Saturday, December 27, 2008

My views on the proposed redevelopment of the Meteor Ford site, Moseley

Below is my response to the proposed planning application for a Tesco's supermarket and medical centre on the former Meteor Ford site, Moseley.

I don't normally e-mail out my views on a planning application, however I have been contacted my so many concerned residents that I feel I must in this case.

As I said when this when that application was lodged, I could see the advantages and disadvantages of the application. However, I have decided that in the balance of things, I am against the application.

I have detailed my reasoning in the attached document.

The planning application will most likely be heard by Planning Committee in February, unless the developer decides to revise the scheme. Views on the application can still be submitted on please quote the planning application number S/06141/08/FUL

Drawings of the scheme can be seen at
and searching for the planning application number S/06141/08/FUL

My response submitted to the Planning Committee is as follows:

Date: 27th December 2008


To: Planning

Ref: MU01984: Councillor Comments on planning application S/06141/08/FUL - St. Marys Row, Former Bristol Street Motors, Meteor Buildings, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9EG - Demolition of existing dealership/buildings and redevelopment to provide a mixed use development


I wish to comment on the above planning application. There are many positive aspects to this scheme, however I cannot support this proposal for the following reasons:


1)    I’m concerned that the medical centre is not big enough


2)    I’m concerned that the proposed food retail store is too big and will generate too much car traffic for the car park and nearby traffic junctions.


3)    I’m not happy with the closeness of the building to the pavement of St.Marys Row.


4)    I’m concerned that the overall developement will have a detrimental effect on traffic circulation and parking in the immediate vicinty.


To remedy these concerns would there be any merit in exploring the following?:


i)             Make the first and second floors into a medical parctice.


ii)            Reduce the size of the food retail unit, or even have something else on the ground floor – health gym?


iii)           Make the triangular section of land on the corner of Oxford Road and St.Marys Row, next to Stanley Place, into a staff car park? It was a car park for the former Meteor Ford showroom.


iv)           Make the disused car park between St.Marys Church and 61 St.Marys Row, into an overspill car park for the supermarket. This would take pressure off the dog-leg car park to rear of the supermarket. If a condition could be added, allowing local shoppers 1 hour free use, this would massively boost the local day time economy. It would also provide car parking for visitors to St.Marys Church, the Calvary Church on Oxford Road and the monthly Moseley Farmers Market. At the moment visitors to these places, have to drive round looking for on-street parking.





Dealing with various points of the planning application:




Use of the site for a medical centre.

I support the inclusion of a medical centre on this site, however I am concerned it will not be big enough to meet the future needs of the residents of Moseley.


In the South Birmingham Primary Care Trust consultation document -  Equitable Access Scheme – it clearly states that Moseley needs an additional medical practice. This planning application needs to viewed with that in mind, I am concerned this application will not meet those future needs.


I would prefer the site to be solely used for a new medical centre. However I accept that compulsory purchasing the site to achieve this would be difficult. 


The central area of Moseley at the moment has two doctors surgeries – Wake Green Surgery at 7 Wake Green Road (directly across the road from this developement) and Moseley Medical Practice at 21 Salisbury Road (about 150 metres from this developement). Both surgeries are in former domestic houses and are no longer suitable as modern doctors surgeries. They are both overcrowded, with poor disabled facilites.


The future of Moseley Medical Practice is uncertain, due to the doctors being close to retirement and no clear plan as to who will take over this surgery. There is a real possibility that Moseley Medical Practice may close in the next few years and all its patients transfered to Wake Green Surgery.


Wake Green Surgery, which will transfer to this proposed new medical facility, is presently located across the road in a former 1930’s domestic house and it is bursting at the seams. Some of its clerical staff have their desks in the hallways, due to a lack of space. Some of its practice rooms are upstairs with no disabled lifts.


Wake Green Surgery has investigated the possibility of extending their present building, but an extension would be limited, due to planning constraints. This development would ensure that they maintain a central Moseley location and not move elsewhere.


Maintaining a central Moseley location for Wake Green Surgery is crucial for the following reasons:

1)    It would maintain the ‘foot traffic’ in the retail area of Moseley. Patients walking to and from the surgery will use the shops and chemists within Moseley shopping centre.

