NEWS: Police swarm on The Feldings, Springthorpe Green as residents told to say in their homes

NEWS: Police swarm on The Feldings, Springthorpe Green as residents told to say in their homes

Words and pics by Lisa Smith & Estelle Murphy – reporting from the scene.

Following an incident this afternoon, police and emergency services swarmed across The Feldings, Sringthorpe Green investigating a potentially serious crime committed earlier today.

At around 5-6pm on Saturday 28th August, the quiet Erdington suburb was awash with uniformed police officers and Dog Control Units all attending the scene, along with local ambulances crews and a police helicopter circling above the local area and Pype Hayes Park.

Residents were told to stay in their homes as West Midlands Police began investigating an unconfirmed incident that had taken place at the scene – blocking off the garages at end of The Feldings, that neighbour the grounds of the Hollyfield Sports and Conference Centre.

Motorists who were trying to return home were stopped by officers still investigating the scene.

Eyewitnesses and local residents saw a body on the floor and what appeared to be bank notes strewn across the ground, with police on the scene unable to give further information.

Local resident, John Dale, told Erdington Local: “The guy had been… well he’d been stabbed, when we came here. And he was at the top there, and the armed police, they followed us to… where they’re parked up now.

“There was money all over the floor. £20 notes. But they seemed to think it was counterfeit or something, but they was all over the floor.”

Jean, another local resident, who was drying her hair at the time but looked out of here window to see the disturbance, confirmed there seemed to be bank notes on the floor.

Speaking to an Erdington Local correspondent as events unfolded at the scene, Jean witnessed: “There are now what look like incident police at the scene… the helicopter has left, I’m not sure on (the status of) the victim.

“Another neighbour was with him before the police or the ambulance came.”

According to a motorist driving up the Chester Road during the time, armed police were also seen stopping someone in a white Audi near the scene – although it remains unclear if the incidents are related.

Erdington Local contacted West Midlands Police who were unable to comment at the time, with no further reports issued by emergency services.

EXPLOITED: Residents fight plans for £399,999 ‘investment opportunity’ HMO on Yenton Grove

Words by Adam Smith / Pics by Ed King

A group of fed up Erdington residents are fighting plans for an exempt housing property on Yenton Grove after uncovering an historic covenant on the house.

The law currently allows companies to move vulnerable tenants into exempt housing without planning permission and the Erdington ward property has already been converted into six rooms with kitchenettes.

However, residents have uncovered a legal agreement stating the house must be kept as a ‘single dwelling’ property – which if enforced by Birmingham City Council could thwart developer’s plans to turn the property into exempt accommodation worth £399,999 .

Residents have created a WhatsApp group to share information, whilst Erdington Councillors Robert Alden and Gareth Moore are gathering local objections to present to Birmingham City Council.

To access an online version of Cllrs Alden and Moore’s ‘Petition to enforce single private dwelling covenant at 24 Yenton Grove’ click here.

One Yenton Grove mother, who does not want her family’s name revealed for fear of recriminations, contacted Erdington Local to help publicise the fight from local residents.

She said: “We already have an HMO on our little estate which has changed the character of the place so we are doing everything we can to stop another one or exempt housing.

“The deeds of the property include a covenant that state the house is for a single private dwelling and therefore by law the owner would need to apply for this to be changed.

“As part of that, notice would need to be given to neighbouring residents to enable them to object or support. No notice has been given and no change has been applied for.

“When questioned about the property at the beginning, the owner stated it would be a family home that he would be moving in to. It now has six rooms with ensuites and he has not moved in.”

She added: “There is a school 200 yards from the property. The back gate can be seen from the house. A multi-occupancy property of social housing is high risk with children walking by.

“One man in social housing down the road has had to be moved on due to him filming / taking pictures of the children at the back gate. Six individuals increase the risk of this happening again.”

She added: “The property has been put up for sale, but no notice has been put outside it. The only reason the residents found out was because one of them asked someone who came to view it.”

A petition has been launched by Erdington Councillors Robert Alden and Gareth Moore to put pressure on Birmingham City Council to honour the covenant on the house and prevent an HMO licence being granted.

Cllr Alden said: “There is a covenant on this property which requires it to remain as a single private dwelling, and so potentially could be used to stop the conversion if enforced.

