Friday, January 30, 2009

Councillor update on Planning Applications of importance in Moseley & Kings Heath Ward – Friday 30th January 2009

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/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B13 8LE - Erection of two storey side, single storey rear extensions, three velux windows, solar panel and driveway - Withdrawn - Decision date - 23/12/2008

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  - Approve – Conditions. Decision date 16/01/2009

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

S/06208/08/FUL - 48 St. Marys Row, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8JG - Erection of a single storey side extension - Under consideration

S/06555/08/FUL - 30 Amesbury Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8LE - Erection of single and two storey rear extensions, single storey side extension, 2 no. velux rooflights to front - Under consideration

S/06441/08/FUL - 17a Alcester Road, Selly Park Motor Bodies, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8AR - Erection of new building to create an MOT working bay and associated facilities - Under consideration

S/00036/09/FUL - 80 Russell Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8NH - Erection of two storey and single storey rear extensions and single storey side extension.  - Under consideration

S/06388/08/FUL - 57 Billesley Lane, Land adjacent to, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9QT - Erection of detached dwelling  - Under consideration

S/00059/09/DEM - 225 Alcester Road, Woodnorton House, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8PY - Demolition of dwelling - Under consideration

S/00092/09/FUL - 207 Billesley Lane, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9RR - Erection of two storey and first floor rear, two storey side and forward porch extensions.  - Under consideration

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The use of possessive apostrophes in place names in Birmingham on road signs

 Birmingham City Council now has an emerging city wide view on the inclusion or dropping of the possessive apostrophe in place names across the city. This affects thousands of street names and district names like Kings Heath, Kings Norton and Acocks Green.

 Can I first of all thank all the residents who responded to my e-mail at the start of January asking for opinions on whether or not Kings Heath, should be spelt King's Heath or Kings Heath.

 Some of the responses directed me to various websites which discussed the use of possessive apostrophes in place names.

 As a result, I asked the Highways Department to comment on this issue. The department has consulted the "Gazetteer of British Place Names" and contacted two primary organisations concerned with the use of plain language in England: The Plain English Society and Plain Language Commission. From my perspective, I have done my own research into the use of the possessive apostrophe in place names.

 As a result, the consensus of the City Council on the future use of possessive apostrophes in place names is that they should not be re‑introduced. This view will, I know, upset a lot of residents, but if you bear with me, I'll explain the logic behind the view.

 Since all place names in Birmingham had their possessive apostrophe dropped in the 1950s, places like Kings Heath, Acocks Green, Druids Heath, Kings Norton, etc, will remain as such.

The reasoning and historical context is as follows:

The reasons for proposing not to re-introduce the possessive apostrophe are:

1)     Consistency and avoiding confusion

2)     Cost of reintroducing the possessive apostrophe

3)  There is confusion as to whether the possessive apostrophe should be included in place names

1) Consistency and avoiding confusion

 Many English language countries have made a national decision to drop the possessive apostrophe. The USA dropped theirs in 1890 and Australia in 2001. Britain has never made such a decision, although it appears from Ordnance Survey maps that the possessive apostrophe has almost completely disappeared since the 1950s. Indeed, if you look at old cast iron street name plates in Birmingham, you will see the possessive apostrophe has been painted out. Good examples exist at St. Marys Row (Moseley) and Wheelers Lane (Kings Heath).

 Australia's reasoning for dropping the possessive apostrophe is very relevant, since they argued that with the emergency services using computer databases there was a need for nationwide consistency. It would be tragic if the ambulance couldn't find your street, if you forgot to include the possessive apostrophe when calling 999.

 The "Gazetteer of British Place Names" shows that few place names in Britain have the possessive apostrophe. 

Both the Plain English Society and the Plain Language Commission have said that there is no rule in Britain with regards to possessive apostrophes in place names. They further add that if the name presently does not have the apostrophe, then leave it that way.


2) Cost of re-introducing the possessive apostrophe

 The cost of re-introducing the possessive apostrophe across Birmingham would be enormous. There are probably thousands of roads that once had the apostrophe and would now argue for its re-introduction. Changing all the road name plates and highway direction sign would be astronomical.


3) There is confusion as to whether the possessive apostrophe should be included in place names

Kings Heath, along with Kings Norton, was at the time of the Doomsday book part of the district of Bromsgrove. Bromsgrove at that time was owned by the monarchy.
By 1564, the monarchy sold Bromsgrove, but retained ownership of parts of the district - namely Kings Norton and Kings Heath. Kings Norton remained in the ownership of the monarchy until 1803. I don't have a date for when the monarchy sold off Kings Heath, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 1803.

 Prior to 1803, it can be argued that it was grammatically correct to include the possessive apostrophe in the Kings Heath and Kings Norton name, since the monarchy owned the places.

 Since the monarchy no longer own either Kings Heath or Kings Norton it is argued that it is no longer grammatically correct to include the possessive apostrophe.

 There is no national guidance on whether place names should have the possessive apostrophe or not.



Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Public meeting on the proposed redevelopment of the Meteor Ford site, Moseley


Members of the public will have an opportunity to see a presentation of the proposed redevelopment of the Meteor Ford site, Moseley – corner of St.Marys Row and Oxford Road. The presentation will be done by the owner and developer of the site, Simon Marsh of Exmax (Moseley) Limited.


The redevelopment is for a Tesco supermarket on the ground floor, 19 sheltered accommodation units on the first floor and a new medical centre on the second floor.


The presentation, along with a question and answer session, will be part of the Moseley and Kings Heath Ward Committee, 7pm Wednesday 14th January at Kings Heath Primary School, Valentine Road, Kings Heath.


Officers from the Council’s Planning Department will also attend the meeting and will be taking notes of comments made by members of the public. These comments will be considered in the planning report on this application.


The Planning Officers will explain the type of issues they can and cannot legally take into account in considering whether to recommend planning approval or refusal for the scheme.


The three Ward Councillors will be in attendance, although Cllr Ernie Hendricks will not be able to make any comments on this application, since he sits on the Planning Committee. If he was to express a view on this application prior to it being heard at Planning Committee, he would not be allowed to vote on the application. However, he is allowed to hear the views of members of the public.


Simon Marsh of Exmax (Moseley) Limited will be able to explain issues such as:


Why a food retail store has been included in the scheme

Why Tesco’s have been chosen as the occupant.

Why Waitrose or Marks and Spencer’s have not been chosen.

Why the proposed new doctors surgery is on the top floor and not as a three storey element at the rear of new building.


There will NOT be any representative at the meeting from the Primary Care Trust or the doctor’s surgery who will be moving into the new facility. The PCT will begin consulting with their patients about the proposed move next week and is expected to take two to three months.



Could I urge members of the public to treat Simon Marsh with courtesy? I accept that there is alot of angst about this proposed development. Equally, I hope we will acknowledge the bravery of Simon to face and discuss his proposed development with concerned residents – it is very rare that developers do this.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Kings Heath or King's Heath?

The Council's Transportation Department are about to erect various signage directing people to Kings Heath.

They have asked me about whether Kings Heath should have an apostrophe making it King's Heath.

the A-Z  shows  's while Google and the Council websites do not.

I also note that various 19th century maps have the apostrophe.

I need to let the Transportation Department know whether the apostrophe should stay or go by 7th January.

Could residents who have a far greater understanding of apostrophes and the historical orgins of place names let me know their views?