2)    Keep the surgery close to north Moseley (north of Wake Green Road) which has high levels of economic poverty and its associated health issues.


With the Primary Care Trust asking for more medical facilites in Mosley AND the real possibility that the Moseley Medical Practice could close, this new medical facility and its car parking needs to be able to cope with any future expansion. I don’t believe this scheme will allow that to happen.



Use of the site for a food retail unit

I have no issue with the site being used for a food retail unit. The issue for me is that it is too big for the proposed car park and neighbouring road junctions.


The present site is within Moseley shopping centre and a small food retail store would at least maintain ‘foot traffic’ within Moseley shopping centre.


The core of Moseley shopping centre consists of two roads – Alcester Road and St.Marys Row. Whilst Alcester Road has seen considerable investment in the last ten years, the day time shops along St.Marys Row have and continue to struggle to survive. This development, will attract investment to this part of Moseley shopping centre, potentially creating a short stay car park and attract foot traffic to these shops.


I note that the store will be an ‘express’ supermarket. Comparing its proposed size to neighbouring supermarkets, I make it out to be as follows:


Sainsburys (Moseley) – the proposed store is three times larger

Somerfield (Moseley) – the proposed store is two-thirds the size

Sainsburys (Kings Heath shopping centre) – the proposed store is half the size

Sainsburys (Kings Heath shopping centre) – the proposed store is half the size

Tesco Express (Alcester Road South, Brandwood) – the proposed store would be twice the size.


Simply judging the  size of the proposed store to neighbouring supermarkets, I cannot see it being detrimental to the daytime economy of either Moseley or Kings Heath. However, I do believe that its size will generate too much car traffic, which its car park and local road junctions will not be able to cope with. I will deal with these particular issues below.




Design of the building

I am happy with the exterior style of the building, namely traditional vernacular revival with good quality material and features, such as wooden window frames and glazing bars, fishtail clay roof tiles, etc.


However, one aspect I am uncomfortable with is way the building has been built right up to the back of pavement on St.Marys Row. I believe this elevation should be set back a few metres, no closer than the edge of the present overhead forecourt coverings.



Traffic on neighbouring roads

This is the issue for which I have major concerns. They are as follows:


a)    Overspill from the car park

The proposed car park is a very strange dog-leg shape, with no clear vehicle circulation pattern. This car park, I fear, will test any car driver’s 3-point turning abilities to the maximum. I am concerned that this car park will not function smoothly due to the poor circulation pattern within it, which in turn will cause traffic jams within the car park, with the traffic either queuing on Oxford Road to enter the car park, or shoppers simply parking on Oxford Road.


b)    Not enough spaces for medical practice

Mindful that there is a strong possibility that Wake Green Surgery will need to expand in forthcoming years – see comments above -, I am concerned that there are not spaces allocated for the visitors to the medical centre.


c)    Lack of parking for staff

There is no on-site parking for staff, with no clarity as to how many staff will be employed by the supermarket. I am concerned that Oxford Road will be clogged up with employees parking their cars all day on Oxford Road extending from School Road to St.Marys Row.


d)    Additional traffic on the Oxford Road/St.Marys Row junction

This is a heavily used junction at peak times. In the into-city (westwards) direction and morning peak hour, traffic queues extend down St.Marys Row, into Wake Green Road past the School Road junction. I believe this development will add to that traffic queue. Also, turning right out of Oxford Road into St.Marys Row is a hair-raising experience with cars driving fast in the out-of-city direction on St.Marys Row. I am concerned that this development will lead to significantly more cars turning right out of Oxford Road, which has the potential of becoming an accident spot.


e)    Additional traffic on the Church Road/St. Marys Row junction

There will be a significant increase in traffic trying to turn right out of Church Road, into St.Marys Row - this is a hair-raising experience with cars driving fast in the out-of-city direction on St.Marys Row. Traffic will turn right out of Church Road, because of the ‘no right turn’ at the main traffic lights in Moseley, which will force traffic from Kings Heath to use Woodbridge Road and Church Road to get to the new supermarket. I am concerned that this development will lead to significantly more traffic turning right out of Church Road into St.Marys Row, which has the potential of becoming an accident spot.