“We have raised this with the Council and have demanded the covenant be enforced urgently and have launched this petition.”

He added: “We know there is speculation drug addicts and ex-offenders could be housed at the property.

“Clearly, we would be very concerned if the landlord intended to house such people at the property, especially given its proximity to Penns Primary School.”

24 Yenton Grove is listed on The Online Property Agency as for sale for £339,999 – the listing claims the property is suitable for an investment opportunity.

The OPA listed said: “Would you like a hands off investment opportunity? This property is let to a social housing provider on a 3 year lease until August 2024 rented for £2400 pcm/ £28,800 p.a.”

To see and sign the ‘Petition to enforce single private dwelling covenant at 24 Yenton Grove’ being circulated by Erdington Councillors Robert Alden and Gareth Moore, click here.

NEWS: Armed police storm house on Hillaries Road in pre-planned operation following knife attack in Kingstanding

Words by Adam Smith

Armed police stormed an Erdington house this afternoon tasering a man who was arrested in connection with the stabbing of a pensioner in Kingstanding.

In a pre-planned operation, dozens of police officers surrounded the house on Hillaries Road as a negotiator tried to convince the man to give himself up peacefully.

The operation had been organised by West Midlands Police after threats had been made against the force by the man – the scale and size of the response was in relation to potential danger to officers and civilians.

Erdington MP Jack Dromey confimed the orchstrated actions of the force later in the day.

He told Erdington Local: “I have been kept closely informed by West Midlands Police about the incident on Hillaries Road in Stockland Green. This was a pre-planned operation that was targeted at a specific individual who was wanted in connection with a serious crime.

“Understandably, the scenes have been disturbing for local residents. I welcome therefore the deployment of a large Police presence to ensure the situation was kept under control and to minimise any potential risk to those living nearby.

“The Police acted swiftly and decisively in apprehending the individual and I would like to thank them for their hard work in keeping the people of Erdington safe.”

During the raid, frightened residents were told to stay inside their homes as the drama played out with Hillaries Road witness describing the events as “terrifying, deeply upsetting and concerning.”

At 3.30pm the police operation concluded with a 49-year-old man being tasered, arrested and taken to hospital.

A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “A man has been arrested following a stand-off at a property in Hillaries Road, Erdington, this afternoon.

“The road was closed as firearms officers secured the scene and a force negotiator encouraged the man to come out peacefully.

“He was arrested at 3.30pm after a Taser was deployed and is being taken to hospital for minor injuries sustained during his arrest.”

The spokeman added: “The 49-year-old has been detained in connection with an attack on a man in Cooksey Lane, Kingstanding.

“The man in his 70s was taken to hospital although thankfully his injuries were not serious.”

The pensioner suffered a “slash wound” on his head during the attack on Sunday afternoon.

An air ambulance landed at nearby St George’s Playing Fields and after the victim was found there remained a large police presence on Cooksey Lane.

A West Midlands Ambulance spokesman said: “We were called to reports of a stabbing in Cooksey Lane on Sunday at 4.45pm.

“An ambulance, paramedic officer and the Midlands Air Ambulance from Cosford with a MERIT trauma doctor and critical care paramedic on board attended the scene.

“Crews treated one man who had sustained serious injuries which required trauma care on the scene. The man was conveyed by land ambulance on blue lights to hospital for further care.”

The previous day, Saturday, a 27-year-old man was stabbed in Witton Lakes Park, off Perry Common Road.

Three men punched and stabbed their victim in what the police described as “a targeted attack.”

The latest two incidents mirror a worrying increase in knife crime across Kingstanding and Erdington after the murder of schoolboy Dea-John Reid on College Road during May Bank Holiday weekend.

EXCLUSIVE: Council reduce housing plans for Short Heath playing fields – following a year long campaign from local residents

Words by Ed King / Pics by Ed King and Estelle Murphy

Birmingham City Council are pulling back on their plans for a new housing estate on Short Heath playing fields, cutting 18 houses from the originally proposed development of 84 – Erdington Local can exclusively reveal.

