whose jobs are either 'at risk' or on the redeployment list. They will be interviewed informally to determine wheher they are capable of undertaking the role of an Assistant Ranger. If they are they will be given a 2-3 month trial period.

This slight change of plan has 3 scenarios, namely:

1. At informal interview we determine that the employee is not suitable, then the advert will be released for the next edition of Forward. This will result in a 2-3 week delay subject to when the next Forward edition is published. The knock on effect would be appointment in October not September.2. At informal interview we determine that the employee may be suitable and we offer a 2-3 month trial. This will result in the Assistant Ranger for Highbury Park been on site as early as next month on a trial basis for 2-3 months. At the end of the trial we formally make the position permanent.3. As 2, however, if the trial period determines that the employee is not suitable we will then advertise the post externally.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Update on Camp Hill railway line study

Consultants have now started work on investigating the possibility of re-opening the Camp Hill railway line for passenger services - this would enable railways stations to be re-opened at Stirchley, Kings Heath, Moseley and Balsall Heath.

The consultants are jointly funded by Centro and the City Council.

An interim report by the consultants will be present to the West Midlands Passenger Transport Authority in September with a final report expected in December.

The consultants will look at :
a) creating two railway links at Camp Hill so that the railway line connects directly into Moor Street station.
b) potential locations for new stations
c) the economic benefits of re-opening the line to passenger services

This study is a pre-requisite for any bid to the Government for funds to re-open this line for passenger services.

The railways stations at Cartland Road, Kings Heath, Moseley and Brighton Road were closed in 1941 and never re-opened.

The Camp Hill line is presently used to carry freight and the Virgin trains from New Street station to Bristol.

The creation of the two railways links at Camp Hill would benefit the city as a whole since it would enable passenger services to be moved from New Street station into Moor Station thus easing the already over crowded New Street Station.

The cost of the links is estimated to be £40-£50million per link. The cost of each new station would be approximately £10million. Councillor Mullaney has already asked Highway Engineers to investigate the possibility of widening the railway bridge on Kings Heath High Street to road traffic allow a bus-rail interchange here - cost is estimated to be approx £10million to widened the bridge.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Update on Conservation Survey of Moseley Road baths – 15th July 2006 - results of the Concrete Survey

The findings of the concrete survey of Moseley Road baths are as follows.

The concrete floors require complete replacing in the following areas. A plan is available at . These floors need replacing since they contain a high level of cracks, which is allowing water to seep into the cellar
· The promenade at the shallow end of Pool 1 – the promenade is the section where members of the public walk on to get to their cubicles
· The promenade at the shallow end of Pool 2
· The entire floor of the Second Class Male slipper bath room. This is the area which until recently was used by the public to wash themselves. Replacing this floor will be complex, since the slipper bath brick cubicle walls will have to dismantled. Cubicle brick walls themselves hold up the cast iron roof trusses. An internal steel frame needs to constructed which stretches from the cellar floor up to the roof.
· The entrance steps at the entrance to First Class Males.
· The entrance steps at the entrance to Second Class Males.
· The entrance steps at the entrance to First and Second Class Females.

All flat roof sections in the corridor sections of the building need taking down and re-concreting. It is felt that merely re-felting the roof will only keep the water out for a few years. Re-constructing the roof will provide long-term weather protection.

The balcony in Pool 1 need demolishing and reconstructing – it is cracked too much and reconstruction will provide long term protect future.

The Quantity Surveyors are now calculating how much it will cost to do these changes.

Update on Conservation Survey of Moseley Road baths – 15th July 2006 – initial results of the Historical Review

The findings of the different stages of the Conservation Survey of Moseley Road baths are coming in thick-and-fast. Below are the initial findings of the historical survey of these baths. These findings will provide the conservation philosophy for the future use and any alterations to the buildings ie what can and can not be changed

Background to the Conservation Survey
Moseley Road baths and library are in the middle of a Conservation Survey which is a pre-requisite for a Heritage Lottery bid.

The Heritage Lottery bid for restoring these buildings needs to lodged by December 2006, so that the £1million used during repair works in 2004/5 can qualify as match funding.

The Conservation Survey is on target to be completed by 22nd September 2006. This is so as to allow approval by the Council Cabinet for a Heritage lottery bid in December.

There are various stages to the Conservation Survey: Historical Review, Structural survey, Fabric condition; Conservation Management Plan. All of these are now in full swing.