f)     Additional Traffic using Oxford Road

The junction of Oxford Road and St.Marys Row is always busy and therefore I am concerned that the vast majority of the car traffic using the proposed new development will avoid this junction by using the stretch of Oxford Road between School Road and Ascot Road. This is a residential road with a Primary School and I believe this development will significantly increase the traffic along that section of Oxford Road.


g)    Additional traffic on School Road

Traffic coming from Kings Heath will use School Road, so as to avoid the traffic lights in central Moseley. School Road is already heavily used with a Primary School on it. I am concerned that this development will significantly add even more traffic to that road.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Councillor update on Planning Applications of importance in Moseley & Kings Heath Ward – Friday 19th December 2008


Below is my own personal list of planning applications that I am keeping an eye on, due to residents raising concerns with me or the applications clearly being contentious.


Drawings and further details on each of these planning application is available on-line at



The planning applications


S/01222/08/LDE -  25 Mayfield Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9HJ - certificate of lawfulness for the subdivision of 25 Mayfield Road into 6 self contained flats – Approved - Decision date



S/04765/08/FUL - 113-115 Station Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 7TA - Erection of single storey rear extension  - Withdrawn - Decision date 18/11/2008


S/05310/08/FUL - 30 Amesbury Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8LE - Erection of two storey side, single storey rear extensions, three velux windows, solar panel and driveway - Under consideration


S/05886/08/LDE - 7a Park Hill, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8DU - Certificate of Lawfulness for existing use of the property as a haulage yard in excess of 10 years - Under consideration


S/06141/08/FUL - St. Marys Row, Former Bristol Street Motors, Meteor Buildings, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9EG - Demolition of existing dealership/buildings and redevelopment to provide a mixed use development comprisi   - Under consideration


S/06018/08/FUL - 37 Westlands Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9RH - Erection of two storey side extension and single storey rear extension  - Under consideration


S/05750/08/FUL - 66 School Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9SW - Deletion of condition C2 of application S/06949/05/FUL (Notwithstanding the provisions of the Town and Cou  - Under consideration


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Planning application for Meteor Ford site is now in

The planning application for the Meteor Ford site on the corner of St.Marys Row and Oxford Road, Moseley has now been submitted. The application and its drawings can be seen at . 

This link goes to a Planning Department page that requests the planning application number. The planning application number for the Meteor Ford site application is  S/06141/08/FUL. Once the details of the application come up, go to ‘related documents’ – these shows the drawings of the planning application.

The planning application involves demolition of the entire site and the creation of a three storey building.

The ground floor will consist of a Tesco supermarket. The first floor will consisted of 19 units of ‘sheltered’ accommadation for elderly people. The entire second floor will consist of a medical centre. To the rear of the site will be 103 parking spaces.

The design of the exterior is in the style of 19th century vernacular revival, similar to that used in the western end of Oxford Road.

The inclusion of a modern medical centre is the culmination of three years worth of work between the owner, the Council’s Planning Officers, the Primary Care Trust and Councillor Mullaney. This partnership work was initiated by Councillor Mullaney following a meeting he had in 2005 with the Primary Care Trust to identify the health needs of Moseley and Kings Heath. Prior to this, the previous owners of the Meteor Ford site had sought to build a supermarket on the site with residential accomadation above – both times refused by the Council.

I haven’t been involved in the actual design of this scheme and I do feel there are plus and minuses to this scheme. On the positive side, we gain a desparately needed modern health facility – the surgery across the road is overcrowded and in need of expansion. The medical centres in the rest of Moseley are very much out of date. This facility is also in the middle of an area with severe health needs – the sheltered elderly people accomadation off Wake Green Road and Oxford Road and the areas of high economic poverty in north Moseley. The minus side is that the new building is much larger than the original Meteor Ford buildings. The views of local residents are therefore crucial on this scheme.

Residents can comment on the planning application by either e-mailing Planning on or writing to them at Planning Management, Birmingham City Council, PO Box 28, Alpha Tower, Suffolk Street Queensway, BirminghamB1 1TU


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The flow of traffic along Kings Heath High Street - an analysis

The following is part of the continuing discussion on traffic congestion along the A435

 At the end of October 2008, I had two sets of vehicle count tubes put down on Kings Heath High Street and Valentine Road – south direction only. The objective of this was to see how congestion on the High Street affected the amount of traffic on Valentine Road.