Following over 12 months of a fiercely fought campaign to ‘Save Short Heath Playing Fields’, Council Leader Ian Ward is meeting with local residents today to explain the new plans face to face – which will see a 21% reduction in new homes being built on the site.

Tensions have run high over the past twelve months, as friends and neighbours became community campaigners to stop the Council building on the beloved green space – used by young and old across the area for social activities.

Birmingham City Council have been identifying sites across the city for new houses as part of their Birmingham Development Plan (BDP) – responding to a housing crisis which could see tens of thousands of families without a home in the next decade.

However, residents of Erdington, Perry Common, and Stockland Green – the three wards that embrace the playing fields – have been fighting to have their voices heard after the original public consultation was heavily criticised.

In the revised proposal, Birmingham City Council are also promising up to £1million investment into remaining the green space and neighbouring Bleak Hill Park – earmarked for health, wellbeing, and sports facilities.

In an update sent to Erdington Local direct from the Council Leader’s office, the new development plans will include ‘off-site provision for sports and recreation to a maximum value of £1milllion.’

The possible seven figure sum now on the table will be used for ‘a green corridor leading from Short Heath Road down to Bleak Hill Park’ and ‘new football pitches and a small changing room.’

In the original development plans, the playing fields were to be used for 84 houses – with money outlined for sports and education but no clear reinvestment into the local community.

In a message directly to local residents, Birmingham City Council Leader Ian Ward said: “I want to thank the residents of Erdington for engaging with us.

“We’re determined to provide more high quality affordable homes for the people of Birmingham, but we understand the need to work with communities, so we’ve listened and our new proposal takes into account the feedback we received to the original plans for this site.

“In Erdington and across the city, there’s a clear and urgent need for new social rented homes. Hopefully the new proposals can deliver some of those homes while also retaining green space and providing leisure facilities.

“This is a growing city and the Birmingham Development Plan, adopted in January 2017, forecasts a population increase of around 156,000 people by 2031.

“That means 89,000 additional homes, with 51,000 of these to be built within the city boundary, so sites like Short Heath are key to helping us meet this need.”

Spearheaded by Short Heath Fields Trust (SHFT), local residents who formalised as a trust earlier this year, the campaign has attracted the attention of several high ranking public officials – with Erdington Councillor and Leader of Birmingham Conservatives Robert Alden attending several public meetings on the site and offering continued support.

Recently re-elected Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, Andy Street, also made a personal visit to the playing fields, promising to “do everything I (he) can” to save the green space, adding “it’s not even a debate whether houses should or should not be built – I cannot understand why they would be built here. It cannot happen.”

Jack Dromey MP for Erdington has also been in talks with SHFT for over 12months, acting as a mediator between campaigners and Council – bringing the concerns of local residents directly to the Leader’s office.

He told Erdington Local: “The open spaces of Short Heath are near and dear to the local community and local people have been rightly concerned.

“They recognise that the Council must build badly needed homes but wanted a say in the future of Short Heath.

“I have worked with them and Council Leader Ian Ward to arrive at a way forward that sees new homes and better facilities for the community, preserving the integrity of Short Heath.

“The Council must continue to listen and move further but real progress has been made.”

However, Short Heath Fields Trust and many across the community were hoping for a more significant reduction in the number of new houses to be built – understanding a compromise must be reached but wanting more of the green field site to remain accessible to local residents.

There is also growing concern over the strain any new houses will put on the local infrastructure, such as GP surgeries and schools.

Chair of Short Heath Fields Trust, Stephen Hughes, told Erdington Local: “Obviously we are disappointed with the Council’s proposal, we want far more for our community. But today is a chance for our community to have its say and we hope to be heard at last.

“Going forward we will continue the Trust’s work to establish Bleak Hill Park as part of the community and bring it to the same standard as surrounding parks, as a member of Birmingham Open Spaces Forum.”

Estelle Murphy, from the recently formed Short Heath Residents Action Group, added: “Short Heath Residents Action Group will be there to ask the questions those unable to attend today have sent in.

“Once we have gauged the feeling of all interested parties, we will decide exactly what our next move as an Action Group will be – to save this parkland and over other issues than effect our community.”