Initial findings of the Historical Survey
The importance of Moseley Road baths on a national context
· It is safe to say that Moseley Road baths are one of the most important swimming baths in Britain from a conservation point of view. Indeed, it could argued that from a social history perspective it one of the most important buildings in Britain!
· Moseley Road baths are one of four swimming baths that are statutory listed grade II* in all of Britain. It is the only one out of these four that is still operating as a swimming baths.
· Moseley Road baths is now recognized to one of the twelve most important public swimming baths built in Britain during the Victorian (1839 to 1901) and Edwardian (1901 to 1914) periods. It is the only Edwardian swimming pool out of these twelve that is still open. Only a handful of the Victorian baths are still open, but most of them have been significantly altered internally.
· Moseley Road baths contains the only complete collection of slipper baths in Britain. The slipper baths are the cast iron baths that members of the public would wash themselves in. These were still in operation until October 2004 and the intention is to re-open them. In all other public baths these have long being removed.
· Moseley Road baths contains the last remaining example of an intact laundry room in a public swimming baths – it still has its huge cast iron drying racks for towels. No other similar drying rack is known to exist.
· Moseley Road baths still contains its huge cast iron water tank in the boiler tank – it has not been used in living memory. No other similar cast iron tank is known to still exist in a public swimming baths. The cast iron tank was used to store water from a nearby water well.
· The two large Edwardian filter tanks, which keep the water clean, are considered to be rare. They are still used to keep the water clean.
· The floor plan is considered to be both innovative and unique. The swimming baths used a central ticket office at a hub of corridors to keep First Class and Second Class customers separate.
· No other swimming baths retains so clearly the way First and Second class customers were kept separate. From a social history point of view, Moseley Road baths is of up most national importance.

The theory behind the layout of Moseley Road baths
Moseley Road baths had three entrances:
a) First Class males to access either Pool 1 or the First Class wash rooms
b) Second Class males to access either Pool 2 or the Second Class wash rooms
c) First and Second females to access either the First class female wash rooms or the Second class female wash rooms.

All three entrances lead to a square shaped central ticket office. Two of the three the counters for the ticket office still exist. The counter for the First Class males has gone and made into the tea room. This is the only real major change to the entire building since it opened.

Points to note:
· Women were not allowed to swim.
· First and Second class women had to share the same entrance and corridor, although they used separate wash facilities.
· The First class swimming pool (pool 1) is very extravagant in design and details
· The Second class swimming pool (pool 2) is very plain. Indeed pool 2 did not have same brick-and-wood cubicles as pool 1. Pool 2 users had to use a curtain to protect their modesty from other users.

The first and second class male corridors contained an attendant office where customers were given a towel and trunks. These would then be washed and dried afterwards in the laundry room.

The conservation philosophy of any proposed changes.
· It is important that the floor plan of the building is retained, so that the way First and Second Class customers were kept separate is clear.
· Pool 1 (first class men) must be retained as swimming baths.
· It would be preferable to retain Pool 2 (second class male) as swimming baths, but if it is decided not to retain them, then any changes must be reversible. Ie a frame should be constructed inside the pool room, so as to preserve it. This would enable the room to be re-converted to a swimming pool at a later date.
· If the laundry room is converted into offices, then the drying racks need to be retained, plus any other features that indicate how the room operated. For example, there are some concrete stubs on the floor of this room, whose original purpose is still not understood. Work on understanding how the room operated is still ongoing.
· The cast iron water tank should be retained.
· The two Edwardian water filters should be retained. One of the filters has recently been cleaned after more than 20 years operation and the swimming pool staff say the water has never been so clean.
· It is important that one room full of operational cast iron slipper baths (wash tubs) is open to the public.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Councillor update on Planning Applications of importance in Moseley & Kings Heath Ward – Sunday 9th July 2006

S/07195/05/FUL, 9 Boundary Drive, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8NY - Proposal
Retention of single storey side extension with alterations to roof - Awaiting Report

S/01945/06/ FUL, 141 Sandford Road, Moseley - Erection of single storey forward extension, front porch, construction of new bay and bow windows to front with canopy over.- Awaiting Report

S/01332/06/FUL, 7 Park Hill, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8DU - Retention of boundary walls to front and side. - Awaiting Report

S/01333/06/FUL, 7a Park Hill, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8DU - Retention of boundary walls to front and side - Awaiting Report

S/01468/06/FUL, 2 & 4-6a Alcester Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8BE - Demolition of flats and erection of 22 apartments - Approve – Conditions.
Decision date - 29/06/2006

S/01697/06/FUL, St Mary's Row, Moseley Village Green, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 - Erection of Tolkien landmark sculpture to include 6.5m high metal "Ent" sculpture, life size statues of children, laying of resin bonded crushed glass tiles, removal of three trees and planting of four new trees - Awaiting PP/Cons Exp

S/01723/06/FUL, 18 Belle Walk, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9DE - Erection of 1.8 metres high front boundary wall and 2 no. 2 metres high front gates - Report In Draft