 The location of the counts was done at the junction of High Street and Valentine Road. Photos of the counting tubes can be seen at:   This webpage also contains a series of graphs showing the level of flow of traffic along the High Street and Valentine Road in the south direction between Monday 27th October to Thursday 30th October. Unfortunately, the tubes on the High Street broke in the days follwing this, so I have no data for Friday and Saturday.

I am happy to e-mail my Excel spreadsheets on request to show how I produced these graphs. The speadsheets also contain the raw data, if anyone feels like analysing the data themselves.

My conclusions from looking at the data is as follows:

Kings Heath High Street flows freely in the south direction from 6pm till 12noon. Between 12noon and 6pm, the flow of traffic is unpredictable.  On the graphs, you will see how during this period the flow of traffic will vary dramatically between 50 to over 100 vehicles per 10 minutes. When the flow is 50 vehicles per 10m minutes, the High Street has ground to halt. When it is 100 vehicles per 10 minutes, it is free flowing

It will either flow freely or grind to a halt dependant on whether or not random events have happened. These random events include the flowing:

a)      a vehicle parked on double yellow lines that is loading/unloading and stopping the flow of traffic

b)      a bus at the Institute Road or Drayton Road bus stops having a long dwell time and vehicles not being able to pass

c)        a poorly positioned car turning right and blocking the flow of traffic. For example a car turning right into Findlay Road.

d)      A high usage of the pedestrian crossings at Poplar Road, Institute Road or Vicarage Road.


When the traffic is flowing freely on the High Street, the traffic levels on Valentine Road are low compared to the High Street levels. Between 12noon and 6pm, when the High Street becomes clogged up in the south direction, the traffic levels of Valentine Road are comparable to the levels on the High Street. This reaches a peak at 6pm, when 100 cars per 10 minutes travel down Valentine Road (that’s a car every 6 seconds) – which is equal to the flow on the High Street.

After 6pm, when the High Street flows freely, the traffic level on Valentine Road drops significantly, whilst the level on the High Street continues to rise, reaching a peak at 8pm.

It is assumed that the traffic along Valentine Road is by-passing Kings Heath shopping centre and using  Springfield Road and Barn Lane.

What this vehicle counts shows is that the clogged up nature of Kings Heath High Street between 12noon and 6pm is forcing traffic onto residential roads. It would be interesting to do similar measurements for Shutlock Lane and Avenue Road.

What do residents think?

What I would like to know from the residents is the following:

a)      Do you accept that the present clogged up nature of the Kings Heath High Street between 12noon and 6pm, is forcing traffic onto residential roads like Valentine Road?  

b)      Do you want the Council to

a.       Leave the High Street congested as it is between 12noon and 6pm and accept the present level of traffic on the residential roads?

b.      Increase the level of congestion in the High Street and widen it outside the 12noon and 6pm period. This would increase the traffic on side roads, such as Valentine road and Springfield Road.

c.       Reduce the level of congestion on in the High Street and maybe narrow its time period. This would reduce the level of traffic on side roads.


Ways of easing congestion along Kings Heath High Street

Reducing congestion along a busy High Street will never be straight forward, since we don’t want the High Street to become an urban moterway and it is crucial that the needs of the local shops are taken into account.

A number of possible ways of reducing the level of congestion in the High Street, could include the following:

a)      Make the double yellow lines on the High Street ‘no stopping’ between 12noon and 6pm. We would have to persuade the shops that require to unload on double yellow lines (about 10% of the shops), to unload in the mornings.

b)      Position the bus stops, so that traffic can pass whenever a bus is letting off or picking up passengers

c)       Replace the all day parking bays that have nibs sticking out into the road, with traditional parking places that have no nibs at each end – as per Moseley shopping centre and as Kings Heath shopping centre was pre-2000. Make the parking spaces, no parking between 4.30pm and 6.45pm. This would increase the capacity of the High Street in the south direction between 4.30pm and 6.45pm. This would also allow the possiblity of an evening bus lane along the High Street, out of city operating 4.30pm to 6.45pm.


I would welcome readers views on the above.