Council Leader Ian Ward introduces new plans for housing on Short Heath playing fields

For more on Short Heath Fields Trust visit www.shortheathfieldstrust.godaddysites.com/

For more on the fight to ‘Save Short Heath Playing Fields’ click here to visit the campaign’s Facebook page

NEWS: Council Leader Ian Ward to visit Short Heath Playing Fields with new housing proposal

Words by Ed King / Pics by Ed King & Estelle Murphy

The battle to ‘Save Short Heath Playing Fields’ has been fought for just over one year, with residents becoming campaigners in July-August 2020.

Now the highest office in the city is coming to address the matter in person, as Birmingham City Council Leader Ian Ward meets local residents on Friday August 20 – with a new plan for the proposed housing estate.

Cllr Ward will be on Short Heath Playing Fields from 1pm to 3pm discussing the Council’s revised proposals for the green space, previously earmarked for 84 new homes to help address the city’s social housing needs.

Local residents and concerned citizens are invited to attend the Leader’s address, which has been long called for by the Short Heath Fields Trust (SHFT) – a local action group spearheading the campaign to save the parkland.

Jack Dromey MP for Erdington is also scheduled to attend, following more than 12months of negotiations with SHFT representing the local concerns directly to the Leader’s office.

He told Erdington Local: “For over a year, I have been working to bring all parties to the table in an effort to reach an agreement over the future of Short Heath Playing Fields that is acceptable to both Birmingham City Council and the local community.

“I listened to the concerns of local residents, who felt their voices were not being heard, and have brought key stakeholders to the table on a number of occasions over the past 12 months.

“There have been ongoing and robust discussions during that time, but I’d like to thank both the City Council and local campaigners for their willingness to engage in a dialogue over the future of the playing fields.

“I am pleased that Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, will be visiting Short Heath to meet with campaigners and discuss the proposals for the site.

“I made a commitment to ensure the voices of local campaigners would be heard at the highest level of Birmingham City Council, and I am honouring that commitment by helping to arrange this visit.

“I sincerely hope that an agreement can be reached on the future of Short Heath, and that all parties can work together in support of our local community moving forward.”

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson further confirmed: “This is the latest in a series of meetings with campaigners and Erdington MP Jack Dromey to discuss the site and possible ways forward.

“We’re working with the community to ensure that any future development on the site works for the local community and the city as a whole.”

Eager for local residents to voice their concerns directly to the Birmingham City Council Leader, Short Heath Fields Trust have been canvassing those living near the playing fields and reaching out further through social media.

Campaigners are concerned that the time of the Leader’s visit, 1-3pm on a Friday afternoon, will exclude many people as they would still be at work.

In a statement to Erdington Local Short Hearth Fields Trust said: “It is vitally important that anyone who has an interest in the former playing field site comes down to join the conversation.

“There won’t be another opportunity to have the ear of the Council Leader and the MP for Erdington at the same time again regarding this, at least not for a while and our community deserves a voice.

“They will be on the site at the Short Heath Road Entrance to Bleak Hill Park between 1pm and 3pm this Friday.

“Have your say and hear first-hand what they have planned for our park space.”

For more on Short Heath Fields Trust visit www.shortheathfieldstrust.godaddysites.com

For more on the fight to ‘Save Short Heath Playing Fields’ click here to visit the campaign’s Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1007069176404521/

NEWS: GKN workers have ‘exhausted every avenue’ as voting begins over strike at Chester Road factory

Words by Adam Smith / Pics supplied by Unite and Jack Dromey MP

GKN Driveline workers have received their ballots for strike action and union bosses are urging them to vote yes.

Unite the Union held an online meeting last night to discuss industrial action and received messages of solidarity from workers across the world.

GKN Unite convener Frank Duffy, Unite West Midlands Regional Secretary Annmarie Kilcline, and Erdington MP Jack Dromey all spoke at the meeting – as well as some of the 519 workers who face redundancy if owners Melrose close the Chester Road factory.

Workers who are making their minds up about whether to strike have already been threatened by Melrose management.

Frank Duffy said: “Workers have been given letters threatening them if they vote yes in the ballot. They were returned to management and then letters were sent to home addresses but again the workforce brought them into the factory and told management they were not listening. I could not be more proud of them.”

If workers strike they will lose pay and bonuses, but Unite the Union is already fundraising for workers welfare during the potential strike.