S/02108/06/FUL, 25-29 Alcester Road South, The Pear Tree Public House, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 7JQ - Variation of condition C2 of permission S/02762/01/FUL to extend opening hours to 0900-2300hrs Sundays, 0900-2330hrs Mondays to Thursdays and 0900-0000hrs Fridays and Saturdays. In addition extended opening hours of 0900-0100 hours on the following days every year: Christmas Eve; Boxing Day; and New Years Eve. - Awaiting PP/Cons Exp

S/02118/06/FUL -12a St. Marys Row, Elizabeth of York PH, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8JG - Variation of Condition C4 on application S/02037/97/FUL to extend opening hours to 0700-2330 hrs Mon-Thurs, 07:00-00:00 hrs Fri-Sat and 12:00-23:30 hrs on Sunday - On an Agenda

S/02255/06/FUL - 582 Moseley Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B12 9AA - Use for assembly and leisure (D2) including skate boarding, BMX, climbing - internal alterations, external refurbishment, provision of parking spaces - Awaiting PP/Cons Exp

S/02489/06/FUL, 168 Alcester Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8HJ - Continued use of ground floor internet cafe lounge to include new retail area at first floor – Refused. Decision date - 19/06/2006

S/02463/06/FUL, 1 Oxford Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9EJ - Retention of two storey rear extension and single storey rear extensions - Approve – Conditions. Decision date - 29/06/2006

S/02506/06/FUL, 91 Addison Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 7EP - Change of use to hot food take-away (class A5) – Refused. Decision date - 12/06/2006

S/02967/06/FUL, Wheelers Lane, Wheelers Lane Technology College & Primary School, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B13 0SF - Erection of rear energy centre building – Withdrawn. Decision date - 28/06/2006

S/03058/06/FUL - 2 & 2a Addison Road, Kings Heath, B14 7EW - Demolition and proposed replacement of existing retail/warehouse premises - Awaiting PP/Cons Exp

S/03068/06/CAC - 45 Alcester Road, Moseley Service Station, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8AA - Demolition of existing structures, replacement of underground tanks, new forecourt, pump islands, sales building (class A1), car parking and associated works – Withdrawn. Decision date - 22/06/2006

S/03464/06/FUL - 145 - 147 Alcester Road, The Cross, Moseley - Continued use of the first floor as a cafe-bar in conjunction with ground floor and continuation of opening hours to 00:30 hours - Report In Draft

S/03557/06/FUL - 44 Amesbury Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8LE - Retention of 4no. front pillars and boundary wall - Awaiting PP/Cons Exp

S/03513/06/FUL - 10 Amesbury Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8LD - Alterations to party fence and garage façade – Awaiting PP/Cons Exp

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Cost of installing dropped kerbs – part 3

Questions and Answers from Transportation and Street Services – 6th July 2006

I’ve now had a fuller explanation as to what is happening with the issue of reducing the cost of installing dropped kerbs to allow parking in front gardens?

Hopefully, we should have a new system of charging in August. A report is going to the Cabinet member for Transportation next week.

The proposal is to give residents a list of accredited contractors from whom they can get quotes. At the moment there are 11 accredited contractors.

If the report is approved, then the cost of installing dropped kerbs will be

Cost of contractor + £140 administration by the Council

The administration figure covers the cost of sending a Council officer out to initially inspect the site to see if a dropped kerb is feasible – for example are there trees in the way? Or is the dropped kerb too close to a junction. The inspector will sketch the site, which any contractor can then use to provide an estimate. The inspector will also provide an estimate of how much it will cost to use Council workers to install the dropped kerb.

Once the resident has a quote that they want to pursue, the Council will supervise the work of the contractor to check that it is done to Council standards.

In Warwickshire where the householder employs the contractor, they have to pay VAT. No VAT is payable by the resident if the system described above is used by Birmingham City Council

Birmingham City Councillor get Court Injunction served against nuisance resident

Birmingham City Councillor, Martin Mullaney, has assisted Focus Housing in serving a Court Injunction today against one of their own tenants.

The tenant lives on Alcester Road South, Kings Heath and has terrorized local pensioners for over two years with a constant stream of noisy all night parties. Complaints by the pensioners have resulted in verbal abuse and threatening letters from the resident. The pensioners were today too frightened to appear in court

The pensioners contacted Councillor Mullaney in early May and Martin then gather his own evidence on the tenant, which was today presented in court.

The injunction stops a three day all night garden party which was to take place this weekend. The party was to have several bands playing despite the garden being closely surrounded on all sides by pensioners. The resident has been issuing fliers throughout Kings Heath inviting anyone and everyone to come to the party – this has included sticking the fliers on bus shelters

The injunction also stops any nuisance noise from resident for the next 12 months.

Any breach in injunction could lead to the resident being jailed.