Erdington workers have been joined in solidarity by workers in Florence, Italy, where Melrose is also closing a factory, leaving thousands more employees jobless.

Mr Duffy believes they have been forced into taking the last resort, industrial action.

He said: “Melrose has undermined this factory for years, the internal market of GKN consistently meant our factory lost out but we were told it was fine because the rest of the company was profitable.

“There are 51 sites across the world but just one in the UK, where the business started, and they are closing this one. Germany would not allow it; France would not, and our Government should not let this scandal happen.”

“They have paid lip service to the workers throughout this sham, they call it a consultation but I call it a sham, but as soon as they made the decision to close us down in January that was it.

“We have done everything possible, including creating an alternative business plan for the plant, but we were ignored.

“We’ve had seven months of hell but are now at a point when they have to listen to us – that’s why I am urging everyone to vote yes on their ballot for industrial action.”

Erdington MP Jack Dromey has been holding weekly meetings with Unite officials since the Melrose revealed its closure plans, which he warned would happen during its hostile takeover of the British engineering institution in 2016, as well as lobbying the Government to take a more proactive role.

He said: “GKN has a remarkable 262 years of history which can be traced back to when it provided the cannonballs for the British to fight Napoleon. The company contributed to the building of the Spitfire which helped defeat the Nazis.

“The Chester Road factory is a vital part of the future of electrification of the industry and cannot be allowed to close.”

He added: “I know the workers have exhausted every avenue available to them and that is why I am backing their decision to take industrial action.

“For every worker who will lose their job at GKN a further two will lose their jobs in the supply chain.”

Several workers made emotional speeches during the meeting describing how much GKN Driveline means to them and their families.

Robert’s family has clocked up 74 years of work at the Chester Road site with his father and grandfather working at the plant before him.

Stuart Turner said: “I’ve been at the factory near enough from school and I know what a devastating impact its closure will have on surrounding areas like Erdington and Castle Vale.

“We need to send a message that we will not back down.”

Unite West Midlands Regional Secretary Annmarie Kilbride revealed a hardship fund has already been set up in anticipation of a strike for workers who will have their wages docked.

She said: “We need the Government to step in if they are serious about levelling up and keeping skilled jobs in this country.

“I urge everyone to support these GKN workers in whatever way they can.”

The result of the ballot for industrial action will be revealed at the end of July.

To find out more about GKN Automotive visit www.gknautomotive.com
For more from Unite the Union visit www.unitetheunion.org
For more from Jack Dromey MP for Erdington visit www.jackdromey.co.uk  

NEWS: Careers Fair from Compass Support at The Sanctuary 18th August

Words by Ed King

Compass Support are organising a Careers Fair on Wednesday 18th August, being held at The Sanctuary on Tangmere Drive in Castle Vale.

Free to attend and open to ‘candidates from all backgrounds, experiences and education levels’, the Careers Fair will run from 10:30am to 2:30pm – offering direct pathways to local employers, as well as help and support with key vocational skills.

Compass Support have lined up a team of professional employment advisers, who will be on hand throughout the event to talk and walk people through skills such as CV writing and how to do well in interviews.

They will also be offering more direct employment support, such as on the spot job searches, work experience placements, volunteer opportunities, and links to local employers.

The Careers Day will also offer access to digital courses in IT, Maths, and English.

Anyone interested in attending can simply turn up on the day or contact Compass Support by emailing employmentadvice@compass-support.org.uk or phoning (0121) 748 8111.

A spokesperson from Compass Support told Erdington Local: “Happening this week at The Sanctuary, our local Careers Fair is a chance for people to speak with employers and training providers about opportunities available.

“We are also offering support with employability skills to help people progress into their ideal field of work – offering the support you need today for the success of tomorrow.

“There will also be one to one support tailored to the individual’s needs, including CV writing, job searches, training and employment all under one roof.”

With a longstanding history of helping people find employment and become work ready, Compass Support has close ties to the retail and care sectors – alongside strong relationships with large employers such as the NHS.

Compass Support also offers employment help and skills training through regular job clubs, computer clubs, and the Get Healthy Get Working programme – alongside the Ignite Aspirations initiative, delivered with Witton Lodge Community Association.

As part of The Pioneer Group, further employment support can also be found through the Place2Work project – being delivered across Birmingham with the Birmingham Anchor Network.

For more employment advice and access to services from Compass Support email employmentadvice@compass-support.org.uk or visit www.compass-support.org.uk/our-services

For more on Get Healthy Get Working visit www.compass-support.org.uk/our-services/get-healthy-get-working

For more on Ignite Aspirations visit www.compass-support.org.uk/our-services/ignite-inspirations or  www.wittonlodge.org.uk/our-projects/jobs-skills/ignite-aspirations

For more on Place2Work from The Pioneer Group visit www.pioneergroup.org.uk/place-2-work

NEWS: Council warning as ‘spell casters’ and ‘spiritual healers’ target Erdington residents

Words & pics by Adam Smith

Birmingham City Council has warned local residents against paying for black magic spells which are being offered to people across Erdington, the Local can reveal.

Fliers offering ‘black magic’ and ‘love spells’ to solve relationships woes, mental illness, job seeking, and court cases have been delivered to homes on Slade Road, Marsh Hill, Erdington Hall Road, and Reservoir Road in recent weeks.

The claims on the fliers include getting husbands and wives who have left their partners to be ‘returned immediately’, breaking the resolve of stubborn children, and an ability to bring fame and success.

Erdington Local handed the fliers, from two separate ‘spell caster’s, to Birmingham City Council Trading Standards.

A spokesman said: “We’d advise anyone to be wary of this sort of thing and advise against handing over large sums of money.

“If anyone has concerns, they can contact trading standards via the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.”

Cheick Mahamadou Lamine describes themselves as a ‘Spiritual Healer and Love Spell Caster’.

Their flyer boasts: ‘I can help you with love and relationship matters, exams, business, luck, family problems, career, court cases, job seeking, depression, serious illness, buying and selling property, fame and success in business.

‘Quick and Positive results GUARANTEED – Payment after results.’

Shaikh Drame’s flyer claims he is: ‘The first man to combine the power of spirituality no matter what your problems are I can help you solve them.

‘Even desperate cases e.g relationships, work and business difficulties, for those who feel unlove, unhappy and unlucky, I can remove evil spells and bad luck. I can help a person who is looking for leadership and popularity.’

Drame even claims to be able to get spouses to return to a relationship they have left.

He states: ‘If your loved one, husband or wife has walked out on you I can help bring them back immediately with the most powerful spells.”

Worryingly, Drame also promises to work with children who do not obey their parents – raising safeguarding concerns for any young people involved.

He further promised: ‘I can bring stubborn children to listen and cure people who use alcohol and tobacco. Follow the path of relief and lead the life of happiness.’

Trading Standards in Sandwell successfully prosecuted a bogus love doctor who promised clients his spells could improve fertility and fix relationships in 2010.

Niem Mohammed, who drove around in a Ferrari and a Bentley, charged a Smethwick couple £9,000 for breaking a black magic spell and help them have children – he was jailed for 18 months and ordered to pay the money back.

He also took £1,300 off a woman to help fix a broken relationship, but when nothing happened he told her he needed a further £1,800. He then threatened to send a ghost to destroy her home and family if she did not pay up.

Erdington Local has asked both Lamine and Drame for a comment but at the time of publishing have not received a reply.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article – or want to talk to Erdington Local about your experiences – email adam@erdingtonlocal.com 

For help and guidance from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau visit www.bcabs.org.uk

NEWS: Council ‘in talks’ with developers over potential new plans for Pype Hayes Hall

Words by Adam Smith / Pics by Ed King

The owners of Erdington’s historic Pype Hayes Hall have met with Birmingham City Council to discuss the future of the Grade II mansion house.

Bromford Mill Properties bought the hall, which dates back to 1630, for £25,000 in 2014 and announced £11,000,000 plans for a 60 bed luxury hotel, spa, and swimming pool – but no application was ever submitted to Birmingham City Council.

However, Erdington Local can reveal council planning officers met with developers about a new application for the hall, which is in Pype Hayes Park.

Simon Delahunty-Forrest, from Birmingham City Council’s planning and regeneration department, refused to reveal details of meeting but confirmed it happened.

He said: “The council are in talks with the applicant regarding the future of the house it would not be appropriate to share any details as the discussions have not yet been formalised and are not in the public realm.

“The council planning team were giving informal feedback before a pre-application is submitted.”

Pype Hayes Hall was built after a marriage between two of the Midlands’ most famous families, the Ardens (Shakespeare’s family) and Bagots, in the 17th Century. Pype Manor was part of the dowery of Dorothy Arden who married Hervey Bagot in 1625.

Bagot built the hall in 1630 and lived there until he died fighting for the Royalists in the Battle of Naseby, 1645. The Bagot family lived in the house for the next 250 years.

Originally known as ‘The House of the 13 Gables’ due to its roof design, which was a sign to persecuted Catholics it was a safe haven, there is also believed to be an escape tunnel from the hall for priests.

After enlarging the house and selling 700 acres of land in 1888 for the creation of Minworth Sewage Works, the family finally sold the hall to Birmingham City Council in 1920 – subsequently used as a convalescence home and children’s home.

Erdington author and park user Patrick Harley lamented the state of the hall.

He said: “It is a crying shame what has happened to the hall and it upsets me every time I walk past it.

“The state of it is getting worse and worse, hopefully Birmingham City Council will step in and compulsory purchase the hall to save it for future generations.”

Pype Hayes Councillor Mike Sharpe had previously told Erdington Local about his growing concerns about the hall’s future.

He said: “I keep on asking questions but cannot get an answer from anyone, Birmingham City Council’s planning department does not know anything.

“We should all be proud of Pype Hayes Hall, it is beautiful, has a lot of history, and could be turned into a real asset for the community.

“I am worried it is just being left to go to wrack and ruin and if that is allowed to happen it will be a tragedy.”

With added fears the owner’s plans for a luxury hotel and spa have been shelved, and developers are now looking to turn the historic landmark into apartments, Cllr Sharpe added: “I do not want the hall turned into homes because a road would need to be built through the park for that to happen.”

For more on Pype Hayes Hall from Historic England click here

NEWS: Bagot Arms pub burns down in ‘deliberate’ arson attack

Words & pics by Liam Smith

Smoke billowed across North Birmingham yesterday as over 40 firefighters tackled a blaze at the old Bagot Arms pub at the Tyburn Road roundabout.

West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) were alerted to the fire by “multiple calls from the public” at around 5pm on Thursday August 5, dispatching seven fire engines to the scene.

Pumping water from the canal, emergency services shut down several roads around the area – including the busy thoroughfares Eachelhurst Road and Tyburn Road.

Firefighters worked tirelessly to control the blaze until late in the evening, finally starting to reduce the number of fire engines at the scene at around 10pm.

WMFS Station Manager Mark Hudson, who was Incident Commander at the site, told Erdington Local: “Our engines arrived on the scene very quickly to a fully developed fire in the roof space and on the ground and first floor.”

“The pub is void/derelict and due to the multiple sources of fire within the pub it is likely that is has been started deliberately. We have attended a number of incidents here previously, so we are comfortable in saying that the fire has been started deliberately.

“There isn’t anybody injured as far as we are aware. We still need to conduct a full search of the building; we have been unable to up to now due to the fire spread and also the damage to the building.

“At the moment we are focusing on defensive firefighting (putting the fire out) until we get the go ahead from the structural engineer.”

“There are currently seven fire engines, including two specialist resources which consist of a hydraulic platform, which can apply a lot of water at height and a high-volume pump, which is taking water directly from the canal and being pumped into the fire.

“Eventually we will be scaling back our resources but for now we remain in place”

In a previous statement, West Midlands Fire Service Group Manager Rob Davis told Erdington Local:

“First call received at 17:02 with a large amount of multiple calls from the public. We had seven fire engines with supporting vehicles and 45 firefighters attend this incident. We also deployed our high-volume pump to supply water from the nearby canal.

“This was a derelict public house due for demolition and there were no persons involved. Following an investigation by our officers this fire is believed to be started deliberately.”

Seven fire engines and 45 firefighters tackle blaze at Bagot Arms

For more from West Midlands Fire Service visit www.wmfs.net